RAF No 18 Squadron emblem

RAF No. 610 (County of Chester) Squadron

No. 610 (County of Chester) Squadron of the Royal Air Force was formed on Feb 10, 1936 at Hooton Park, Wirral, Cheshire as one of the Auxiliary Air Force Squadrons formed to meet the needs of an approaching European war. The squadron was named the 'County of Chester' and adopted the motto 'Alifero tollitur axe ceres'; which translates as 'Ceres rising in a winged chariot'. Ceres being the Roman Goddess of Wheat, a reference to Chester's Agricultural sector. Its badge contained the image of a sheaf of wheat.

Equipped with Hawker Hart light bombers, its pilots were initially part timers who would spend their weekends and spare time flying and practicing combat maneuvers.

As war approached, it was upgraded to Hawker Hinds in 1938. On the outbreak of war in 1939 it received Hurricanes, but by the end of that same year was flying the more advanced Spitfire fighter.

610 Squadron was attached to No. 13 Group during the Battle of Britain. It was initially based at Biggin Hill and was one of the units bearing the brunt of German attacks. It moved to Acklington for rest and recuperation at the end of August, having sustained severe casualties.

During the Battle of Britain the squadron included Pilot Officer, later Squadron Leader, Constantine Pegge.

In 1941, the squadron moved south to Tangmere where it was one of Douglas Bader's three Spitfire squadrons of the Tangmere wing. 610 Squadron remained based in the UK until 1945, when it moved to the continent to provide fighter cover as the allies entered Germany. 610 Squadron disbanded at RAF Warmwell on 3 March 1945.

The squadron was reformed on 10 May 1946 at Hooton Park as a Royal Auxiliary Air Force fighter squadron, equipped with Spitfire F.14s, switching to more powerful Spitfire F.22s in 1948. Meteor F.4 jet fighters were received in July 1951, being replaced by the later F.8 version in March 1952 and were flown until the squadron disbanded on 10 March 1957, together with all other RAuxAF flying units.

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This webpage was updated 30th June 2023