RAF No 66 Squadron

Motto: Cavete Praemonui (Beware, I have given warning)

Formed at Filton in the fighter role on 30 June 1916, the squadron took its Sopwith Pups to France in March 1917. Operating over the Western Front the squadron re-equipped with Camels in October 1917 and in November moved to Italy, where it remained until March 1919, when it returned to Leighterton, disbanding there on 25 October 1919.

The squadron was reformed at Duxford from 'C' Flight of No 19 Squadron on 20 July 1936. It was equipped with Gauntlets but in November 1938, it became the second unit to receive Spitfires, the first having been its sister squadron at Duxford, No 19. Being in No 12 Group, the squadron flew defensive operations in the early days of the war but in May and June it covered the Dunkirk Evacuation. Based at Coltishall from the end of May, it eventually joined No 11 Group when it moved to Kenley in early September, Gravesend eight days later and West Malling in October, where it remained until February 1941. From here it began offensive operations over France.

When it moved in February, it was to Exeter from where it carried out escort duties and coastal patrols. For the next two years it operated from a number of bases in the South-West and South-East but in February 1943 it moved north to the Orkneys. When it moved south again, the squadron joined the recently formed 2nd Tactical Air Force and prior to the Normandy landings, the squadron took on the fighter-bomber role. Within five days of the landings, the squadron was using advanced landing grounds in Normandy, returning to its UK base each evening, but in August it moved onto the continent as a unit. As the Allied armies advanced through France, and Belgium, the squadron followed close behind and by September it was operating from the Netherlands. In the later stages of the war, the squadron flew armed reconnaissance missions over Germany and the Netherlands, but on 30 April 1945 it was disbanded at Twente.

The squadron reformed once again at Duxford on 1 September 1946 in the fighter role, equipped with Spitfires. These were replaced by Meteors in 1947 and in October 1949, the unit moved to Linton-on-Ouse re-equipping with Sabres in December 1953. From 11 February 1949 until 1 November 1953, the squadron was linked with No 111 Squadron. Hunters, initially F Mk 4s, arrived in March 1956 being replaced by F Mk 6s in October and these remained the squadron's main equipment until disbanding at Acklington, to where it had moved in February 1957, on 30 September 1960.

The squadron's final incarnation began on 15 September 1961 when the Belvedere Trials Unit at Odiham was redesignated No 66 Squadron. In June 1962 it left the UK for Seletar in Singapore, where it provided heavy lift helicopter support for forces operating in Malaya, The squadron finally disbanded on 20 March 1969.

Standards Battle Honours*

Western Front, 1917: Arras 1917: Messines, 1917: Ypres, 1917: Italian Front & Adriatic, 1917-18: Channel & North Sea, 1939-44: Dunkerque: France & Low Countries, 1940: Battle of Britain 1940: Home Defence, 1940-44: Fortress Europe 1940-44: Dieppe: Normandy, 1944: France & Germany, 1944-45: Walcheren.

Squadron Codes used: -
RB Allocated during the Munich Crisis
LZ Sep 1939 - 1945
HI 1946 - 1949
LZ 1949 - 1951

 

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This webpage was updated 25th January 2019