RAF No 18 Squadron emblem

RAF No 80 Squadron

Motto: Strike true

Formed at Montrose on 1 August 1917 as a fighter unit equipped with Camels. It moved to the Western Front in January 1918 conducting fighter patrols, but after the German offensive of March 1918, it began ground attack operations, which it continued up until the end of war. Retained in France after the Armistice, it replaced its Camels with Snipes in December and in May 1919 it was transferred to Egypt, where on 1 February 1920, it was disbanded by being renumbered No 56 Squadron.

The squadron reformed, once again as a fighter unit on 8 March 1937 at Kenley, initially equipped with Gauntlets, these were replaced by Gladiators in May. In April 1938 the squadron was once again sent out to Egypt as an air defence unit. Following the Italian declaration of war , the squadron moved to the Libyan border but in November was one of the units sent to assist the Greeks following the Italian invasion of that country. Re-equipment with Hurricanes began in February 1941 but when British forces were compelled to evacuate the country, the squadron was still equipped with Gladiators as well.

On its return from Greece the squadron was sent to Syria, from where it operated detachments in Palestine and Cyprus before moving totally to Cyprus in July 1941 and then back to Syria in August. The squadron finally joined the fighting in the Western Desert in October 1941 and following the breakout at El Alamein it was tasked with covering the lines of communication, remaining in North Africa until January 1944. A move to Italy was short-lived as in April the squadron was sent back to Britain in preparation for Operation 'Overlord'.

Back in the UK, it re-equipped with Spitfire IXs and began fighter sweeps, escort duties and armed reconnaissance missions. The Spitfires were replaced by Tempest Vs in August 1944 and these were soon being used to combat the V-1 flying bomb attacks against the South of England. Once the V-1 launching sites had been over-run by te advancing armies, the squadron was able to move onto the continent and continue it previous duties in September until the end of war.

Retained as part of the occupation forces, it continued to operate Tempests until January 1948, when these were replaced by Spitfire F Mk 24s, which it then took to Honk Kong in July 1949. At this time a Communist revolution was taking place in nearby Chain, and No 80's task was to increase the air defences of colony. The Spitfires were replaced by Hornets in December 1951 and the squadron continued to serve in the colony until disbanding on 1 May 1955. The squadron reformed, when No 80 Squadron was renumbered, just over a month later on 1 August 1955 as a photo-reconnaissance unit in RAF Germany at Laarbruch. Equipped with Canberra PR Mk 7s, it moved to Bruggen in June 1957 and remained there until disbanding on 28 September 1969.


Battle Honours:

Lys: Western Front, 1918: Marne, 1918: Somme, 1918: Egypt & Libya, 1940-43: Greece, 1940-41: Syria 1941: El Alamein: Mediterranean, 1940-43: Italy 1944: South-East Europe, 1944:Normandy 1944: Home Defence 1944: Fortress Europe 1944: France & Germany 1944-45: Arnhem: Rhine:

Squadron Codes used: -

GK Oct 1938 - May 1939, 1940 - Jun 1940
OD May 1939 - 1940
YK Jun 1940 - Jan 1941
EY Apr 1943 - Apr 1944
W2 Apr 1944 - 1952

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This webpage was updated 30th June 2023