RAF No 18 Squadron emblem

RAF No 82 (United Provinces) Squadron

Motto: Super omnia ubique (Over all things everywhere)

Formed at Doncaster on 7 January 1917 as a Corps reconnaissance unit equipped with Armstrong Whitworth FK8s, it moved to the Western Front in November, operating for the remainder of the war in its designated role. It returned to the Shoreham in February 1919, moving to Tangmere in May, where it disbanded on 30 June 1919.

The squadron reformed at Andover from 'B' Flight of no 142 Squadron in the light bomber role on 14 June 1937, equipped with Hawker Hinds. This was only intended as interim equipment and in March 1938, it received Blenheim Mk Is. By the outbreak of war, the squadron had re-equipped with Blenheim IVs, which it used against German lines of communications and later invasion barges in the channel ports.

In 1940 the squadron received a new commanding officer in the form of Wing Commander The Earl of Bandon. On 17 May 1940, his squadron was detailed to carry out a raid against German columns around Gembloux. When the expected fighter escort did not arrive, having already been intercepted by Bf109's, the twelve Blenhiems pressed on to the target and were themselves attacked by Bf109's. All but one of the aircraft were shot down and that one collapsed when it landed back at base. Faced with a squadron consisting of himself, one flight commander, two Sergeant pilots and the ground crews, it was planned to disband the squadron but Paddy Bandon put forward the case on behalf of the ground crews that the squadron should be re-equipped and won the day. That evening twelve new Blenhiems were delivered together with their crews. The following day they carried out a practice flight and that night he led six of them on raid into Germany. This quality of leadership earned him a well deserved DSO.

With the Battle of Britain over, the squadron then began anti-shipping operations but in June 1941 most of the squadron moved to Malta. However, in March 1942, the squadron was transferred to the Far East, leaving its Blenheims on Malta for distribution amongst other units. Although the squadron arrived at Karachi in May, it was August before any aircraft were received in the form of Vengence dive-bombers. These were initially used in the coastal patrol role until June 1943, when it began bombing raids against the Japanese in Burma. In July 1944, No 82 received Mosquito VIs, which it operated until 12 May 1945 against Japanese ground targets, at which point it was withdrawn to India to prepare for the invasion of Malaya. In the event the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan negated the need for the invasion and No 82 Squadron disbanded at St. Thomas Mount on 15 March 1946.

The squadron soon reformed, on 1 October 1946, at Benson, from a nucleus of a flight of No 541 Squadron. Equipped with Lancaster PR Is and Spitfire XIXs, it undertook a photographic survey of the Gold Coast (Ghana), Gambia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, which lasted until May 1947, when it re-located to Kenya and completed a similar survey of East Africa before returning to the UK in October 1952. From Benson and Wyton from March 1953, the squadron carried out a survey of Germany, re-equipping with Canberras in 1953 before disbanding on 1 September 1956. Its last incarnation, so far, began on 22 July 1959 when it reformed as a Thor Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile unit at Shepherds Grove, finally disbanding on 10 July 1963.

Squadron Codes used: -

OZ Allocated Nov 1938 - Sep 1939
UX Sep 1939 - Mar 1946

Email me to book a reading!

This webpage was updated 30th June 2023