RAF No 18 Squadron emblem

RAF No 88 (Hong Kong) Squadron

Motto: En garde (Be on your guard)

No 88 Squadron BadgeFormed on 24 July 1917 at Gosport but it was early 1918 before it received its equipment of Bristol Fighter, which it took to France in April 1918. It operated in the fighter reconnaissance role but also took a very active part in offensive missions and by the end of the war was credited with the destruction of 164 enemy aircraft. It operated in the Dunkirk area for the whole of the war until it moved to Belgium on 18 November 1918, where it disbanded on 10 August 1919.

The squadron reformed in the light bomber role on 7 June 1937 at Waddington. Initially equipped with the Hawker Hind, these began to be replaced by Fairey Battles in December 1937. On the outbreak of war the squadron moved to France as part of the Advanced Air Striking Force. Losing most of its equipment during the German advance, the squadron returned to the UK in June 1940, where it re-equipped and moved to Northern Ireland, where it carried out patrols. It continued on these duties until July 1941 when it moved to Swanton Morley, having re-equipped with Blenheim IVs in February 1941.

Now operating as part of No 2 Group's daylight bombing force, it became the first squadron to be equipped with the Douglas Boston, which it received in December 1941. It continued to operate with No 2 Group for the remainder of the war carrying out low level attacks against communication centres, coastal targets and shipping, and tactical bombing mission in support of the Allied advance. It also laid smokescreen for both the Dieppe raid and the Normandy landings. Moving to France in October 1944 to be closer to the ground units it was supporting, it disbanded on 6 April 1945.

The squadron was revived on 1 September 1946 when No 1430 Flt at Kai Tak, Hong Kong, was re-numbered. It was now involved in transport operations using Sunderlands and operated throughout the Far East. By the time the Korean War broke out on July 1950, the squadron had been re-allocated to the General Reconnaissance role. It operated from Japan for a period during the war but in June 1951 the squadron moved to Singapore and disbanded there on 1 Oct 1954.

No 88's final incarnation began on 15 January 1956 when it reformed at Wildenrath in Germany as a Canberra intruder unit equipped with the Mk B (I) 8 version of this versatile aircraft. The squadron disbanded for the final time, so far, on 17 December 1962 when it was re-numbered No 14 Squadron.

Squadron Codes used: -

HY Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
RH Sep 1939 - Apr 1945

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This webpage was updated 30th June 2023