RAF No 9 Squadron emblem

RAF No 9 Squadron

Motto: Per noctum volamus (We fly by night)

No 9 was the first squadron to be formed outside the UK when the HQ Wireless Unit at St Omer was raised to squadron status on 8 December 1914. However, its existence was short-lived as the decision was taken to distribute wireless facilities in all squadrons, therefore the resources of No 9 were broken up and allocated to the other corps squadrons, the unit being formally disbanded on 22 March 1915.

It was reformed a few days later, on 1 April 1915, at Brooklands in the radio training role. A move to Dover also brought coastal patrols into its remit. It moved back to France in November 1915, carrying out bombing and recce missions, until late 1916 when it became a corps squadron, its BE's being replaced by RE8's in May 1917.

Having received a few Bristol Fighters, these began to replace the RE's in February 1919, the squadron remaining on the continent until the following June, when it returned to the UK as a cadre and disbanded on 31 December 1919.

Re-formation in what would become its main role until the present day, a bomber (strike) unit, took place on 1 April 1924, equipped with Vimys. Specialising in night bombing, as commemorated by the squadron badge and motto, the squadron was successively equipped with Virginias of various makes from 1925, Heyfords from 1936 and Wellingtons from 1939.

On 18 December 1939, the squadron took part in the disastrous daylight raid on Wilhelmshaven losing five aircraft and bringing about an end to RAF attempts to carry out daylight raids with 'heavy' bombers. Following a detachment to Lossiemouth during the Norwegian campaign the squadron settled down into the routine of a main force bomber squadron within No 3 Group.

July 1942 brought the last Wellington operations and conversion to Lancasters as well as a move to No 5 Group. On 12 November 144, together with No 617 Squadron, they dropped 12.000lb 'Tallboys' on the Tirpitz in Thomso fiord, causing her to capsize. As the end of the war in Europe loomed, No 9 was earmarked for operations in the Far East as part of 'Tiger Force', which was commanded by AM Sir Hugh Lloyd who had commanded No 9 at the beginning of the war. However, the Japanese surrender after the dropping of two A-bombs brought these plans to a close, although the squadron did move to India to undertake aerial survey work until April 1946.

Lancasters were replaced by Lincolns in July 1946 and in May 1952 the first Canberras arrived bringing the squadron into the jet age. In 1956, the squadron used its Canberras in action in both Malaya (March-May) and Egypt (October). The squadron disbanded for the first time since 1919 on 13 July 1961. A new No 9 Squadron appeared at Coningsby on 1 March 1962, equipped with Vulcans, it was part of Britain's nuclear deterrent. However, in 1969 the squadron was moved to Cyprus to form part of the Akrotiri Strike Wing, together with No 35 Squadron. The rundown of Britain's overseas bases brought the squadron back to Waddington in 1975 where it remained until disbanding on 1 May 1982.

On 1 June 1982, it became the first squadron to be equipped with the Tornado GR1 at Honington, moving to Bruggen in RAF Germany in 1986. With the rundown of RAF Germany, the squadron relocated back to the UK at Marham.


Award of Standard originally announced on 15 Jan 1952, effective from 1 Apr 1951 but presented:- lst - 9 October 1956, ACM Sir Hugh Lloyd.
2nd - 23 May 1984, ACM Sir David Craig.
3rd - xx xxx 2009, AM Sir Stuart Peach

Battle Honours:

Western Front, 1915-1918: Somme, 1916: Ypres, 1917: Amiens: Hindenburg Line Channel & North Sea, 1939-1945: Baltic, 1939-1945: France & Low Countries, 1940: Norway, 1940: German Ports, 1940-1945: Fortress Europe, 1940-1944: Berlin, 1941-1945: Biscay Ports, 1940-1945: Ruhr, 1941-1945: France & Germany, 1944-1945: Tirpitz: The Dams: Rhine: Gulf, 1991: Iraq 2003:

Squadron Codes used: -

KA Feb 1939 - Sep 1939
WS Sep 1939 - Apr 1951
AA - AZ Aug 1986 - Current


February 1939-September 1939: Vickers Wellington I
September 1939-March 1940: Vickers Wellington IA
March 1940-September 1941: Vickers Wellington IC
September 1941-August 1942: Vickers Wellington III
August 1942-November 1945: Avro Lancaster I and Lancaster III

Group and Duty

26 September 1939: Bomber squadron with No. 3 Group

Known Raids/ Significant Dates:

July 1942: Last sortie with Wellington;
12 November 1944: Took part in raid that sank the Tirpitz at Tromso using the 12,000lb bombs


15 July 1939-7 August 1942: Honington
1940: Detachment to Lossiemouth
7 August 1942-14 April 1943: Waddington
14 April 1943-6 July 1945: Bardney

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This webpage was updated 30th June 2023