No. 66 Squadron RAF

No. 66 Squadron RAF
No. 66 Squadron RAF
Active 30 June 1916 - 25 October 1919
20 July 1936 - 30 April 1945
1 September 1946 - 30 September 1960
15 September 1961 - 20 March 1969
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Motto Latin: Cavete praemonui
("Beware, I have warned")
post 1950 aircraft insignia RAF 66 Sqn.svg
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.
The honours marked with an asterix* are those emblazoned on the Squadron Standard.
Squadron Badge A rattlesnake
The rattlesnake typifies aggressive spirit and striking power[1]
Squadron Codes RB (Sep 21938 - Sep 1939)
LZ (Sep 1939 - 1945 and 1949 - 1951)
HI (1946 - 1949)

No. 66 Squadron was a Royal Flying Corps and eventually Royal Air Force aircraft squadron.



In World War I

It was first formed at Filton on 30 June 1916 as a Training Squadron equipped with BE2c,d & e, BE12 and Avroe 504A machines.[2] The squadron received its first Sopwith Pup [3] on 3 February 1917, and deployed to France on 12 March 1917. Their main opponents were the German Jagdstaffel 11. The Pup’s were exchanged for Sopwith Camels during October 1917. The first aeroplane B5402 was collected by Squadron Commander Maj. G.L.P. Henderson.[4] After fighting on the Western Front the Squadron was sent to Italy in November 1917 and returned to the United Kingdom in March 1919 and was disbanded on 25 October 1919.[5] The 20 aces who had served in its ranks were William George Barker VC, Alan Jerrard VC, Peter Carpenter, Harry King Goode, Francis S. Symondson, Gerald Alfred Birks, Charles M. Maud, Gordon Apps, Hilliard Brooke Bell, Christopher McEvoy, Harold R. Eycott-Martin, William Myron MacDonald, Augustus Paget, John Oliver Andrews, Harold Koch Boysen, William Carrall Hilborn, Thomas Hunter, James Lennox, Walbanke Ashby Pritt, Patrick Gordon Taylor and, John (Jack) Wallis Baker.

In World War II

It was reformed on 20 July 1936 from 'C' Flight, No. 19 Squadron RAF at RAF Duxford, initially being equipped with Gauntlets, before a slow conversion to Supermarine Spitfires from August 1938. It became the second Spitfire squadron. It fought in Battle of Britain and with Second Tactical Air Force in North-West Europe until the end of the war, being disbanded at Twente on 30 April 1945.[5]


It was reformed at Duxford on 1 September 1946, by renumbering No. 165 Squadron RAF, initially with Spitfires. The following northern spring, the squadron converted to Meteors, which it flew for six years before reequipping with Sabres. At RAF Linton-on-Ouse in March 1956 it acquired Hawker Hunters, which it flew before being disbanded again on 30 September 1960 at RAF Acklington.[1][5]

On helicopters

It reformed at RAF Odiham on 15 September 1961, from the Belvedere Trials Unit equipped with Bristol Belvedere helicopters. 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 17 March 1969.[5]



  1. ^ a b Rawlings 1978, p. 163.
  2. ^ AIR1/694/21/20/66
  3. ^ AIR1/1777/204/148/12
  4. ^ AIR1/691779/204/148/26
  5. ^ a b c d Jefford 2001, pp. 48-49.


  • Corbin, Jim. Last of the Ten Fighter Boys. London: Sutton Publishing, 2007. ISBN 0-75094-805-1.
  • Forbes, Wing-Commander Athol, DFC, and Squadron-Leader Hubert R. Allen, DFC. Ten fighter boys: 66 Squadron RAF. Toronto, Canada: William Collins Sons & Co, 1942.
  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force and Commonwealth, 1918-1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Jefford, Wing Commander C.G., MBE, BA, RAF(Retd). RAF Squadrons: A Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of All RAF Squadrons and Their Antecedents Since 1912, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1988. ISBN 1-853100-536-1. (second revised edition 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.)
  • Lucas, Percy Belgrave. Five Up: A Chronicle of Five Lives. Canterbury: Wingham Press, 1991. ISBN 1-87345-404-X.(Autobiography of "Laddie" Lucas) (3rd revised edition published by Crécy Publishing, 1999)
  • McCudden, Major James T.B. Flying Fury: five years in the Royal Flying Corps. London: Greenhill, 1930. (Republished 1987)* Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and Their Aircraft. London, Macdonald and Jane's, 1969 (Second revised edition 1976, reprinted 1978). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.

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