No. 50 Squadron RAF


No. 50 Squadron RAF
No. 50 Squadron RAF
50 Squadron RAF crest.gif
Official squadron crest
Active 15 May 1916 – 13 June 1919
3 May 1937 – 31 January 1951
15 August 1952 – 1 October 1959
1 August 1961 – 31 March 1984
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Role various
Motto Sic fidem servamus
(Thus we keep faith)
Insignia
Second World War VN

No. 50 Squadron was a squadron of the Royal Air Force. It was formed during the First World War as a home defence fighter squadron, and operated as a bomber squadron during the Second World War and the Cold War. It disbanded for the last time in 1984.

Contents

History

World War I

No. 50 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps founded at Dover on 15 May 1916. It was equipped with a mixture of aircraft, including Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2s and Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12s in the home defence role, having flights based at various airfields around Kent.[1][2] It flew its first combat mission in August 1916, when its aircraft helped to repel a German Zeppelin.[3] On 7 July 1917 a 50 Squadron Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8 shot down a German Gotha bomber off the North Foreland of Kent.[4][5] In February 1918, it discarded its miscellany of aircraft to standardise on the more capable Sopwith Camel fighter, continuing to defend Kent.[1] By October 1918, it was operating its Camels as night fighters.[6] It was during this period that the squadron started using the running dogs device on squadron aircraft, a tradition that continued until 1984. The device arose from the radio call sign Dingo that the squadron was allocated as part of the Home Defence network.[7] It disbanded on 13 June 1919.[1] The last CO of the squadron before it disbanded was Major Arthur Harris later to become Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of RAF Bomber Command during the Second World War.[8]

Reformation and World War II

No. 50 Squadron reformed at RAF Waddington on 3 May 1937, equipped with Hawker Hind biplane light bombers. It started to convert to the Handley Page Hampden monoplane medium bomber in December 1938, discarding its last Hinds in January 1939.[1] It was still equipped with Hampdens when the Second World War broke out, forming part of 5 Group, Bomber Command. It flew its first bombing raid on 19 March 1940 against the seaplane base at Hörnum on the island of Sylt.[1][3] On 12 April 1940, in attempt to attack German warships off Kristiansand returning from the German invasion of Norway, 50 Squadron took part in what was the largest British air raid of the war so far, with a total of 83 RAF bombers attempting to attack the German fleet. When 12 Hampdens of 50 and 44 Squadron spotted a German warship and attempted to attack, they lost 6 of their number to beam attacks by German fighters,[9][10] with 13 officers and men from 50 Squadron dead or missing.[11] After these losses, daylight attacks with Hampdens were abandoned.[10]

50 Squadron continued operations by night, taking part in the RAF's strategic bombing offensive against the Germans through the remainder of 1940 and 1941. It re-equipped with Avro Manchesters from April 1942.[1] The Manchester was disappointing, however, with unreliable engines and had a lower ceiling than the Hampden it replaced.[12] Despite these problems, 50 Squadron continued in operations, contributing 17 Manchesters to Operation Millienium the "1,000 aircraft" raid against Cologne on 30/31 May 1942. It lost two aircraft that night,[13] one of which piloted by Flying Officer Leslie Thomas Manser who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for pressing on with the attack after his aircraft was heavily damaged, and when a crash became inevitable, sacrificing his own life by remaining at the controls to allow the rest of his crew to parachute to safety.[14][15]

Photograph showing the destruction at Vallø after RAFs last major strategic raid

The Squadron soon re-equipped with the four-engined Avro Lancaster, which it used for the rest of the war against German targets,[1] flying its last mission of the war against an Oil Refinery at Vallø in Norway on 25/26 April 1945.[5] The squadron flew 7,135 sorties during the war with a loss of 176 aircraft.[16] It replaced its Lancasters with Avro Lincolns in 1946, disbanding at Waddington on 31 January 1951.[1]

Jet operations

No 50 Squadron re-formed at RAF Binbrook on 15 August 1952, equipped with the English Electric Canberra light jet bomber. It moved to RAF Upwood in January 1956, disbanding on 1 October 1959.[1] It reformed again at RAF Waddington on 1 August 1962 on the Avro Vulcan V bomber, using ex-617 Squadron Vulcan B.1s made surplus after 617 Squadron re-equipped with Vulcan B.2s.[1][17] It received Vulcan B.2s in December 1966,[1] and was still operating them when the Falklands War broke out in April 1982, with two Vulcan crews from 50 Squadron selected for Operation Black Buck missions.[18] The Falklands War, and the continuing need to maintain supply flights to the South Atlantic after the end of the war, resulted in a shortage of air-to-air refuelling tankers, and it was decided to convert six of 50 Squadron's Vulcans to single point tankers, the first conversion flying on 18 June 1982 and entering service on 23 June.[19] The squadron was the last unit to operate the Vulcan which remained in service in the tanking role until the squadron disbanded on 31 March 1984.[3][20]

Aircraft operated

Dates Aircraft[1][21] Variant
May 1916 – September 1917 Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 B.E.2c
May 1916 – May 1918 Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12
June 1916 – July 1917 Vickers E.S.1[22]
December 1916 – August 1917 Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12 B.E.12a
December 1916 – February 1918 Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 B.E.2e
March 1917 – March 1917 Bristol M.1 M.1B
May 1917 – June 1917 Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8
May 1917 – January 1918 Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8
June 1917 – July 1917 Sopwith Pup
January 1918 – June 1918 Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12 B.E.12b
May 1918 – July 1918 Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 S.E.5a
July 1918 – June 1919 Sopwith Camel
May 1937 – January 1939 Hawker Hind
December 1938 – April 1942 Handley Page Hampden
April 1942 – June 1942 Avro Manchester
May 1942 – October 1946 Avro Lancaster I & III
July 1946 – January 1951 Avro Lincoln B.2
August 1952 – October 1959 English Electric Canberra B.2
August 1961 – October 1966 Avro Vulcan B.1
January 1966 – March 1984 Avro Vulcan B.2
June 1982 – March 1984 Avro Vulcan K.2

Stations operated from

[21]

  • Swingate Down: 1916
  • Harrietsham: 1916–1918
  • Bekesbourne: 1918–1919
  • RAF Waddington: 1937–1940
  • RAF Lindholme: 1940–1941
  • RAF Swinderby: 1941–1942
  • RAF Skellingthorpe: 1942–1945
  • RAF Sturgate: 1945–1946
  • RAF Waddington: 1946–1951
  • RAF Binbrook: 1952–1956
  • RAF Upwood: 1956–1959
  • RAF Waddington: 1961–1984

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Halley 1980, p. 85.
  2. ^ Lewis 1959, p. 33.
  3. ^ a b c "50 Squadron". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
  4. ^ Bruce 1982, p. 103.
  5. ^ a b "RAF History – Bomber Command 60th Anniversary: No. 50 Squadron". Royal Air Force. 6 April 2005. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
  6. ^ Lewis 1959, p. 34.
  7. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 205.
  8. ^ Probert 2001, p. 46.
  9. ^ Richards 1953, p.84
  10. ^ a b Richards 1995, p. 46.
  11. ^ "RAF – No. 50 Squadron". Traces of World War 2. 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
  12. ^ Hastings 1999, pp. 148–149.
  13. ^ Hastings 1999, pp. 151–153.
  14. ^ Flight 29 October 1942, p. 474.
  15. ^ Richards 1995, p. 170.
  16. ^ Falconer 2003, p. 255.
  17. ^ Laming 2002, p. 64.
  18. ^ Laming 2002, p. 132.
  19. ^ Laming 2002, p. 141.
  20. ^ Darling 2007, p. 70.
  21. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 41.
  22. ^ Bruce 1982, pp. 578–579.

Bibliography

  • Bruce, J. M. (1982). The Aeroplanes of the Royal Flying Corps (Military Wing). London: Putnam. ISBN 0 370 30084 X. 
  • Darling, Kev (2007). Avro Vulcan. RAF Illustrated. Part 1. Big Bird Aviation Publications. ISBN 978-1847992376. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=wdM5wJlVhpcC&pg=PA70. 
  • Falconer, Jonathan (2003). Bomber Command Handbook 1939–1945. Stroud, England: Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0 7509 3171 X. 
  • "Cologne Raid V.C.". Flight XLII (1766): p. 474. 29 October 1942. http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1942/1942%20-%202268.html. 
  • Halley, James J. (1980). The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force. Tonbridge, Kent: Air Britain (Historians). ISBN 0 85130 083 9. 
  • Hastings, Max (1999). Bomber Command. London: Pan. ISBN 0-330-39204-2. 
  • Jefford MBE, Wg Cdr C G (1988). RAF Squadrons. A comprehensive record of the movement and equipment of all RAF squadrons and their antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury: Airlife. ISBN 1 85310 053 6. 
  • Laming, Tim (2002). The Vulcan Story 1952–2002. Leicester, UK: Silverdale Books. ISBN 1-85605-701-1. 
  • Lewis, Peter (1959). Squadron Histories: R.F.C, R.N.A.S and R.A.F. 1912–59. London: Putnam. 
  • Probert, Henry (2001). Bomber Harris: his life and times. Barnsley: Greenhill Books. ISBN 978-1853674730. 
  • Richards, Dennis (1953). Royal Air Force 1939–1945: Volume I: The Fight at Odds. London: HMSO. 
  • Richards, Dennis (1995). The Hardest Victory: RAF Bomber Command in the Second World War. London: Coronet. ISBN 0-340-61720-9. 

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Squadron RAF No. 298 — Le Squadron RAF No. 298 fut un squadron de la Royal Air Force pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, de 1942 à 1946. Sa devise était Silent We Strike (en français : Nous frappons en silence) Histoire 1942. Le 24 août, le squadron No. 298 est… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Squadron RAF No. 138 — Le Squadron RAF No. 138 fut un squadron[1] de la Royal Air Force, consacré à des missions aériennes de chasse, d’opérations spéciales et de bombardement, créé en 1918 et définitivement démantelé en 1962. Sa devise était : ‘’For freedom’’.… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Squadron RAF No. 299 — Le Squadron RAF No. 299 fut un squadron de la Royal Air Force, pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, à partir de novembre 1943.. Histoire 1943. Le 4 novembre, le squadron RAF No. 299 est formé au terrain RAF de Stoney Cross, Angleterre, en tant que …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Squadron RAF No. 90 — Le Squadron RAF No. 90 (aussi connu sous l appellation Escadron XC) est d abord un escadron de chasse de la Royal Flying Corps, lors de sa création le 17 octobre 1917, bien qu il n ait jamais participé aux opérations militaires. Il est dissous en …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Squadron RAF No. 161 — Le Squadron RAF No. 161 fut pendant la Première Guerre mondiale une unité de bombardement de jour de la Royal Air Force, et fut utilisé pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale pour acheminer dans les pays d Europe occupée, à partir du terrain RAF de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • No. 144 Squadron RAF — Squadron 144 RAF crest No. 144 Squadron, RAF, was a British aviation and missle squadron during World War I, World War II, and the Cold War. Contents 1 World War I …   Wikipedia

  • No. 16 Squadron RAF — Active 10 February 1915 – Present Role Elementary Flying Training …   Wikipedia

  • No. 41 Squadron RAF — Official Squadron Badge of No. 41 Squadron RAF Active 14 July 1916 Country …   Wikipedia

  • No. 46 Squadron RAF — No. 46 Squadron Active 19 April 1916 31 August 1975 Country United Kingdom Branch Royal Air Force Size squadron No. 46 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps …   Wikipedia

  • No. 233 Squadron RAF — Active 31 August 1918 15 May 1919 18 May 1937 – 15 December 1945 1952 1957 1 September 1960 – 31 January 1964 Country …   Wikipedia

  • No. 269 Squadron RAF — The official No. 269 Squadron badge Active 6 October 1918 – 15 November 1919 7 December 1936 – 10 March 1946 1 January 1952 – 24 M …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.