No. 120 Squadron RAF


No. 120 Squadron RAF
No. 120 Squadron RAF
120 Squadron RAF.jpg
Official Squadron crest of No. 120 Squadron RAF
Active 1 Jan 1918 (RFC) - 21 Oct 1919
2 Jun 1941 - 4 Jun 1945
1 Oct 1946 - 31st March 2010
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Role Maritime Patrol
Base RAF Kinloss
Motto Endurance
Equipment Nimrod MR.2
Battle honours Atlantic, 1941-1945*;
Biscay, 1941-1944*;
Arctic, 1942-1944*;
Channel and North Atlantic, 1941-1944*;
South Atlantic, 1982;
Gulf, 1991;
Iraq, 2003
Honours marked with an asterisk* are those emblazoned on the Squadron Standard
Insignia
Squadron Badge heraldry Standing on a demi-terrestrial globe, a falcon close[1]
The falcon, an Icelandic falcon, commemorates the Squadron's stay there and also indicates the squadron's predatory instinct[2]
Squadron Codes OH (Jun 1941 - Dec 1941, Jul 1944 - Jun 1945)
BS (Oct 1946 - Mar 1951)
(Codes taken over from No 160 Sqn)
A (Mar 1951 - Apr 1956)
120 (Apr 1956 - Feb 1971?)

No. 120 Squadron of the Royal Air Force operated the Nimrod MR2, based at RAF Kinloss, Moray, Scotland[1] until the type's withdrawal in March 2010.[3]

Contents

History

Formation in WWI

No. 120 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps was formed at Cramlington on 1 January 1918, as a day bomber unit and was planned to be equipped with Airco DH.9. The First World War ended before it became operational, as the DH.9s were not delivered until October 1918,[1] so 120 Squadron spent late 1918 and 1919 flying communication and mail flights in Western Europe until it was disbanded late in 1919.[4]

WWII

Reformed as part of Coastal Command in Northern Ireland in 1941 at RAF Nutts Corner, the unit was equipped with the Consolidated Liberator, flying against the U-Boat threat in the war in the North Atlantic. The squadron received the first Mark I Liberators in June and began flying nine of them in September from bases in Aldergrove, Northern Ireland and Reykjavik, Iceland. The number of Liberators in September 1942 had increased to six Mark I, two Mark II, and three Mark III. 120 Squadron remained the only Coastal Command squadron flying VLR (Very Long Range) Liberators in February 1943 with five Mark I and twelve Mark III.[5]

The squadron was very successful in this role, sinking 14 U-Boats outright, with shares in three more and eight damaged by the end of the war and its disbandment on 4 June 1945 at RAF Ballykelly.[1] This was the highest kill total in Coastal Command, achieved whilst flying from Northern Ireland, Iceland, and in support of Operation Overlord - the Allied invasion of France in 1944.[4]


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