No. 84 Squadron RAF

No. 84 Squadron RAF
No. 84 Squadron RAF
Official Squadron Badge of No. 84 Squadron RAF
Active 7 Jan 1917 - 30 Jan 1920
13 Aug 1920 - 20 Feb 1953
20 Feb 1953 - 31 Oct 1971
17 Jan 1972 - present
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Role Search and Rescue Squadron
Part of Search and Rescue Force
Base RAF Akrotiri
Motto Latin: Scorpiones pungunt
("Scorpions sting")
Helicopter Bell Griffin HAR.2
Battle honours Western Front 1917-1918*, Cambrai 1917, Somme 1918*, Amiens, Hindenburg Line*, Iraq 1920, Iraq 1923-1925, Iraq 1928-1929, Egypt and Libya, 1940-1942*, Greece 1940-1941*, Iraq 1941*, Habbaniya, Syria 1941, Malaya 1942*, North Burma 1944*, Manipur 1944.
The Honours marked with an asterix* are those emblazoned on the Squadron Standard
William Sholto Douglas
Francis Fogarty
Squadron Badge heraldry A Scorpion
Squadron Codes UR (Apr 1939 - Sep 1939)
VA (Sep 1939 - Mar 1941)
PY (Jan 1945 - Dec 1946)

No. 84 Squadron of the Royal Air Force is at present a Search and Rescue Squadron based at RAF Akrotiri, it uses the Bell Griffin HAR.2 helicopter. It is currently part of the RAF's Search and Rescue Force



No. 84 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) was formed on 7 January 1917 and moved to France in September 1917. It flew the SE.5 over the Western front, at one time based in Bertangles, France until it returned to the UK in August 1919. The squadron was disbanded on 30 January 1920. Its aces included Walter A. Southey.

The squadron was reformed on 13 August 1920 at Baghdad in Iraq, moving to Shaibah in September, where it remained for the next 20 years. Its initial equipment was DH.9As (until January 1929) and these were replaced by Wapitis (beginning October 1928), Vincents (December 1934) and Blenheims Mk.Is ( February 1939), before moving to Egypt in September 1940. It later operated in Greece, Iraq, and the Western Desert before moving briefly to the Far East. No. 84 Squadron flew the Vultee Vengeance dive bomber from Assam in North-East India but, contrary to some reports, not the Commonwealth Boomerang fighter from New Guinea during World War II (this was done by No. 84 Squadron RAAF). The squadron re-equipped with the Mosquito in February 1945 and in September 1945 with the Bristol Beaufighter. In 1949 No. 84 Squadron flew Bristol Brigands during Operation Firedog.

84 Squadron Bell Griffin HAR2 dips its bucket off the coast of Atlit, Israel during firefighting efforts on December 3, 2010

The squadron was disbanded on 20 February 1953, but No. 204 Squadron was renumbered to No. 84 Squadron on the same day. The squadron was the transport squadron for the RAF in the Middle East till 1971. Its Vickers Valetta flight was detached to become No. 233 Squadron RAF on 1 September 1960 at RAF Khormaksar to provide general transport for the British Army in the Aden Protectorate. The squadron was disbanded at Muharraq on 31 October 1971.

The squadron was reformed on 17 January 1972 from No 1563 Flight and a detachment from No. 230 Squadron RAF with Westland Whirlwind HAR.10s at RAF Akrotiri to aid UN operations and operate search and rescue. It later (March 1982) replaced the Whirlwind with the Westland Wessex HC.2 and later still (June 1984) with the Westland Wessex HU.5C. It was the last squadron to use the Westland Wessex.

Since January 2003 the squadron has been assigned to British Forces Cyprus at RAF Akrotiri in the search and rescue role using the Bell Griffin HAR2. The helicopters are leased from and maintained by a civilian company. 84 Squadron aircraft are also used for UN duties in maintaining the "buffer zone separating Cypriot and Turkish forces. In recognition of this role the aircraft are always unarmed and carry a light blue band around their tail, matching the blue berets of UN peacekeepers.

84 Squadron is the only serving squadron never to have been based in the United Kingdom.


The squadron's badge, approved by George VI in December 1936 is the scorpion, and its motto is Scorpiones pungunt, Latin for "Scorpions sting". As a result, a single pet scorpion named Frank is kept as a mascot at RAF Akrotiri.

The squadron is allocated the ICAO designator AKG and the callsign GRIFTER.

Aircraft operated

Notable squadron members

  • William Sholto Douglas, World War I ace
  • Andrew Beauchamp-Proctor, VC, World War I ace
  • George Augustus Vaughn, Jr., World War I ace
  • Walter Southey, World War I ace
  • Carl Frederick Falkenberg, World War I ace
  • Robert Grosvenor, World War I ace
  • Sidney Highwood, World War I ace
  • Hugh Saunders, World War I ace
  • John Victor Sorsoleil, World War I ace
  • Edwin A. Clear, World War I ace
  • Norman Mawle, World War I ace
  • Roy Manzer, World War I ace
  • John S. Ralston, World War I ace
  • Frederick Elliott Brown, World War I ace
  • William Henry Brown, World War I ace
  • Kenneth Leask, World War I ace
  • Percy Hobson, World War I ace
  • Cecil Thompson, World War I ace
  • Air Marshal George Owen Johnson, World War I ace
  • John McCudden, World War I ace
  • James Child, World War I ace




  • Bowyer, Chaz. Mosquito Squadrons of the Royal Air Force. London: Ian Allan Ltd., 1984. ISBN 0-71101425-6.
  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1918-88. 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, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • Neate, Don. Scorpions Sting: The Story of No. 84 Squadron Royal Air Force. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1994. ISBN 0-85130-222-X.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Coastal, Support and Special Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Jane's Publishing Company Ltd., 1982. ISBN 0-7106-0187-5.

External links

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