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No. 48 Squadron RAF

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

No. 48 Squadron RAF
Active15 April 1916 – 1 April 1920
25 November 1935 – 7 January 1976
CountryUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Royal Air Force
Motto(s)Latin: Forte et fidele
("By strength and faithfulness")[1]
Battle honoursWestern Front, 1917-18: Arras: Channel & North Sea, 1939-40: Dunkirk: Atlantic, 1941-42: Mediterranean, 1943: Arnhem: Rhine: All honours are emblazoned on the Squadron Standard
Keith Park
Squadron badge heraldryOn an equilateral triangle, a Petrel's head erased
Squadron codesZW Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
OY Sep 1939 - Dec 1942
I2 Feb 1944 - Jan 1946

No. 48 Squadron was a Royal Air Force squadron that saw service in both the First and Second World Wars.

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First World War

No. 48 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps was formed at Netheravon, Wiltshire, on 15 April 1916. The squadron was posted to France in March 1917 and became the first fighter squadron to be equipped with the Bristol Fighter. One of the squadron's commanders was Keith Park, then a Major, who later led No. 11 Group of Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain as an Air Vice Marshal. The squadron became part of the Royal Air Force when the Royal Flying Corps merged with the Royal Naval Air Service in 1918. It moved by sea to India during May/June 1919, being based at Quetta. On 1 April 1920 the squadron was disbanded by renumbering it to No. 5 Squadron.[2]

The squadron had 32 aces serve in it. Besides Park, they included: Fred Holliday, John Letts, Brian Edmund Baker, Harold Anthony Oaks, Leonard A. Payne, Robert Dodds, John Theobald Milne, Charles Napier, Frank Ransley, Alan Wilkinson, Thomas Percy Middleton, William Price, future Air Marshal Charles Steele, Norman Craig Millman, Thomas G. Rae, Owen Scholte, Roger Hay, Norman Roberts,[3] Joseph Michael John Moore,[4] Arthur Noss[5] and Maurice Benjamin.[6]

Second World War

A 48 Squadron Hudson Mk V off the Scottish coastline, in early 1942.
A 48 Squadron Hudson Mk V off the Scottish coastline, in early 1942.

The squadron reformed on 25 November 1935 at RAF Bicester, and became a General Reconnaissance unit operating Avro Anson aircraft. With the outbreak of war in 1939 the squadron was engaged in coastal patrols along the south coast of England. In 1941 the squadron re-equipped with Lockheed Hudson aircraft and took on the role of an anti-submarine squadron, patrolling first the North Sea; in December 1942 the squadron moved to RAF Gibraltar to patrol the Mediterranean.

In 1944 the squadron returned to the UK and was re-equipped with Douglas Dakota aircraft. It remained a transport squadron until being disbanded on 16 January 1946. During this period it operated from Chittagong, Bengal, India on supply operations in the Irrawaddy valley of Burma.

Post war

Handley Page Hastings C.1 of 48 Squadron wearing RAF Far East titles and the unit's red triangle symbol.
Handley Page Hastings C.1 of 48 Squadron wearing RAF Far East titles and the unit's red triangle symbol.

The squadron reformed again on 15 February 1946 when No. 215 Squadron was renumbered as No. 48. The base was at RAF Changi, Singapore, from April 1946 until October 1967. It was re-equipped with Vickers Valetta transports in January 1951 and these were replaced by Handley Page Hastings four-engine transport aircraft in June 1957. The squadron remained a transport unit for the remainder of its existence, finally being equipped with the turboprop Lockheed C-130 Hercules. The squadron returned to the UK on 1 September 1971, continuing to operate the Hercules until disbandment at RAF Lyneham on 7 January 1976.[7]


The badge of the squadron is "On an equilateral triangle, a Petrel's head erased". In the First World War, airmen would often stick bottle labels to their aircraft and so the Bass red triangle - the first registered UK trademark - was incorporated as the main part of the crest with the head of a petrel – a small seabird.[8]



  1. ^ Pine, L.G. (1983). A dictionary of mottoes (1 ed.). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 83. ISBN 0-7100-9339-X.
  2. ^ Halley, 1988, pp 106-107
  3. ^ Retrieved 30 August 2011.
  4. ^ Shores, et al, pp. 116–117, 288–289, 313.
  5. ^ Franks, et al, p. 40.
  6. ^ Franks, et al, p. 5.
  7. ^ Halley, 1988, p. 107
  8. ^ Stephen, Sinfield (2 May 2016). "The story behind the famous Bass red triangle trademark". Burton Mail. Retrieved 24 September 2016.


This page was last edited on 8 March 2018, at 20:50
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