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No. 99 Squadron RAF

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

No. 99 Squadron RAF
99 Squadron RAF.jpg
  • 15 Aug 1917 – 2 Apr 1920
  • 1 Apr 1924 – 15 Nov 1945
  • 17 Nov 1947 – 7 Jan 1976
  • 1 Jan 2002 – present
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Royal Air Force
Type Flying squadron
Role Strategic and tactical air transport, aeromedical evacuation
Part of No. 2 Group RAF
Home station RAF Brize Norton
Nickname(s) 'Madras Presidency'
Motto(s) Quisque tenax
(Latin for Each tenacious)[1][2]
Aircraft Boeing C-17 Globemaster III
Battle honours * Honours marked with an asterisk may be emblazoned on the Squadron Standard
Wing Commander Marc Holland
Squadron badge heraldry A puma salient.[1][2] Selected because the squadrons first aircraft had Puma engines, the cat chosen for independence and tenacity while the black colour signifies the night-bombing role.[3]
Squadron codes VF (Apr 1939 – Sep 1939)[4][5]
LN (Sep 1939 – Feb 1942)[6][7]

No. 99 Squadron is a squadron of the Royal Air Force which operates the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III strategic/tactical transport aircraft from RAF Brize Norton.

The squadron conducts global deployments on behalf of the British Armed Forces and the UK Government, notably delivering emergency aid during natural disasters and supporting military operations overseas.

No. 99 was a bomber squadron in both World War I and World War II. The squadron was the first RAF unit to receive the Avro Aldershot, Handley Page Hyderabad, Handley Page Hinaidi, Vickers Wellington, Bristol Britannia and Boeing Globemaster. In case of the Avro Aldershot the squadron was its only operator, as it is now for the Globemasters.

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World War I

What would later become No. 99 (Madras Presidency) Squadron was originally formed at Yatesbury, Wiltshire, England on 15 August 1917 from elements supplied by No. 13 Training Squadron, RFC. It was equipped with de Havilland DH.9 bombers in 1918, deploying to France to form part of the Independent Air Force, the RAF's strategic bombing force. It flew its first mission on 21 May and continued to take part in large scale daylight raids against targets in Germany, sustaining heavy losses due both to the unreliable nature of the DH.9 and heavy German opposition. As an example, during one raid against railway targets in Saarbrücken on 31 July 1918, seven out of nine aircraft from 99 Squadron were shot down, with a further three DH.9s turning back with engine trouble before the formation crossed the enemy lines[1][8][9] 99 Squadron was withdrawn from the front line on 25 September to be re-equipped with de Havilland DH.9A bombers, and it was still in the process of converting when the war ended. During the war it had taken part in 76 bombing raids, dropping 61 tons of bombs and claiming 12 German aircraft, of which eight were during the raid of 31 July.[1][8]

A Vickers Vimy bomber
A Vickers Vimy bomber
Handley Page Hyderabad H.P.24 Hyderabads
Handley Page Hyderabad H.P.24 Hyderabads

In 1919 the squadron was sent to India, flying patrols over the North-West Frontier from Mianwali and Kohat during the Mahsud and Waziristan campaigns.[1] It was disbanded by being renumbered to No. 27 Squadron on 2 April 1920.[8][10]

Inter-war period

No. 99 Squadron reformed on 1 April 1924 at Netheravon, Wiltshire, flying Vickers Vimys. In May 1924, it moved to RAF Bircham Newton in Norfolk, uniquely receiving the Avro Aldershot single-engined heavy bomber. These were replaced at the end of 1925 by twin-engined Handley Page Hyderabads, the squadron moving to RAF Upper Heyford in December 1927. In 1929, it again switched to new aircraft when it began receiving Handley Page Hinaidis, a radial engined derivative of the Hyderabad.[8][11] By 1933, the Hinaidi, which was little improvement over bombers in use during the First World War, was recognised as obsolete, and in November the unit received the first production Handley Page Heyford heavy bombers. While these carried twice the bombload of the earlier aircraft, and had significantly better performance, they soon became outclassed. However, 99 Squadron, which had moved to RAF Mildenhall in November 1934, was obliged to retain the Heyford until October 1938, when it converted to Vickers Wellington monoplanes.[11][12][13] In September 1935, "B" flight of 99 Squadron was split off to form 38 Squadron,[14] while on 12 April 1937 the squadron again detached "B" flight, this time to form 149 Squadron.[15]

World War II

99 Squadron Wellington air crew at RAF Waterbeach prepare for a night raid on Berlin.
99 Squadron Wellington air crew at RAF Waterbeach prepare for a night raid on Berlin.
Ground crew check the bomb load on a 99 Squadron Wellington at Jessore, India, prior to a sortie over Burma.
Ground crew check the bomb load on a 99 Squadron Wellington at Jessore, India, prior to a sortie over Burma.

The squadron was the first unit to be equipped with Vickers Wellingtons, just before the start of World War II.[14] It flew its first operational mission of the war on the night of 8/9 September 1939, when three Wellingtons set off from Mildenhall to drop leaflets over Germany. The squadron temporarily dispersed to RAF Elmdon (now Birmingham Airport) the next day before moving to a more permanent new home at RAF Newmarket, Suffolk on 15 September.[16] On 14 December 1939, 12 Wellingtons of the squadron set off for an armed reconnaissance of the Schillig Roads, hoping to attack a force of German warships spotted by a British submarine the previous night. While the formation encountered the German warships, the cloud base was too low to bomb the ships, and five of the bombers were lost over the North Sea, one shot down by anti-aircraft fire, three by German fighters and one lost in a collision. A further Wellington crashed on return to base.[17][18] The squadron was a part of No. 3 Group RAF, Bomber Command and bombed targets in Norway and Germany, mainly at night. It moved to the newly established base at RAF Waterbeach in March 1941.[19] During its time in Bomber Command the squadron flew 1,786 operational sorties and lost 43 aircraft.

In February 1942 the squadron moved to India with the Wellingtons, and resumed operations in November 1942 against Japanese bases in Burma. From September 1944 the squadron re-equipped with Consolidated Liberators which allowed it to reach targets in Thailand and Malaya. During this period, the squadron included a significant number of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Royal Canadian Air Force aircrew personnel, attached to it under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The squadron moved to the Cocos Islands in August 1945 to prepare for the planned invasion of Malaya. After the Japanese surrender the squadron disbanded there on 15 November 1945.

Post war

An Avro York
An Avro York

The Squadron was reformed again on 17 November 1947 at RAF Lyneham, Wiltshire, as a transport squadron, equipped with the Avro York. In that rôle it contributed to the Berlin Airlift, operating from RAF Wunstorf in Germany.

A Handley Page Hastings C.2
A Handley Page Hastings C.2

The unit continued in the transport rôle from 1949 to 1959 with the Handley Page Hastings, which was normally used as a transport aircraft but, as the squadron also had a tactical support rôle, was also used in 1956 to drop paratroops on Gamil Airfield during the Suez crisis.[2]

Bristol Britannia C.1 of 99 Squadron in 1976.
Bristol Britannia C.1 of 99 Squadron in 1976.

From 1959 the squadron flew the Bristol Britannia, initially from Lyneham, then from RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, from June 1970. The unit put the new long range turboprop aircraft to use to evacuate citizens from troublespots all over the world such as Congo 1960, Kuwait 1961, Belize 1961 and Aden 1967.[2] The Squadron was disbanded on 6 January 1976, following the 1974 Defence White Paper.


A No. 99 Squadron C-17 during August 2010
A No. 99 Squadron C-17 during August 2010

The squadron was reformed again in November 2000, to operate the RAF's C-17s.[20] The first of the squadron's four initial C-17s was delivered to the RAF on 17 May 2001, arriving at Brize Norton on 23 May. One of the first high-profile missions of the squadron was the deployment of Lynx helicopters and support equipment to Macedonia as part of a NATO peacekeeping force. This deployment was codenamed Operation Bessemer.

Since then the Squadron has supported military exercises "Saif Sareea II" in Oman, the War on Terror in Afghanistan, and the Invasion of Iraq (Operation Telic). More routine tasks have gone largely unpublicised, for example the replacement of 1435 Flight's Tornado F3s in the Falkland Islands. Previously the RAF had to lease commercial heavy lifters such as the Antonov An-124 to return the aircraft to the UK, or launch a major logistical effort to allow a ferry flight. In any case the C-17 has proved invaluable to the RAF, so much so that the original seven-year lease has been bought out, and an additional aircraft was purchased. On 26 July 2007, the order for a sixth was confirmed, delivered in June 2008.

In December 2009, the Ministry of Defence announced its intention to acquire a seventh aircraft. This was received by the RAF at Boeing's Long Beach, California facility on 16 November 2010.[21] The UK announced the purchase of its eighth C-17 in February 2012.[22]

On 13 January 2013 it was announced that two 99 Squadron C-17s were to be used to transport French military equipment and troops to Mali.[23]

On 15 November 2013, a C-17 of 99 Squadron flew to the Philippines to assist with aid efforts there after Typhoon Haiyan.[24]

Aircraft operated

The Handley Page H.P.33 Hinaidi
The Handley Page H.P.33 Hinaidi
A Handley Page Heyford
A Handley Page Heyford
Royal Air Force Bristol Britannia at Bristol Filton Airport in 1964
Royal Air Force Bristol Britannia at Bristol Filton Airport in 1964
Aircraft operated by No. 99 Squadron RAF, data from[2][25][26]
From To Aircraft Variant Notes
March 1918 November 1918 de Havilland DH.9 Single-engined biplane bomber
August 1918 March 1920 de Havilland DH.9A Single-engined biplane bomber
April 1924 December 1924 Vickers Vimy Twin-engined biplane bomber
August 1924 December 1925 Avro Aldershot Mk.III Single-engined heavy bomber
December 1925 January 1931 Handley Page Hyderabad Twin-engined biplane heavy bomber
October 1929 December 1933 Handley Page Hinaidi Twin-engined biplane heavy bomber
November 1933 September 1937 Handley Page Heyford Mk.I Twin-engined biplane heavy bomber
November 1934 August 1938 Handley Page Heyford Mk.II Twin-engined biplane heavy bomber
December 1935 November 1938 Handley Page Heyford Mk.III Twin-engined biplane heavy bomber
October 1938 December 1939 Vickers Wellington Mk.I Twin-engined medium bomber
September 1939 April 1940 Vickers Wellington Mk.Ia Twin-engined medium bomber
March 1940 February 1942 Vickers Wellington Mk.Ic Twin-engined medium bomber
July 1941 October 1941 Vickers Wellington Mk.II Twin-engined medium bomber
October 1942 May 1943 Vickers Wellington Mk.Ic Twin-engined medium bomber
April 1943 August 1944 Vickers Wellington Mk.III Twin-engined medium bomber
April 1943 August 1944 Vickers Wellington Mk.X Twin-engined medium bomber
September 1944 November 1945 Consolidated Liberator Mk.VI Four-engined heavy bomber
November 1947 September 1949 Avro York C.1 Four-engined transport
August 1949 June 1959 Handley Page Hastings C.1 Four-engined transport
May 1952 June 1959 Handley Page Hastings C.2 Four-engined transport
June 1959 January 1976 Bristol Britannia C.1 and C.2 Four-engined transport
2002 Present Day Boeing Globemaster C-17A Four-engined strategic transport


Bases and airfields used by no. 99 Squadron RAF, data from[2][26][27][28]
From To Base Remark
15 August 1917 30 August 1917 RAF Yatesbury, Wiltshire First formation
30 August 1917 25 April 1918 RAF Ford Farm, Wiltshire
25 April 1918 3 May 1918 St. Omer, France
3 May 1918 5 June 1918 Tantonville, France
5 June 1918 16 November 1918 Azelot, France
16 November 1918 29 November 1918 Auxi-le-Chateau, France
29 November 1918 12 December 1918 St. André-aux-Bois, France
12 December 1918 1 May 1919 Aulnoye, France
1 May 1919 15 June 1919 en route to British India via SS Magwa and SS Syria
15 June 1919 30 September 1919 Ambala, Haryana, British India
30 September 1919 2 April 1920 Mianwali, Punjab, British India Det. at Kohat, North-West Frontier Province
1 April 1924 31 May 1924 RAF Netheravon, Wiltshire Second formation
31 May 1924 5 January 1928 RAF Bircham Newton, Norfolk
5 January 1928 15 November 1934 RAF Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire
15 November 1934 2 September 1939 RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk
2 September 1939 8 March 1941 RAF Newmarket, Suffolk Det. at RAF Lossiemouth, Moray, Scotland
on loan to Coastal Command Nov/Dec 1939
Det. at Salon, France, June 1940
8 March 1941 12 February 1942 RAF Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire
12 February 1942 1 June 1942 en route to British India
1 June 1942 12 September 1942 Ambala, Haryana, British India Re-formed here. Dets at Solan, Punjab, British India
and Pandaveswar, Bengal, British India
12 September 1942 24 October 1942 Pandaveswar, Bengal, British India
24 October 1942 3 April 1943 Digri, Bengal, British India
3 April 1943 14 June 1943 Chaklala, Punjab, British India
14 June 1943 27 August 1944 Jessore, Bengal, British India Dets. at Argatala, Twipra Kingdom
and Kumbhirgram, Assam, British India
27 August 1944 1 August 1945 RAF Dhubalia, Bengal, British India
1 August 1945 15 November 1945 RAF Cocos Islands, Straits Settlements
17 November 1947 16 June 1970 RAF Lyneham, Wiltshire Third formation. Det. at RAF Wunstorf, Germany during Berlin Blockade
16 June 1970 7 January 1976 RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire
1 January 2002 present RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire Fourth formation

Commanding officers

Officers commanding no. 99 squadron RAF, data from[2]
From To Name
15 August 1917 11 March 1918 Capt. A.M. Swyny
11 March 1918 5 November 1918 Maj. L.A. Pattinson, MC, DFC
5 November 1918 2 April 1920 Maj. C.R. Cox, AFC
23 April 1924 4 September 1925 S/Ldr. G.R.M. Reid, DSO, MC
4 September 1925 1 October 1925 S/Ldr. L.T.N. Gould, MC, DFC
1 October 1925 3 April 1927 S/Ldr. W.J. Ryan, CBE
3 April 1927 26 July 1929 W/Cdr. B.E. Smithies, DFC
26 July 1929 19 November 1929 W/Cdr. W.B. Hargreaves, OBE
19 November 1929 19 February 1930 S/Ldr. G.H. Cock
19 February 1930 1 August 1932 W/Cdr. H.G. Smart, CBE, DFC, AFC
1 August 1932 13 January 1934 W/Cdr. E.D. Johnson, AFC
13 January 1934 1 January 1936 W/Cdr. F.J. Linnell, OBE
1 January 1936 21 June 1937 W/Cdr. H.N. Drew, OBE, AFC
21 June 1937 26 September 1939 W/Cdr. H.E. Walker, MC, DFC
26 September 1939 29 June 1940 S/Ldr. J.F. Griffiths, DFC
29 June 1940 16 January 1941 W/Cdr. R.J.A. Ford
16 January 1941 12 December 1941 W/Cdr. F.W. Dixon-Wright, DFC
12 December 1941 14 June 1942 W/Cdr. P. Heath
14 June 1942 25 April 1943 W/Cdr. J.B. Black, OBE, DFC
25 April 1943 11 June 1943 S/Ldr. C.L.M. Schräder
11 June 1943 15 March 1944 S/Ldr. R.G. Maddox, AFC
15 March 1944 24 May 1944 S/Ldr. A.S.R. Ennis, DSO, AFC
24 May 1944 3 September 1944 S/Ldr. P.R. O'Connor, DFC
3 September 1944 23 April 1945 W/Cdr. L.B. Ercolani, DSO, DFC
23 April 1945 15 November 1945 W/Cdr. A. Webster, DSO, DFC
17 November 1947 6 May 1949 S/Ldr. G.V. Ridpath, DFC
6 May 1949 10 June 1950 S/Ldr. S.E. Pattinson, DFC
10 June 1950 3 May 1951 S/Ldr. W.G. James
3 May 1951 14 September 1952 W/Cdr. B.C. Bennett, AFC
14 September 1952 17 July 1954 S/Ldr. K.B. Orr
17 July 1954 27 April 1956 S/Ldr. R.F.B. Powell
27 April 1956 27 May 1957 S/Ldr. D.R. Ware, DFC, AFC
27 May 1957 9 January 1959 S/Ldr. T.M. Stafford
9 January 1959 5 October 1959 W/Cdr. J.O. Barnard, OBE
5 October 1959 28 September 1961 W/Cdr. W.E.F. Grey, AFC
28 September 1961 12 November 1963 W/Cdr. P. Barber, DFC
12 November 1963 27 December 1965 W/Cdr. R.M. Jenkins, AFC
27 December 1965 1 August 1967 W/Cdr. T.L. Kennedy, AFC
1 August 1967 21 June 1969 W/Cdr. F.B. Yetman
21 June 1969 25 June 1971 W/Cdr. W.C. Milne
25 June 1971 3 September 1973 W/Cdr. F. Appleyard
3 September 1973 7 January 1976 W/Cdr. C.E. Bowles

See also



  1. ^ a b c d e Moyes 1976, p. 127.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Rawlings 1982, p. 97.
  3. ^ Edgerley 1993, pp. 42–44.
  4. ^ Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 13.
  5. ^ Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 52.
  6. ^ Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, pp. 67–68.
  7. ^ Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 88.
  8. ^ a b c d Rawlings 1961, p. 339.
  9. ^ Rennles 2002, pp. 71–73.
  10. ^ Edgerley 1993, p. 35.
  11. ^ a b 99 Squadron 99 Squadron Royal Air Force. Retrieved 26 December 2009.
  12. ^ Rawlings 1961, p. 340.
  13. ^ Ward and Smith 2008, p. 211.
  14. ^ a b Ward and Smith 2008, p. 3.
  15. ^ Bowyer 1990, p. 161.
  16. ^ Ward and Smith 2008, p. 5.
  17. ^ Ward and Smith 2008, p. 7.
  18. ^ Richards 1953, pp. 44☼45.
  19. ^ Bowyer 1990, p. 200.
  20. ^ [1] 99 Squadron, Retrieved 30 September 2010
  21. ^ "RAF Brize Norton: Gateway Magazine: RAF Receives Seventh C-17". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 25 February 2011.
  22. ^ Hoyle, Craig. "UK to buy eighth C-17 transport". Flight International, 8 February 2012.
  23. ^ "Mali: RAF C17 cargo plane to help French operation". BBC News. 13 January 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  24. ^ "RAF aid plane on way to Philippines in relief effort". BBC News. 15 November 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  25. ^ Moyes 1976, pp. 129–130.
  26. ^ a b Jefford 2001, p. 56.
  27. ^ Moyes 1976, pp. 128–129.
  28. ^ Edgerley 1993, p. 313.


  • Bowyer, Michael J.F. Action Stations: 1. Military airfields of East Anglia. Wellingborough, UK: Patrick Stephens Limited, Second edition, 1990. ISBN 1-85260-377-1.
  • Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • Delve, Ken. The Source Book of the RAF. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1994. ISBN 1-85310-451-5.
  • Edgerley, Squadron Leader A.G. Each Tenacious: A History of No. 99 Squadron (1917–1976). Worcester, UK: Square One Publications, 1993. ISBN 1-872017-67-3.
  • Flintham, Vic and Andrew Thomas. Combat Codes: A full explanation and listing of British, Commonwealth and Allied air force unit codes since 1938. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 2003. ISBN 1-84037-281-8.
  • Gwynne-Timothy, John R.W. Burma Liberators: RCAF in SEAC. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Next Level Press, 1991. ISBN 1-895578-02-7.
  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & 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, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • Moyes, Philip J.R. Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1964 (new edition 1976). ISBN 0-354-01027-1.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. "Squadron Histories: No. 99". Air Pictorial, November 1961, Vol. 23 No. 11. pp. 339–340, 342.
  • 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.
  • Renneles, Keith. Independent Force: The War Diary of the Daylight Squadrons of the Independent Air Force 6th June –11th December 1918. London: Grub Street, 2002. ISBN 1-902304-90-X.
  • Richards, Denis. Royal Air Force 1939–1945: Volume I: The Fight at Odds. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1953.
  • Shores, Christopher. Air War For Burma. London: Grun Street, 2005. ISBN 1-904010-95-4.
  • Ward, Chris and Steve Smith. 3 Group Bomber Command: An Operational History. Barnsley, UK: Pen and Sword, 2008. ISBN 978-1-84415-796-9.

External links

This page was last edited on 13 July 2018, at 18:35
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