RAF Banner with Crest.

73 Squadron

73 SQUADRON

Squadron badge

Motto:

Tutor et ultor - 'Protector and avenger'

Badge:

A demi-talbot rampant, charged on the shoulder with a maple leaf. During World War Two the squadron was commanded by Major Hubbard and his aircraft carried a representation of Old Mother Hubbard's dog looking into an empty cupboard. In order to retain its association with this unofficial badge the squadron adopted a heraldic dog and put a maple leaf on it to associate with its Canadian personnel.



History of 73 Squadron:

No. 73 Squadron was formed on 1 July 1917 at Upavon as a fighter unit. Equipped with Camels, it moved to France in January 1918 to fly fighter patrols and bomber escort missions over the Western Front. In March, the German offensive resulted in the squadron undertaking large numbers of ground attack sorties and during the final Allied attack it was engaged in low-level co-operation with armoured until the end of the war. In February 1919, No. 73 returned to the UK and disbanded on 2 July 1919.

On 15 March 1937, No. 73 reformed at Mildenhall as a fighter squadron with Furies. In June, these were replaced by Gladiators which were flown until conversion to Hurricanes took place in July 1938 and the Gladiators transferred to No. 3 Squadron. On the outbreak of World War Two, it was one of the two Hurricane squadrons attached to the Advanced Air Striking Force and moved to France. After the German attack in May 1940, No. 73 helped to cover Allied airfields and bases, falling back as its airfields were overrun by enemy columns. On 18 June, the squadron retired to England where it concentrated on night fighting during the Battle of Britain. Operations ceased on 20 October to allow No. 73 to prepare for transfer to the Middle East. The Squadron's Hurricanes remained in the Western Desert and Tunisia until June 1943 when they were replaced by Spitfires and No. 73 moved to Italy for defensive patrols, becoming a fighter-bomber unit in April 1944. It retained this role for the rest of the war mainly operating over the Balkans. In April 1945 the Squadron moved to Yugoslavia until the end of the war moving to Malta in July 1945. Conversion to Vampires took place in Cyprus in September 1948 and these were flown in the Mediterranean and Middle East until replaced by Venoms in November 1954. In March 1957, No. 73 converted to Canberras in Cyprus until it was disbanded on 17 March 1969.

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