Voyager air to air refuelling

101 Squadron

101 Squadron

101 Sqn Crest


Issuant from the battlements of a tower, a demi lion rampant guardant - approved by King George VI in February 1938. The battlements symbolise the Squadron's pioneering role in the development of power-operated gun turrets, while the lion indicates the unit's fighting power and spirit.


Mens agitat molem - 'Mind over matter'

Key Dates:

  • 1917 - Formed at South Farnborough.
  • 1940 - Flew the duration of WWII as part of Bomber Command.
  • 1951 - Became the RAF's first Jet Bomber squadron when in received Canberras.

Current Aircraft and Location:

Current Aircraft: Voyager

Current Location: RAF Brize Norton

Battle Honours:

Western Front 1917-1918*, Ypres 1917*, Somme 1918*, Lys, Hindenburg Line, Fortress Europe 1940-1944*, Invasion Ports 1940*, Ruhr 1940-1945*, Berlin 1941*, Channel and North Sea 1941-1944, Biscay Ports 1941-1944, German Ports 1941-1945, Baltic 1942-1945, Berlin 1943-1944, France and Germany 1944-1945, Normandy 1944*, Walcheren, South Atlantic 1982, Gulf 1991, Kosovo, Iraq 2003.

(Honours marked with an asterisk, may be emblazoned on the Squadron Standard)

The History of 101 Squadron:

No.101 Squadron formed on 12 July 1917as the Royal Flying Corp’s second specialized night bomber unit equipped withF.E.2bs. It operated in Franceover the Western Front until the Armistice and, following the signing of the Versailles Treaty, wasdisbanded on 31 December 1918. The Squadron reformed on 21 March 1928 at RAFBircham Newton equipped with D.H.9As, Boulton Paul Sidestrands andOverstrands. The Tower on the Squadron’sCrest represents the gun turret fitted to the Squadron’s Overstrands (the firstpowered turretfitted to any RAF aircraft), whilst the Lion symbolizes fighting spirit.

The Squadron started WWII with theBristol Blenheim before being re-equipped with Vickers Wellingtons in May 1941.It participated in Bomber Command’s first “1,000 Bomber” raid, contributing 10aircraft, of which 2 were lost. InSeptember 1942 the Squadron moved to RAF Holme-on-Spalding-Moor as the firstAvro Lancaster Squadron in No 1 Group, before moving to its final wartime base,RAF Ludford Magna. A stone memorial tothe Squadron’s dead, unveiled on the village green in July 1978, permanentlymarks its residency. 101 Squadron flewon more raids than any other bomber Squadron during the bomber campaign andsuffered the highest casualties, losing 1176 aircrew; including a raid onGerman barracks at Mailly-le-Camp in May 1944 costing 101 Squadron 4 Lancastersand 32 aircrew.

Post WWII the Squadron moved to RAFBinbrook and was re-equipped with the Avro Lincoln, before being replaced bythe English Electric Canberra B2 on 25 May 53,making 101 the first RAF jet bomber squadron. After almost three decades of continuous service as a bomber Squadron,101 disbanded on 1 February 1957.

101 Squadron reformed at RAF Finningleyin October 1957, becoming the second RAF unit to be equipped with the Avro Vulcan. It moved to RAF Waddington in 1961 and on 8July 1963 broke the speed record asthree Vulcans from RAF Waddington flew direct to Perth, Australiain just over 18 hours. On 30 April 1982 Flight Lieutenant M Withers and his101 Squadron crew made the longest bombing mission in history with the firstVulcan bombing raid on Port Stanley’s singlerunway. As the last Vulcan bomberSquadron, 101 disbanded for the third time in it’s history on 4 August 1982.

101 Squadron reformed once more on 1May 1984 at RAF Brize Norton, equipped with the Vickers VC10 K2 (and later K3, K4 and C1K variants) tanker aircraft. The Squadron broke it’s own record on 8 April1987 in it’s 70th year by flying non-stop from the UK to Australiain just under 16 hours, refueling twice en route. In January 1991 all 9 of the Squadron’saircraft were deployed to Saudi Arabia flying air-to-air refueling missionsin support of coalition aircraft in Gulf War I. For the next 22 years the Squadron was uniquely almost continuouslyinvolved in operations worldwide, at the same time as providing air-to-airrefueling support for aircraft involved in the air defence of the UK.

On 1 Oct 2013the Squadron re-equipped with the Voyager KC2 and KC3aircraft.

Text size: