RAF Search and Rescue

22 Squadron

XXII Squadron

22 Squadron Crest

Badge:

On a Torteaux, a Maltese Cross throughout, overall a 'pi' fimbriated - approved by King Edward VIII in May 1936. The Greek sign 'pi' denotes the Squadron's service in France with the 7th Wing, the pilots often taking off over the Wing's HQ - hence the 22 over 7, or 'pi'. When the badge was approved, the Squadron was based in Malta, which accounts for the inclusion of the Cross.

Motto:

Preux et audicieux - Valiant and Brave




Key Dates:

  • 1915 - Formed at Fort Grange.
  • 1941 - Flying Officer K Campbell was awarded the VC.
  • 1955 - Reformed as SAR squadron.

Current Aircraft and Location:

Current Aircraft: [link not available]

Current Location: RAF Valley

Battle Honours:

Western Front 1916-1918*, Somme 1916*, Ypres 1917*, Cambrai 1917, Somme 1918, Lys, Amiens, Hindenburg Line*, Channel and North Sea 1939-1941*, France and Low Countries 1940, Invasion Ports 1940, Biscay Ports 1940-1941, Mediterranean 1942*, Eastern Waters 1942-1944*, Burma 1944-1945*.

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

The History of XXII Squadron:

No. 22 Squadron was formed at Fort Grange, Gosport, on 1 September 1915 and departed for France seven months later with twelve FE2B two-seat pusher biplanes. These outdated aircraft were used for a year on reconnaissance tasks before Bristol Fighters arrived to take over these tasks. The Squadron moved to Germany after the War as part of the Army of Occupation and returned to the UK in August 1919 prior to disbanding at the end of the year.

The Squadron was reformed at Martlesham Heath in July 1923, but in name only, as the aircraft it flew belonged to the Aeroplane Experimental Establishment. During the next decade, many new RAF aircraft west tested by the squadron prior to entering service. In 1934, No. 22 Squadron was reformed as a torpedo unit at Donibristle with Vickers Vildebeests. At the start of World War II, the Vildebeests flew anti-submarine patrols over the North Sea until replaced by Beauforts in early 1940. On 6 April 1941, Flying Officer K Campbell led a flight of six aircraft in an attack on the German battlecruiser Gneisenau which was anchored in Brest harbour. Campbell's aircraft was the only one the vessel, and despite the awesome German defences, he managed to press home his attack on the Gneisenau before being shot down. It took months for the full story to emerge, but when it did, Campbell was awarded a well-earned Victoria Cross. In 1942, No. 22 Squadron moved to the Far East, re-equipping with Beaufighters in the process and undertaking anti-shipping rocket attacks. A month after the Japanese surrender, No. 22 Squadron disbanded.

It wasn't until 1955 that the Squadron reformed again, this time as a search and rescue unit equipped with Whirlwinds. It is in this guise that No. 22 Squadron exists today, having flown Wessex helicopters for a number of years before receiving Sea Kings in the mid-1990s.

Although headquartered at RAF Valley, the Squadron maintains three detachments at Chivenor ('A' Flight), Wattisham ('B' Flight) and Valley ('C' Flight).

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