'The oldest fixed wing flying squadron in the world’
Three concentric circles over all a Wake Knot - approved by HM King Edward VIII in May 1936. The circles represent the RAF and the Wake Knot is derived from the arms of Hereward the Wake and indicates the basic role of the unit as a guardian of the Army.
- 1912 - Formed at Farnborough.
- 1915 - 2nd Lt Rhodes-Moorhouse was awarded the first air VC.
- 1941 - Became one of the first photo-reconnaissance squadrons.
- 1991 - Took part in the Gulf War.
Current Aircraft and Location:
Current Aircraft: Tornado GR4
Current Station: RAF Marham
Western Front 1914-1918*, Mons, Neuve Chappelle*, Ypres 1915*, Loos, Somme 1916*, Arras, Somme 1918, Lys, France and Low Countries 1939-1940*, Dunkirk*, Fortress Europe 1942-1944, France and Germany 1944-1945, Normandy 1944*, Arnhem*, Walcheren, Rhine, Gulf 1991*, Iraq 2003*.
(Honours marked with an asterisk, may be emblazoned on the Squadron Standard)
History of II(AC) Squadron
Formed at Farnborough on 13 May 1912 as one of the original Squadrons of the RFC, the Squadron quickly gained fame for a number of long distance flights around the UK. At the outbreak of WWI, II(AC) Sqn became the first RFC Squadron to cross the Channel, and concentrated on reconnaissance duties. On 26 Apr 1915, 2nd Lt Rhodes-Moorhouse was awarded the first air VC during a raid on Courtrai. In March 1918 a second VC was awarded to 2nd Lt AA MacLeod when after shooting down 3 Fokker Triplanes his aircraft was damaged and caught fire. MacLeod managed to fly the aircraft whilst standing on the wing, and after crash-landing between allied and enemy lines, dragged his observer from the wreckage.
After the War, the Squadron was based in Ireland on Army co-operation duties during the partition, and then embarked to China during 1927. After returning home the Squadron was based at Manston and re-equipped with Atlas on Army co-operation work. Subsequent types flown include Audax and Hector biplanes and at the start of WWII was flying Lysanders. A brief spell in France as part of the BEF in 1939, II(AC) Sqn returned to England and received Tomahawk fighter aircraft and then Mustangs in April 1942. In July 1944, II(AC) Sqn returned to France with Spitfire Mk.14s and later the Mk.11 photo-recce version as part of the Army of Occupation.
Through the 1950s the Squadron flew Meteors, Swifts and Hunters which remained until replaced by Phantoms in 1971. During 1976 these were replaced Jaguars whilst the Squadron was based at Laarbruch, Germany. Drawdown of the RAF in Germany saw II(AC) Sqn return to the UK. It is now based at Marham and was originally equipped with the reconnaissance version of the Tornado, the GR1A, but now flies the updated GR4A version.
Operational tours have seen the squadron (and its sister, No 13 squadron) concentrating on the unique capabilities of its aircraft in the low-level reconnaissance role, where their equipment is particularly suitable for hunting small, mobile, targets such as Scud missile launchers as was the case in Operation Telic.