Reaper

39 Squadron

39 Squadron

39 Squadron Crest

Badge:

A winged bomb.

Motto:

"Die noctique" (By day and night) .







Key Dates:

  • 1916 - Formed at Hounslow with a range of fighters in an attempt to defend against German Zeppelin raids on London.
  • 1958 - Started operating Canberra.
  • 2006 - Last Squadron flying Canberra PR9 disbanded.
  • 2007 - Reformed at Creech AFB to operate Predator MQ-9.

  • Current Aircraft and Location:

    Current Aircraft: Predator MQ-9 Reaper

    Current Location: Creech AFB

    Battle Honours:

    • Home Defence, 1916-1918: North West Frontier, 1930-1931:
    • Mohmand, 1933: North West Frontier, 1935-1939:
    • East Africa, 1940: Egypt & Libya, 1940-1943:
    • South East Europe, 1944-45: Iraq 2003:

    The History of 39 Squadron:

    One of the Home Defence squadrons, No 39 was formed at Hounslow on 15 April 1916 and operated detachments at Hainault Farm and Sutton's Farm. In August a detachment was established at North Weald. Operations against Zeppelins and later Gotha bombers continued until November 1918, with no success, initially with BE2s and from September 1917, Bristol F2Bs.

    However, in November 1918 the squadron was sent to France but five days later the Armistice came along and the squadron disbanded on 16 November 1918.

    However, 39 was soon back when No 37 was re-numbered on 1 July 1919 at Biggin Hill but remained a cadre (no aircraft) until February 1923 when DH9As were received at Spittlegate near Grantham. The squadron transferred to India in December 1928 and received Wapitis in February 1929 which were used for patrolling the North-West Frontier. Harts arrived in November 1931 and Blenheims in August 1939, following which the squadron transferred to Singapore. Returning to India in April 1940, it was intended that the squadron should carry on to the Middle East but was diverted to Aden instead. From here it operated against Italian targets in East Africa until November 1940 when it moved to Egypt.

    New equipment arrived in January 1941 in the form of Marylands, which it used for strategic reconnaissance duties until January 1942. Beauforts were also operated in the anti-shipping role from August 1941 and this became its main role following the withdrawal of the Marylands in January 1942. Early in 1942 it kept a detachment in Malta and on 20 August this element amalgamated with similar elements of No's 86 and 217 Squadrons to become 39, whilst the rest of 39 joined No 47 Squadron. Continuing in the torpedo bomber role its Beauforts were replaced by Beaufighters in June 1943.

    With Beaufighter it added night intruder sorties to its list of roles, operating all around the Central Mediterranean area. A move to Italy in July 1944 allowed it to operate over the Balkans as well as the coasts of Italy and French coasts. Marauders began to arrive in December 1944 and it resumed operations in February 1945, but in October it was transferred to the Sudan and re-equipped with Mosquitos, where it disbanded on 8 September 1946. 39 Sqn Marauder Association

    Reformed at Nairobi in Kenya on 1 April 1948 the squadron flew Tempests in the area until disbanding on 28 February 1949. The following day it reformed at Fayid in the Canal Zone as a Mosquito night fighter unit tasked with the defence of the Suez Canal. It received Meteors in March 1953, moving to Malta in January 1955, disbanding at Luqa on 30 June 1958. Another 39 Squadron appeared the next day when No 69 Squadron at Luqa was re-numbered. It operated Canberra PR Mk 3s in the photo-reconnaissance role from Malta until Oct 1962 when PR Mk 9s were received.

    In September 1970 it returned to RAF Wyton where it continued to operate in the same role until disbanding on 1 June 1982. Its final incarnation began on 1 July 1992 when No 1 PRU at Wyton, equipped with Canberra PR Mk 9 aircraft was re-numbered 39, moving to RAF Marham in December 1993, where it also received Canberra PR Mk 7s. The PR 7s were gradually retired as were the PR 9s until the squadron was only operating three of the latter and finally on 28 July 2006, the squadron was disbanded.

    No 39 Sqn was reformed on 1 Jan 07, at Creech AFB, to operate Predator MQ-9 known as REAPER. Additionally, the Sqn provides administrative support to UK personnel operating Predator MQ-1, under the auspices of the Combined Joint Predator Task Force, also from Creech AFB. A new Squadron Standard was presented on 23 January 2008.

    39 Sqn Marauder Association

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