XV(R) Squadron

XV(R) Sqn History

Number XV Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, was formed at South Farnborough on 1 March 1915; by 25 March the Squadron had moved to its first operational station, Hounslow. This was to be the first of many moves in the Squadron history. The Squadron initially had a mix of 6 different aircraft types with which to train its aircrew before deployment overseas to France, at the end of the year. The Squadron flew many missions equipped with the BE 2c bi-plane until well into 1917, when it was re-equipped with the RE8. Throughout WW1, XV Squadron resided in France taking part in many battles, notably that of the Somme. After the war the Squadron was disbanded and later reformed in 1924. Eventually, in 1934 it became XV Day Bombing Squadron based at Abingdon, with the Hawker Hart. At the start of World War II, XV Squadron deployed to France, but within months re-deployed to the UK. From December 1939 to January 1942 the Squadron flew from Wyton with Bristol Blenheims, followed by Vickers Wellingtons and eventually Shorts Stirlings.

It was in December 1941 that XV Squadron received the Stirling LS F, donated by Lady MacRobert, in memory of her 3 sons who were all killed in flying accidents; two were killed in action with the RAF in 1941. The bomber was to be known as "MacRoberts Reply" and since that day every aircraft designated "F" has borne that inscription.

By the end of 1943, XV Squadron had re-equipped with the Avro Lancaster. The aircraft that was to see out the last two years of the war.

The late forties and early fifties saw two more changes in aircraft type, three years with the Avro Lincoln and three years with the Washington B1. In 1953 XV Squadron moved into the "jet age" with the English Electric Canberra but again only for a short time until it disbanded at RAF Honington in 1957.

XV Squadron reformed on 1st September 1958 at RAF Cottesmore with the Victor B1 remaining there for 6 years before yet again disbanding.

The Squadron reformed in 1970 at RAF Honington with the Blackburn Buccaneer S2B and after three months moved to RAF Laarbruch in Germany, remaining there until 1991.

The Squadron converted to the Panavia Tornado GR1 in 1983 becoming the first operational Tornado Squadron in Germany. XV Squadrons involvement in what became known as "Operation Desert Storm" began in 1990 when it deployed to Muharraq, Bahrain. It carried out one of the first allied offensive operations of the war, attacking an airfield in Iraq on 17 January 1991.

In the six weeks of operations, XV Squadron flew over 200 sorties against some 30 different targets delivering in excess of eight hundred 1000 lb bombs and 30 JP233 airfield denial weapons. Two aircraft were lost due to enemy action.

After the Gulf War, three squadrons at RAF Laarbruch were disbanded; XV Squadron being one of these at the end of 1991. On 1st April 1992, the XV(Reserve) nameplate was given to the Tornado Weapons Conversion Unit at RAF Honington. XV (R) Squadron remained at RAF Honington, training Tornado aircrew, until 1 November 1993 when it moved to RAF Lossiemouth, it's present home.

During 2001 XV (R) Squadron has been taking delivery of the GR1 mid-life update, the Tornado GR4. By mid-2002 the Squadron will have completed the changeover with all aircraft having been upgraded to GR4.

With the closure of the Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment at RAF Cottesmore on 31 March 1999 the sole responsibility for the training of all future RAF Tornado GR Pilots and Navigators now lies with XV (R) Squadron.

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