IX (B) Squadron - History
IX (B) Squadron - History
No IX Squadron was formed on 8 December 1914 at St Omer and was equipped with BE2s. It was disbanded the following March and then re-formed on 1 April 1915 at Brooklands under Major Dowding and was equipped with a number of Maurice Farmans, Blériots and BE2s.
On 23 July 1915, the Squadron moved to Dover and was subsequently re-equipped with five BE8a's, some Avro 504s and one Martinsyde Scout.
The Squadron moved to France to St Omer on 12 December 1915 before moving to Bertangles on 24 December 1915.
Bombing was first undertaken on 17 January 1916.
No IX Squadron took part in the Somme offensive of 1916 and the Arras offensive of 1917. It was re-eqipped with RE8’s in the June of 1917 and again with BE2d’s in September 1917 whilst stationed at Morlancourt.
At the time of the Armistice, No IX Squadron moved to Premont until January 1919 and then moved to Ludendorf where it remained until its return to England in August 1919. It remained at Castle Bromwich until it was disbanded on 31 December 1919.
IX (B) Squadron reformed at Upavon on 1 April 1924, equipped with Vickers Vimy night bombers, and then moved to Manston where the hangars could accommodate the aircraft. In January 1925, the Squadron received the first in a long line of Virginia heavy bombers, which were followed by Heyfords in 1936. In February 1939, the Squadron moved to Honington and received Wellingtons, with which it was involved in anti-shipping sorties in the early stages of World War II. In September 1942 the Wellingtons were replaced by the famous Lancaster bomber and IX (B) Squadron, now based at Waddington, took part in Bomber Command's strategic offensive against German targets. During World War II, IX (B) Squadron was also stationed at Bardney, Scampton, Honington, Binbrook, Stradishall, Hemswell and Coningsby and still retains its strong ties to East Anglia and Lincolnshire.
Following the move to Bardney the Squadron specialised in dropping large bombs, in particular the 12,000lb (5,440kg) 'Tallboy' bomb, and Squadron crews took part in the successful mission to sink the German battleship Tirpitz in 1944. In January 1945, during an attack on the Dortmund-Ems canal, the Lancaster of Flying Officer H Denton was hit and caught fire and Flight Sergeant George Thompson was awarded the Victoria Cross for saving the lives of 2 crewmembers. Unfortunately, Flight Sergeant Thompson was badly burned and died in hospital 3 weeks later.
After the War, the Lancasters were replaced by Lincolns until 1952, when the Squadron re-equipped with Canberra jet-bombers. These aircraft were used during three months of operations in Malaya in 1956 and during the Suez Crisis. In March 1962, the Squadron converted to the Vulcan and became part of the V-Force, spending six years in Cyprus as part of the Near East Air Force before disbanding in April 1982.
IX (B) Squadron reformed at Honington in June 1982 as the world's first operational Tornado GR1 squadron, and then moved to Brüggen in Germany in 1986. The Squadron deployed to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia in 1990 and took part in operations during the first Gulf War, with IX (B) Squadron crews leading a number of bombing raids, delivering JP 233 and 1000lb bombs. The Squadron has conducted operations over southern Iraq in support of UN resolutions and saw action over Kosovo in 1999. IX (B) Squadron continued her tradition of firsts by becoming the first operational Tornado GR4 squadron in 1999. On 17 July 2001, the Squadron completed a move from Brüggen to Marham in Norfolk. This move, resulting from the UK’s Strategic Defence Review, has seen Marham become the RAF's largest and most potent operational, front-line base.
The Squadron deployed to Kuwait in February 2003 and was heavily involved in the second Gulf War as part of the Ali-Al Salem Combat Air Wing. The Squadron continued to support on-going operations in the Gulf region, deploying to many bases in the Middle East to execute air ops over Iraq until the cessation of the TGRF’s support to Op TELIC in 2009.
IX (B) Squadron deployed to Op HERRICK in Afghanistan in support of the NATO ISAF mission in early 2010 for three and a half months and flew over 1500 hours in support of ground troops.
IX (B) Squadron’s Commanding Officer is Wing Commander Andy Turk, who took over command in November 2010.