RAF Banner with Crest.

263 Squadron


Squadron badge


Ex ungue leonem - 'By his claws one knows the lion'


A lion rampant, holding in its forepaws a cross. The lion represents the squadron's association with Scotland, the cross comes from the flag of Norway.

History of 263 Squadron:

No 263 Squadron was formed on 27 September 1918, in southern Italy form Nos 359, 435, 436 and 441 Flights at the former RNAS station at Otranto and its sub-station at Santa Maria de Leuca. For the rest of the war, it flew anti-submarine patrols over the Straits of Otranto to prevent U-boats passing into the Mediterranean from the Austro-Hungarian ports on the Adriatic. It was disbanded on 16 May 1919.

On 2 October 1939, No 263 reformed at Filton as a fighter squadron. Equipped with Gladiators, it was sent to Norway in April 1940, in an attempt to give air cover for British and Norwegian forces. Operating from a frozen lake, it had all its aircraft rendered unfit for action within three days and returned to the UK to re-equip. In May, the squadron arrived back in Norway, this time further north and flew patrols until the Allied forces were withdrawn from Narvik. Its aircraft embarked on the carrier 'Glorious', which was sunk en route to the UK by German surface ships.

On 12 June 1940, ground staff began to arrive at Drem to reform the squadron, which was intended to be the first with Whirlwind twin-engined fighters, meanwhile some Hurricanes were received. In November No.263 moved back to south-west England for convoy patrols. In June 1942, the Whirlwinds were fitted as fighter-bombers for attacks on enemy shipping and airfields. In December 1943 the squadron converted to Typhoons, resuming sweeps on 1 February 1944. In July it replaced its bombs with rockets for close-support duties with the invading Allied armies. No.263 moved to France in August 1944 and flew ground attack missions for the rest of the war, disbanding on 30 August 1945.

On 29 August 1945. No.616 Squadron at Acklington was renumbered 263 Squadron which flew Meteors as part of the fiighter defences of the UK until converted to Hunters in 1955. These remained in service with the squadron until it was renumbered 1 Squadron on 1 July 1958. On 1 June 1959, No.263 reformed at Watton as a bloodhound surface to air missile unit, disbanding on 30 June 1963.

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