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50 Squadron


Squadron badge


"Sic fidem servamus" ("Thus we keep faith").


A sword in bend severing a mantle palewise. This unit formed at Dover and adopted a mantle being severed by a sword to show its connection with that town, the arms of which include St. Martin and the beggar with whom he divided his cloak. The mantle is also indicative of the protection given to this country by the Royal Air Force.


HM King George VI, March 1940.

History of 50 Squadron:

No. 50 Squadron, RFC, was formed at Dover, Kent, on 15th May 1916, as a Home Defence squadron. The squadron first went into action in August 1916 against a German airship raid and was instrumental in driving one of the airships (the Zeppelin L.ll) out to sea. In a daylight aeroplane raid eleven months later, one of the attacking Gothas was shot down off the North Foreland by a pilot of No. 50 Squadron. At the time of the Armistice No. 50 was based at Bekesbourne and it was there that the unit was eventually disbanded in June 1919.

Re-formed in May 1937, as a bomber squadron, No. 50 was flying Hampdens from Waddington at the outbreak of the Second World War and first dropped bombs in anger in March 1940, when it participated in Bomber Command's first attack on a German land target - the mine-laying seaplane base at Hornum on the island of Sylt. In December 1940, by which time it had attacked many other enemy targets, including Berlin, the squadron took part in the first area-bombing attack on a German industrial centre (Mannheim). A year later, to the month, it took part in the Combined Operation against the German-held Norwegian island of Vaagsõ, its Hampdens - operating from an advanced base in Northern Scotland - dropping smoke bombs to provide a smoke screen for troops and landing craft, and also bombing a gun battery.

In 1942 No. 50 Squadron converted to Manchesters, then to Lancasters, and in October of that year contributed twelve Lancasters to No. 5 Group's celebrated low-Ievel dusk raid on the Schneider works at Le Creusot. In 1943 it took part in the first shuttle-bombing raid (when the targets were a radar factory at Friedrichshafen and the Italian naval base at Spezia), and the epic raid on the German V-weapons experimental establishment at Peenemunde. Among the targets that it attacked in 1944 were the V1 storage sites in the caves at St. Leu d'Esserent in the Loire valley, and the dykes at Flushing on the German-held Dutch island of Walcheren. In December 1944, it took part in a raid on the German Baltic Fleet at Gdynia, and in March 1945, was represented in the bomber force that so pulverised the defences of Wesel just before the crossing of the Rhine that Commandos were able to seize the town with only 36 casualties. In April 1945, came the last of the squadron's operations against the enemy - an attack on an oil refinery at Vallo (Tonsberg) in Norway.

Among the many decorations won by No. 50 Squadron in the Second World War were a Victoria Cross (awarded posthumously to Flying Officer LT Manser, 6 DSOs, 70 DFCs and 114 DFMs.

The Squadron flew Lancasters until they were replaced with Lincolns in 1946 which were flown until the Squadron disbanded on 31 January 1951. No. 50 reformed on 15 August 1952 at Binbrook with Canberras which were flown until disbandment on 1 October 1959. The Squadron was reformed again on 1 August 1961 at Waddington as a V-bomber Squadron equipped with Vulcans. During the Falklands campaign No. 50's Vulcans were converted to flight refuelling duties and the Squadron was disbanded on 31 March 1984.

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