RAF Banner with Crest.

85 Squadron


Squadron badge


Noctu diuque vanamur - 'We hunt by day and night'


On an ogress, a hexagon voided. The hexagon was No 85's World War One identity insignia and the ogress signifies the night.

History of 85 Squadron:

No. 85 Squadron was formed at Upavon on 1 August 1917 and after a period of training moved to France in May 1918. Equipped with SE5As, it flew fighter patrols and ground attack sorties over the Western Front until the Armistice. Returning to the UK in February 1919, the squadron disbanded on 3 July 1919.

On 1 June 1938, A Flight of No. 87 Squadron was renumbered at Debden and flew Gladiators until re-equipped with Hurricanes in September 1938. On the outbreak of war, the squadron moved to France as part of the Air Component of the BEF. When the German invasion came in May 1940, it gave fighter cover to the Allied armies until its bases were overrun and four remaining aircraft retired to the UK. It re-equipped and resumed operations early in June. After taking part in the first half of the Battle of Britain over southern England, the squadron moved to Yorkshire in September and in October began night fighter patrols. In November it returned south to fly night patrols but the Hurricanes lack of radar gave little chance of success. In January 1941, it began to receive Defiants but these were soon replaced by Havocs, although the Hurricanes continued to be flown until July. Mosquitoes arrived in August 1942 and in March 1943 the Squadron began flying intruder missions over France. Transferred to No. 100 Group on 1 May 1944, No. 85 flew bomber support missions, intruding over German night-fighter airfields and intercepting enemy fighters by accompanying the main bomber force. After the war ended No. 85 continued to operate and in September 1951 converted to Meteor night-fighters which it flew until disbanded on 31 October 1958.

On 30 November 1958, No. 89 Squadron at Stradishall, was renumbered No. 85 and flew Javelins until disbanded on 31 March 1963. The next day the Target Facilities Squadron at West Raynham was renumbered No. 85 Squadron and moved later in the month to Binbrook to provide aircraft for fighter interception training. On 19 December 1975, the Squadron disbanded but was reformed the same day at West Raynham as a Bloodhound missile unit until disbanding on 31 July 1991.

No. 85 Squadron later reformed as 85(R) Squadron, at RAF Church Fenton, teaching Elementary Flying Training in the Grob Tutor. The Squadron disbanded in August 2011.

Text size: