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16 Squadron

Squadron badge

Motto:

Operta aperta - Hidden things are revealed (a reference to the reconnaissance role of the Squadron).

Badge:

Two keys in saltire - approved by King Edward VIII in November 1936. The badge symbolises the time spent on army co-operation duties, the keys indicating the unlocking of the enemy's secrets, the gold key by day, the black key by night.



Key Dates:

1915 - Formed at St Omer.
1944 - Flew reconnaissance missions in preperation for D Day.
2005 - Squadron Disbanded at RAF Coltishall.
2008 - Squadron reformed at RAF Cranwell

Current Aircraft and Location:

Current Aircraft: Tutor M1

Current Location: RAF Cranwell

    Battle Honours:

    Western Front 1915-1918, Neuve Chappelle, Loos, Somme 1916*, Arras*, Ypres 1917*, France and Low Countries 1940, Dunkirk*, Fortress Europe 1943-1944, France and Germany 1944, Normandy 1944*, Arnhem*, Ruhr 1944-1945, Gulf 1991

    Honours marked with an asterisk, are emblazoned on the Squadron Standard.

    History of 16 Squadron:

    No. 16 Squadron was formed from elements of Nos. 2, 5 and 6 Squadrons at St Omer, France, on 10 February 1915. The unit flew more than its fair share of types including Voisins, BE2As, Bs, and Shorthorns, using them to pioneer the use of wireless to report enemy troop movements during the Battle of Abuers Ridge in May 1915. During 1916, the Squadron standardised on the BE2C. During the Battle of Vimy Ridge, the Squadron formed an association with the Canadian Corps that lasted until the Armistice. Along with so many other RAF Squadrons, No. 16 was disbanded in 1919. On 1 April 1924, No. 16 Squadron reformed at Old Sarum, spending the next ten years attached to the School of Army Co-operation flying Bristol Fighters, Atlas' and Audaxes. In May 1938, the Squadron became the first to receive Lysanders, taking them to France at the outbreak of World War II.

    After returning to the UK in May 1940, the Squadron was tasked with anti-invasion coastal patrols until Mustangs arrived in April 1942. These were used in 'Rhubarb' patrols over France and also intercepting enemy fighter-bombers mounting 'hit and run' raids along the South Coast. During the preparations for D-Day, reconnaissance Spitfires replaced the Mustangs, flying both high- and low-level reconnaissance sorties as 2TAF advanced towards Germany.

    In March 1946, after a period of confusion as to whether the Squadron had been disbanded or not, the Squadron inherited No. 56 Squadron's Tempests and moved to Gutersloh. No. 16 Squadron re-equipped with ground-attack Vampires in late 1948 and Venoms in 1954 before disbanding in June 1957. A year later, the Squadron was reformed at Laarbruch and began a 14-year association with Canberras before finally receiving Buccaneers in June 1972. The Buccaneers were replaced by Tornado GR1s in 1984, and, like its sister Squadron, No. XV, found itself disbanded in Germany in October 1991 under 'Options for Change' and its numberplate being assigned to an operational conversion unit, in this case No. 226 OCU at Lossiemouth.

    With the decision taken to run the Jaguar fleet down in anticipation of the arrival of its replacement, the Typhoon, No 16 was disbanded at RAF Coltishall on 11 March 2005.

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