3 Squadron

3 Sqn Badge


On a monolith, a cockatrice - approved by King George VI in September 1937. The cockatrice was chosen because in mythology it was the first creature to fly


Tertius primus erit - The third shall be the first. This is a reference to the fact that No 3 Squadron, RFC, was the first to be equipped with heavier-than-air machines.

Key Dates:

1912 - Formed at Larkhill.

1935 - Deployed to Sudan during the Abyssinian crisis.

1999 - Took part in Operation Allied Force over Kosovo.

2006 - Third RAF and first Front-line Squadron to be equipped with Eurofighter Typhoon.

Current Aircraft and Location:

Current Aircraft: Typhoon

Current Location: RAF Coningsby

Battle Honours:

Western Front 1914-1918*, Mons*, Neuve Chapelle, Loos, Somme 1916, Cambrai 1917, Somme 1918*, Hindenburg Line, France and Low Countries 1940*, Battle of Britain 1940*, Home Defence 1940-1945, Fortress Europe 1942-1944, Channel and North Sea 1943-1945, Normandy 1944*, Arnhem*, Rhine, France and Germany 1944-1945*, Iraq 2003*.

(Honours marked with an asterisk, may be emblazoned on the Squadron Standard)

The History of 3(F) Squadron:

No. 3 Squadron was one of the three founder squadrons of the Royal Flying Corps Squadrons formed on 13 May, 1912. The Squadron took over the aircraft of No. 2 (Aeroplane) Company at Larkhill. It deployed to France as part of the BEF in August 1914 on reconnaissance duties duties. Late in 1917, Sopwith Camels were received and the Squadron became a fighter/scout unit. After the Armistice in 1918, the Squadron disbanded and through the 1920s spent many short-lived periods at a variety of locations before arriving at Upavon in 1924 with Sopwith Snipes. During their ten-year stay, the Squadron flew Woodcocks, Gamecocks and Bulldogs and also deployed to Sudan during the Abyssinian crisis in 1935. Upon its return, No 3 Squadron introduced the Gladiator into RAF service and just as the Second World War started received Hurricanes at Biggin Hill.

A brief stint as part of the BEF in France was followed by relocation to Scotland on night-patrol duties. During 1943, the Squadron replaced the Hurricanes with Hawker Typhoons and switched to the anti-shipping and intruder roles. A switch to Tempests in 1944 saw No 3 Squadron destroy 288 V1 flying bombs, and move on to the Continent as part of the advance towards Germany. The Squadron remained in Germany, converting to Vampires in 1948, Sabres in 1953 and the Hunter in 1956. A short time with Javelin fighters was followed by a long period of Canberra flying, before the Squadron received Harriers in the early 1970s. In 1977 the unit moved to Gutersloh near the old East German border, before relocating to Laarbruch with Harrier GR7s. Following the decision to close Laarbruch, No. 3 Squadron returned to the UK in the Spring of 1999, arriving at RAF Cottesmore in Rutland. Subsequently, No 3 Squadron - along with its sister RAF Harrier and Royal Navy Sea Harrier units - combined to form Joint Force Harrier and undertook a number of deployments on board aircraft carriers including an operational tour to Sierra Leone as part of Operation Basilica. Elements of No 3 Squadron were also involved in Operation Telic.

On the 31 March 2006 the Squadron moved to RAF Coningsby to become the third RAF and first front-line RAF Squadron to be equipped with the Eurofighter Typhoon.

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