47 Squadron

47 Sqn Crest


In front of a fountain, a demoiselle crane's head erased - approved by King George VI in November 1938. The unofficial badge had been a sun rising over a pyramid, but tours in Russia and Sudan inspired the use of a crane (found in both countries) which, when navigating, flies high like a bomber. The fountain commemorates the amphibious role when seaplanes were flown off the Nile.

Lyneham Transport Wing Hercules do not carry Squadron markings


Nili nomen roboris omen - 'The name of the Nile is an omen of our strength'. An earlier unofficial motto was Sans Peur - 'Without fear'.

Key Dates:

1916 - Formed at Beverley.

1948 - Took part in the Berlin Airlift.

1956 - First RAF squadron to receive the Blackburn Beverley.

1982 - Took part in operation Corporate in the Falkland Islands.

Current Aircraft and Location:

Current Aircraft:

Hercules C1/C3 (K)

Hercules C4/C5 (J)

Current Location: RAF Brize Norton

Battle Honours:

Macedonia 1916-1918*, East Africa 1940-1941*, Egypt and Libya 1942*, Mediterranean 1942-1943*, Burma 1945*, South Atlantic 1982, Gulf 1991, Iraq 2003*.

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

History of 47 Squadron:

Number 47 Squadron was formed at Beverley, Yorkshire on 1 March 1916 as a Home Defence squadron equipped with BE2s, BE12s and FK3s. Some six months later, however, the unit was transferred for duty in Salonika with Allied Forces fighting the Bulgarians in Northern Greece. During 1917, the Squadron started to concentrate on bombing and reconnaissance and remained in Greece after the Armistice. In April 1919, the Squadron was dispatched to Southern Russia to help General Denikin's White Russian forces defeat the Bolshevik armies. The Squadron was disbanded in October 1919, when it was absorbed into the Russian Army.

February 1920 saw No 47 Squadron reformed at Helwan in Egypt, this time with DH9As. The following year the unit began 'air policing' duties in the Sudan, and later received Fairey IIIFs fitted with floats for operating off the Nile. The Second World War didn't affect the Squadron until the Italians sided with Germany in June 1940, and the unit began an 11-month bombing campaign in East Africa with its Wellesleys. By the beginning of 1942, the unit had returned to Egypt and started to work up on Beaufighters assigned to 'Armed Rover' patrols over the Eastern Mediterranean. Following another move, this time to India, the Squadron began ground attack missions in Burma, concentrating on Japanese river and rail traffic with Mosquitos.

After the War, the Squadron was sent to Java to assist in restoring peace there, before disbanding briefly during 1946. A month after reforming in Palestine, the Squadron returned to the UK, becoming the first Hastings Squadron during 1948. During the Berlin airlift, No 47 flew over 3,000 sorties in the seven months it was assigned to the operation, mainly transporting coal to the beleaguered city. In March 1956, the Squadron became the first to receive lumbering Beverley heavy transports, these soldiering on until the Squadron disbanded, albeit briefly, in 1967. Reformed at Fairford in February 1968 with the then new Hercules'. The unit switched base to Lyneham in 1971, and has remained there ever since, taking part in many RAF operations, most noteworthy being Operation Corporate when its aircraft carried out the majority of long-range air-drop missions. As with the other RAF Hercules squadrons, No 47 is frequently committed to operations all over the world and contnues to fly the older, first generation Hercules C1 and C3.

On Friday, 1st Jul 11, the last of RAF Lyneham’s Hercules Fleet said a final farewell to the County of Wiltshire as they flew to their new home at RAF Brize Norton.

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