55 Squadron

55(R) Sqn Crest


A cubit arm, the arm grasping a spear - approved by King Edward VIII in May 1936. The badge was developed from remarks made by Wing Commander PFM Fellowes, the Commander of 'Q' Force, while en-route to Constantinople in 1920. He referred to No 55 Squadron as the 'spearpoint' of the force and its aircraft as the 'haft of the spear'


Nil nos tremefacit - 'Nothing shakes us'

Key Dates:

1916 - Formed at Castle Bromwich.
1940 - Spent the duration of WWII in the Mediterranean region.
1982 -Took part in operation Corporate providing AAR for the Falklands Campaign.
1991 -Took part in operation Granby in Iraq.

Current Aircraft and Location:

Current Aircraft:

Current Location: RAF Cranwell

Battle Honours:

Western Front 1917-1918*, Arras, Ypres 1917*, Independent Force and Germany 1918*, Iraq 1920, Kurdistan 1922-1924, Iraq 1928-1929, Kurdistan 1930-1931, Northern Kurdistan 1932, Egypt and Libya 1940-1943*, El Alamein*, El Hamma*, North Africa 1943, Sicily 1943, Salerno, Italy 1943-1945, Gustav Line, Gothic Line*, South Atlantic 1982, Gulf 1991.

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

Hisotry of 55(R) Squadron:

Number 55 Squadron formed at Castle Bromwich on 27 April 1916, initially as a training unit equipped with FK8s and the ubiquitous Avro 504. This changed in January 1917 when the Squadron received DH4 bombers and was mobilised for active service on the Western Front. The move was completed two months later, and the unit quickly took up bombing and reconnaissance duties later joining Trenchard's Independent Force for strategic bombing raids over Germany and continuing its bombing role until after the Armistice. Two months later, in January 1919, the unit returned to the UK and disbanded the following year.

On 1 February 1920, the unit was reformed at Suez with the renumbering of No 142 Squadron, and the unit embarked its DH9s on board HMS Ark Royal for transport to Turkey as part of 'Q' Force, assisting the Army in the defence of Constantinople and the Dardenelles. Two months later in August, the Squadron took up 'air policing' duties in Iraq, a task that was to last for the next 19 years. Wapitis (1930) and Vincents (1937) subsequently replaced the DH9s and the Squadron's first monoplane, the Blenheim, arrived in March 1939. Between September 1939 and June 1940, the Squadron patrolled the Suez region until Italy joined the War and bombing raids over Libya began. In March 1942, Baltimores replaced the Blenheims, and the unit supported the Eighth Army as it advanced through the Eastern Desert and into Italy. After re-equipping with Bostons in October 1944, No 55 remained in Italy, transferring to Hassani, Greece in September 1945 and receiving Mosquitos.

The Squadron was disbanded in November 1946 and remained absent from the RAF's Order of Battle until 1 September 1960, when it reformed at Honington with Victors as part of Bomber Command's famous 'V' Force. May 1965 saw No 55 begin air-to-air refuelling duties, a role it continued until the retirement of the very last Victors in 1993. During this time, the Squadron took part in Operation Corporate, alongside its fellow Victor squadron, No 57, providing tanker aircraft for many aircraft involved in the Operation, particularly the 'Black Buck' Vulcan bombing raids on Stanley Airfield. With the end of the Victors, No 55 was disbanded, its numberplate briefly transferring to the VC10 OCU before being re-allocated to the Dominies of No 3 FTS, Cranwell in November 1996.

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