No. 47 Squadron

Number 47 Squadron

No. 47 Squadron Badge

Aircraft: Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules C4/C5

Please note: The Brize Norton Transport Wing Hercules do not carry Squadron markings.

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

Badge: 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.

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 Number 47 Squadron

Number 47 Squadron, Royal Flying Corp, was formed at Beverley, Yorkshire on 1st March 1916, as a Home Defence squadron equipped with Royal Aircraft Factory B. E. (Blériot Experimental) 2, B. E. 12 and Armstrong Whitworth FK (Frederick Koolhoven) 3 aircraft. 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, then 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.

In February 1920, No. 47 Squadron reformed at Helwan in Egypt, this time with DeHavilland DH9As. The following year the unit began 'air policing' duties in the Sudan, and later received Fairey Aviation Company Fairey III F aircraft, fitted with floats, enabling them to operating from 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 Vickers Wellesley aircraft, whith which, it has re-equipped in June 1939. By the beginning of 1942, the Squadron had returned to Egypt and started to work up on Bristol 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 DeHavilland 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 Squadron 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 Blackburn Beverley heavy transports, these soldiering on until the Squadron disbanded, albeit briefly, in 1967.

Having reformed at RAF Fairford, in February 1968, with the then new Lockheed C-130K Hercules aircraft, the unit switched base to RAF Lyneham in 1971. The fleet remained there until, on Friday, 1st July, 2011, when the Squadron, and the last of RAF Lyneham’s Hercules Fleet said a final farewell to the County of Wiltshire as they flew to their new home, here at RAF Brize Norton.

Number 47 Squadron has taken part in many RAF operations, one of the most notable being Operation CORPORATE when its 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 continues to operate the Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules aircraft.

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