|No. 223 Squadron RAF|
Official badge of No. 223 Squadron RAF
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
|Role||Bomber squadron/Operational training unit|
|Motto(s)||Latin: Alæ defendunt Africam|
("Wings defend Africa")
What later became 223 Squadron was formed as B Flight (soon known as "B Squadron") of the RNAS operating from Mytilene on the island of Lesbos as a general duties unit. It was equipped with a mixture of aircraft types including the Sopwith 1½ Strutter and Airco DH.4. On 1 April 1918, the RNAS was merged with the Royal Flying Corps to produce the RAF, with B Squadron becoming No. 223 Squadron. It continued operations over the Aegean Sea, flying both reconnaissance and bombing missions from various bases until the end of World War I, disbanding at Mudros on the island of Lemnos on 16 May 1919.
The squadron reformed at Nairobi in Kenya on 15 December 1936 as a day bomber squadron when "B" Flight of 45 Squadron, equipped with the Fairey Gordon, was renumbered. It re-equipped with the Vickers Vincent in February 1937. Vickers Wellesley monoplanes followed in June 1938, and these still remained in service when Italy entered World War II. The squadron, based at Summit in Sudan, flew bombing missions against Italian forces in the East African Campaign over Italian East Africa. In August 1940, the squadron moved to Perim Island, near Aden to support operations in Italian Somaliland.
In April 1941, it handed its Wellesleys to 47 Squadron and moved to Egypt, becoming an Operational Training Unit (OTU), converting aircrews onto the Bristol Blenheim, Douglas Boston, Martin Maryland and later Martin Baltimore twin-engined bombers. From October 1941, a Maryland-equipped detachment of the squadron was deployed on long-range strategic reconnaissance duties, while the rest of the squadron continued as an OTU. In May 1942, the squadron returned to operational light bomber duties, equipped with the new Baltimore bomber, supporting the British Eighth Army over North Africa. It flew its first operation with the Baltimore on 23 May 1942, when four unescorted Baltimores were sent to bomb a German-held airfield. They were attacked by German fighters, with two bombers shot down and the other two, badly damaged, crash-landing at their base. Following this mission, unescorted bombing missions were abandoned, and the aircraft's American .30 inch Browning machine guns, which had jammed during the engagement, were replaced by guns firing British .303 inch ammunition. It moved to Malta in July 1943, participating in the Allied invasion of Sicily and the Italian Campaign, being based in Italy from September 1943. It was disbanded on 12 August 1944, being renumbered No. 30 Squadron, South African Air Force.
It was quickly reformed back in England on 23 August as a Bomber Support squadron as part of 100 Group of RAF Bomber Command, flying Liberator and Fortress four-engined bombers on radio counter measures missions, helping to disrupt German night defences by jamming its radar and communications. It was disbanded again on 29 July 1945.
The squadron was again reformed on 1 December 1959 as a Strategic Missile squadron equipped with the Thor Intermediate range ballistic missile at RAF Folkingham in Lincolnshire. The squadron was disbanded on 23 August 1963, with the termination of the Thor Program in Britain.
30 Squadron SAAF was a squadron of the South African Air Force. It was established in 1944 and saw service as a medium bomber squadron in Italy during the Second World War. After the war, the squadron was disbanded and was resurrected in 1980 as a medium transport helicopter squadron - a role it retained until it was finally disbanded in 1991.Consolidated B-24 Liberator
The Consolidated B-24 Liberator is an American heavy bomber, designed by Consolidated Aircraft of San Diego, California. It was known within the company as the Model 32, and some initial production aircraft were laid down as export models designated as various LB-30s, in the Land Bomber design category.
At its inception, the B-24 was a modern design featuring a highly efficient shoulder-mounted, high aspect ratio Davis wing. The wing gave the Liberator a high cruise speed, long range and the ability to carry a heavy bomb load. Early RAF Liberators were the first aircraft to cross the Atlantic Ocean as a matter of routine. In comparison with its contemporaries, the B-24 was relatively difficult to fly and had poor low-speed performance; it also had a lower ceiling and was less robust than the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. While aircrews tended to prefer the B-17, General Staff favored the B-24 and procured it in huge numbers for a wide variety of roles. At approximately 18,500 units – including over 4,600 manufactured by Ford Motor Company – it holds records as the world's most produced bomber, heavy bomber, multi-engine aircraft, and American military aircraft in history.
The B-24 was used extensively in World War II. It served in every branch of the American armed forces as well as several Allied air forces and navies. It saw use in every theater of operations. Along with the B-17, the B-24 was the mainstay of the US strategic bombing campaign in the Western European theater. Due to its range, it proved useful in bombing operations in the Pacific, including the bombing of Japan. Long-range anti-submarine Liberators played an instrumental role in closing the Mid-Atlantic gap in the Battle of the Atlantic. The C-87 transport derivative served as a longer range, higher capacity counterpart to the Douglas C-47 Skytrain.
By the end of World War II, the technological breakthroughs of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress and other modern types had surpassed the bombers that served from the start of the war. The B-24 was rapidly phased out of U.S. service, although the PB4Y-2 Privateer maritime patrol derivative carried on in service with the U.S. Navy in the Korean War.Derrick Bailey
Sir Derrick Thomas Louis Bailey, 3rd Baronet, DFC (15 August 1918 – 19 June 2009) was the son of the South African entrepreneur Sir Abe Bailey and of the pioneer aviator Dame Mary Bailey, and won fame for himself as a decorated Second World War pilot, a cricketer and a businessman. Inheriting his father's baronetcy in 1946 from his elder half-brother, he was known for the last 63 years of his life as Sir Derrick Bailey.Desert Air Force
The Desert Air Force (DAF), also known chronologically as Air Headquarters Western Desert, Air Headquarters Libya, the Western Desert Air Force, and the First Tactical Air Force (1TAF), was an Allied tactical air force created from No. 204 Group under RAF Middle East Command in North Africa in 1941 to provide close air support to the British Eighth Army against Axis forces. Throughout World War II, the DAF was made up of squadrons from the Royal Air Force (RAF), the South African Air Force (SAAF), the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) and other Allied air forces.
In October 1941, the Western Desert Air Forces had 16 squadrons of aircraft (nine fighter, six medium bomber and one tactical reconnaissance) and fielded approximately 1,000 combat aircraft by late 1941. By the time of the Second Battle of El Alamein, the DAF fielded 29 squadrons (including nine South African and three USAAF units) flying Boston, Baltimore and Mitchell medium bombers and Hurricane, Kittyhawk, Tomahawk, Warhawk and Spitfire fighters and fighter-bombers. There were over 1,500 combat aircraft, more than double the number of aircraft the Axis could field.Fairey Gordon
The Fairey Gordon was a British light bomber (2-seat day bomber) and utility aircraft of the 1930s.
The Gordon was a conventional two-bay fabric-covered metal biplane. It was powered by 525–605 horsepower (391–451 kW) variants of the Armstrong Siddeley Panther IIa engine. Armament was one fixed, forward-firing .303-inch (7.7 mm) Vickers machine gun and a .303-inch (7.7 mm) Lewis Gun in the rear cockpit, plus 500 pounds (230 kg) of bombs. The aircraft was somewhat basic; instruments were airspeed indicator, altimeter, oil pressure gauge, tachometer, turn and bank indicator and compass.Hippolyte De La Rue
Air Commodore Hippolyte Ferdinand (Frank) De La Rue, CBE, DFC (13 March 1891 – 18 May 1977) was a senior commander in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Joining the Mercantile Marine as a youth, he became a pilot in Britain's Royal Naval Air Service during World War I. In 1918, he was given command of No. 223 Squadron in the newly formed Royal Air Force. The following year he took charge of No. 270 Squadron RAF in Egypt. Returning to Australia, De La Rue joined the short-lived Australian Air Corps in 1920, and became a founding member of the RAAF in March 1921. Specialising in maritime aviation, he led seaplane formations based at Point Cook, Victoria, during the 1920s and early 1930s.
De La Rue was appointed commanding officer of No. 1 Flying Training School at Point Cook in 1933. He was promoted to group captain in 1937 and took command of RAAF Station Richmond, New South Wales, the following year. At the outbreak of World War II, De La Rue was slated to lead an air expeditionary force to Great Britain, but this plan was abandoned after Australia committed itself to the Empire Air Training Scheme. Promoted to temporary air commodore, he served as Air Officer Commanding Western Area from 1941 to 1943, and finished the war as Inspector of Administration at RAAF Headquarters, Melbourne. Nicknamed "Kanga", De La Rue retired from the Air Force in 1946, and died in 1977 at the age of eighty-six.History of the South African Air Force
The History of the South African Air Force spans the First World War, Rand Rebellion of 1922, the Second World War, the Korean War, the South African Border War, and varied peacekeeping operations since 1994. Its battle honours include German South West Africa 1914–15, German East Africa 1915–1918, East Africa: 1939–1941, Middle East: 1941–43, Madagascar 1942, Italy 1943–1945, the Balkans 1943–1945, and Korea 1950–1953.List of Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress operators
This list of Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress operators is a list of users who flew and operated the Boeing B-17.
The B-17 was among the first mass-produced four-engined heavy bombers. A total of more than 12,000 were made, making its use as a heavy bomber second only to the B-24 Liberator. Though used at some point in all theatres of World War II, it was most common in the European Theatre, where its lack of range and smaller bombload relative to other heavy bombers was not so detrimental as it was in the Pacific, where most American military airbases were thousands of miles apart.List of Royal Air Force aircraft squadrons
Squadrons are the main form of flying unit of the Royal Air Force (RAF). These include Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) squadrons incorporated into the RAF when it was formed on 1 April 1918, during the First World War. Other squadrons of the RAF include those from Commonwealth air forces which have served within the RAF structure and squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm before it transferred to the Royal Navy in 1939.
Some squadrons have an individual tradition of presenting their squadron number in Roman numerals or using a suffix to their squadron number (such as "(F)" for "Fighter", "(B)" for "Bomber" or "(AC)" for "Army Co-operation") to indicate a past or present role. An example would be No. 18 (Bomber) Squadron RAF which currently actually operates the heavy-lift Chinook helicopter. However, these practices have, at least in the past, been deprecated at higher levels and generally only apply to certain squadrons with long traditions, especially those numbered from 1-20. Historical Squadrons can choose to 'lay up' their standards at RAF Cranwell or in places of worship following disbandment.
Flying training units and operational evaluation squadrons have generally been (Reserve) squadrons, although they are regular active-duty units. The policy of the (Reserve) numberplate was rescinded in February 2018, to coincide with the renaming of 22 (Training) Group to just 22 Group in line with other RAF Groups.
Some Squadron names include the location they were originally formed.Martin Baltimore
The Martin 187 Baltimore was a twin-engined light attack bomber built by the Glenn L. Martin Company in the United States, originally ordered by the French in May 1940 as a follow-up to the earlier Martin Maryland, then in service in France. With the fall of France, the production series was diverted to Great Britain and it was subsequently used almost exclusively in the Mediterranean and Middle East theatre of World War II.
Development of the Baltimore was hindered by a series of problems, although the type eventually became a versatile combat aircraft. Produced in large numbers, the Baltimore was not used operationally by United States armed forces but eventually served with the British, Canadian, Australian, South African, Hellenic and the Italian air forces.Martin Maryland
The Martin Model 167 was an American-designed light bomber that first flew in 1939. It saw action in World War II with France and the United Kingdom, where they later named it the Maryland.No. 3 (S.A.) Wing
No. 3 (S.A.) Wing was a South African Air Force commanded formation during World War II that served in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. It was formed on 28 August 1941 and initially consisted of Royal Air Force and South African Air Force squadrons under South African command, known as No. 261 Medium Bomber Wing but became a fully fledged South African formation on 23 September 1942 when No. 55 Squadron RAF and No. 223 Squadron RAF were transferred from 3 (S.A.) Wing to No. 232 Wing RAF and it became known as No. 3 (South Africa) Wing. This left 12, 21 and 24 Squadrons SAAF as its assigned units.Project Emily
Project Emily was the deployment of American-built Thor intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) in the United Kingdom between 1959 and 1963. Royal Air Force (RAF) Bomber Command operated 60 Thor missiles, dispersed to 20 RAF air stations, as part of the British nuclear deterrent.
Due to concerns over the buildup of Soviet missiles, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower met Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in Bermuda in March 1957 to explore the possibility of short-term deployment of IRBMs in the United Kingdom until the long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) were deployed. The October 1957 Sputnik crisis caused this plan to be expedited. The first Thor missile arrived in the UK on a Douglas C-124 Globemaster II transport aircraft in August 1958, and was delivered to the RAF in September.
RAF crews periodically visited the United States for training, culminating in 21 operational training launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base. During the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, 59 of the missiles, with their W49 1.44-megaton-of-TNT (6.0 PJ) thermonuclear warheads, were brought to operational readiness. The Thor missile force was disbanded in 1963, and the missiles were returned to the United States, where most were expended in military space shots.RAF Habbaniya
Royal Air Force Station Habbaniya, more commonly known as RAF Habbaniya, (originally RAF Dhibban), was a Royal Air Force station at Habbaniyah, about 55 miles (89 km) west of Baghdad in modern-day Iraq, on the banks of the Euphrates near Lake Habbaniyah. It was operational from October 1936 until 31 May 1959 when the British were finally withdrawn following the July 1958 Revolution. It was the scene of fierce fighting in May 1941 when it was besieged by the Iraqi Military following the 1941 Iraqi coup d'état.
It is currently a major Iraqi military airbase.South African Air Force
The South African Air Force (SAAF) is the air force of South Africa, with its headquarters in Pretoria. The South African Air Force was established on 1 February 1920. The Air Force has seen service in World War II and the Korean War. From 1966 the SAAF was involved in providing infantry support in a low intensity war ("The Border War") in Angola, South-West Africa (Namibia) and Rhodesia. As the war progressed, the intensity of air operations increased until in the late 1980s, the SAAF were compelled to fly fighter missions against Angolan aircraft in order to maintain tactical air superiority. On conclusion of the Border War in 1990, aircraft numbers were severely reduced due to economic pressures as well as the cessation of hostilities with neighbouring states. Today the SAAF has a limited air combat capability and has been structured towards regional peace-keeping, disaster relief and maritime patrol operations. During the apartheid era, it was known by its Afrikaans name of Suid-Afrikaanse Lugmag (SALM, lit. "South African Air Force"), a moniker which has since been depreciated.Vickers Vildebeest
The Vickers Vildebeest and the similar Vickers Vincent were two very large two- to three-seat single-engined British biplanes designed and built by Vickers and used as light bombers, torpedo bombers and in army cooperation roles. First flown in 1928, it remained in service at the start of the Second World War, with the last Vildebeests flying against Japanese forces over Singapore and Java in 1942.Vickers Wellesley
The Vickers Wellesley was a British 1930s medium bomber built by Vickers-Armstrongs at Brooklands near Weybridge, Surrey, for the Royal Air Force. While it was obsolete by the start of the Second World War and unsuited to the European air war, the Wellesley was operated in the desert theatres of East Africa, Egypt and the Middle East. It was one of two planes named after Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, the other being the Vickers Wellington.
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