No. 70 Squadron RAF

Last updated

No. LXX Squadron RAF
70 Squadron RAF.jpg
  • 22 Apr 1916 – 2 Jan 1920
  • 1 Feb 1920 – 31 Mar 1946
  • 15 Apr 1946 – 1 Apr 1947
  • 1 May 1948 – 8 Sep 2010
  • 1 Oct 2014 – present
Country Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
TypeFlying squadron
Role Strategic and tactical air transport
Part of No. 2 Group RAF
Home station RAF Brize Norton
(Latin  for Anywhwere) [1]
Aircraft Airbus A400M Atlas C1
Battle honours * Honours marked with an asterisk may be emblazoned on the Squadron Standard
Wing Commander Lee Roberts
Squadron badge heraldryA demi-wing lion erased. Developed from an unofficial winged lion badge probably derived from the squadron's long dependence on the Napier Lion engine during the 1920s.

No.70 or LXX Squadron RAF provides strategic transport.



World War I

The squadron was formed on 22 April 1916 at Farnborough, and was equipped with the Sopwith 1½ Strutter. The squadron was posted to France, and in 1917 re-equipped with Sopwith Camels. [2]

Sopwith 1½ Strutter military multi-role aircraft

The Sopwith ​1 12 Strutter was a British single- or two-seat multi-role biplane aircraft of the First World War. It was significant as the first British two-seat tractor fighter and the first British aircraft to enter service with a synchronised machine gun. It was given the name ​1 12 Strutter because of the long and short cabane struts that supported the top wing. The type was operated by both British air services and was in widespread but lacklustre service with the French Aéronautique Militaire.

France Republic with majority of territory in Europe and numerous oversea territories around the world

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.02 million. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Sopwith Camel British First World War single-seat biplane fighter

The Sopwith Camel was a British First World War single-seat biplane fighter aircraft introduced on the Western Front in 1917. It was developed by the Sopwith Aviation Company as a successor to the earlier Sopwith Pup and became one of the best known fighter aircraft of the Great War.

A Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter #A1924 of 70th Squadron RAF. Wrecked 20 October 1916 RAF Sopwith 1 1-2 Strutter.jpg
A Sopwith 1½ Strutter #A1924 of 70th Squadron RAF. Wrecked 20 October 1916

During World War I, the squadron claimed 287 victories, and had as members nineteen aces, including Frank Granger Quigley, John Todd, Frank Hobson, Oscar Heron, Frank Gorringe, Walter M. Carlaw, George Robert Howsam, Clive Franklyn Collett, Alfred Michael Koch, Kenneth Bowman Watson, Noel Webb, Edward Gribben, and Frederic Laurence. [3]

Frank Granger Quigley, was a Canadian aviator and flying ace of the First World War, who was credited with 33 aerial victories. He was notable for scoring the majority of his victories against German fighter planes.

Captain Frank Harold Hobson was a British World War I flying ace credited with 15 aerial victories.

Captain Oscar Aloysius Patrick Heron was an Irish World War I flying ace of the British Royal Air Force, credited with thirteen confirmed aerial victories. He later served in the Irish Air Corps, until killed in a flying accident.

Inter-war years

The squadron briefly disbanded in January 1920, reforming nine days later at Heliopolis, Egypt, via the renumbering of No. 58 Squadron. The squadron was now a bomber-transport unit operating the Vickers Vimy bomber. After transferring to Hinaidi, Iraq in December 1921, the squadron was re-equipped with Vickers Vernons and subsequently by Vickers Victoria in 1926. In addition to providing heavy transport facilities to both air and ground units they were used as air ambulances and were responsible for maintaining the Cairo-Baghdad airmail route. [4] The squadron was commanded by Group Captain Eric Murray DSO MC. In 1929, he flew the first route to the Cape on behalf of Imperial Airways who were seeking routes for the civil flights. [5]

Egypt Country spanning North Africa and Southwest Asia

Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country in the northeast corner of Africa, whose territory in the Sinai Peninsula extends beyond the continental boundary with Asia, as traditionally defined. Egypt is bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, Libya to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, across the Red Sea lies Saudi Arabia, and across the Mediterranean lie Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, although none share a land border with Egypt.

No. 58 Squadron was a squadron of the Royal Air Force.

Vickers Vimy bomber aircraft

The Vickers Vimy was a British heavy bomber aircraft developed and manufactured by Vickers Limited. Developed during the latter stages of the First World War to equip the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), the Vimy was designed by Reginald Kirshaw "Rex" Pierson, Vickers' chief designer.

In December 1928, a coup against the Amir of Afghanistan by Habibullah Kalakani supported by Ghilzai peoples led to the first large scale air evacuation, the Kabul Airlift. Over two months Victoria troop-carriers of 70 squadron played central role in the airlift of 586 British and European officials and civilians flying over mountains at a height of up to 10,000 feet (3,000 m) often in severe weather. [6]

The Kabul Airlift was an air evacuation of British and a number of European diplomatic staff and their families conducted by the Royal Air Force from Kabul between December 1928 and February 1929.

The Valentia replaced the Victorias in November 1934. 70 squadron is recorded as being based at RAF Habbaniya from 1937–9 and in August 1939, it returned to Egypt. [7]

Vickers Type 264 Valentia

The Vickers Valentia was a British biplane cargo aircraft built by Vickers for the Royal Air Force. The majority built were conversions of the earlier Vickers Victoria.

World War II

After Italy entered the war the squadron converted to Wellingtons, and began operations over the Western Desert. [7]

Vickers Wellington British twin-engined, long-range medium bomber

The Vickers Wellington is a British twin-engined, long-range medium bomber. It was designed during the mid-1930s at Brooklands in Weybridge, Surrey. Led by Vickers-Armstrongs' chief designer Rex Pierson; a key feature of the aircraft is its geodetic airframe fuselage structure, which was principally designed by Barnes Wallis. Development had been started in response to Air Ministry Specification B.9/32, which was issued in the middle of 1932. This specification called for a twin-engined day bomber capable of delivering higher performance than any previous design. Other aircraft developed to the same specification include the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley and the Handley Page Hampden. During the development process, performance requirements such as for the tare weight changed substantially, and the engine used was not the one originally intended.

In 1940 A detachment was sent to Tatoi, in support of Allied forces defending Greece and in 1941 the squadron was involved in the campaign to conquer Vichy-occupied Syria and the Rashid Ali rebellion in Iraq. [8]

70 Squadron relocated frequently in support of the 8th Army's westward advance, first into Libya then Tunisia. In November 1943 it relocated to Djedeida 20 miles west of Tunis putting industrial targets in the North of Italy, within easy reach. Between December 1943 and October 1945 the squadron relocated to Foggia, Italy where the Wellington's were replaced by the long range Liberators. [8]

Post World War II

Armstrong Whitworth Argosy C.1 of 70 Squadron RAF named Horatius in 1971 AW.660 Argosy C.1 XN847 70 Sq SHAW 09.08.71 edited-3.jpg
Armstrong Whitworth Argosy C.1 of 70 Squadron RAF named Horatius in 1971

The squadron disbanded in April 1947 and was reformed in May 1948, at Kabrit, Egypt when No. 215 Squadron was renumbered No. 70 Squadron. The squadron was equipped with Dakotas until 1950, when it re-equipped with Valettas. In 1955, the squadron moved to RAF Nicosia, Cyprus and re-equipped with the Hastings, Vickers Valetta and later used the Pembroke twin engined communication aircraft. In 1966 the squadron moved to RAF Akrotiri. While there they won the Lord Trophy at RAF El Adem in competition with five other medium range transport squadrons. After a brief period operating Armstrong Whitworth Argosy C.1s, the squadron began conversion to the Hercules in 1970, and moved to RAF Lyneham in 1975, after 55 years overseas. After 35 years of operating the Hercules C1/C3 from Lyneham, the squadron disbanded in September 2010. [9]

The squadron reformed on 1 October 2014 and was officially "stood up" on 24 July 2015 by presentation with a new standard by Princess Anne [10] becoming the Royal Air Force's first frontline A400M squadron. [11]

Aircraft operated


1916–1917 Sopwith 1½ Strutter Single-engined biplane fighter
1917–1919 Sopwith Camel Single-engined biplane fighter
1919 Sopwith Snipe Single-engined biplane fighter
1920 Handley Page 0/400 Twin-engined biplane bomber
1920–1922 Vickers Vimy Twin-engined biplane bomber
1922–1926 Vickers Vernon Twin-engined biplane transport
Vickers Victoria I
Twin-engined biplane transport
1935–1940 Vickers Valentia Twin-engined biplane transport
Vickers Wellington III
Twin-engined medium bomber
1945–1946 Consolidated Liberator VIFour-engined bomber
1946–1947 Avro Lancaster B1(FE)Four-engined bomber
1948–1950 Douglas Dakota Twin-engined transport
1950–1956 Vickers Valetta C1Twin-engined transport
1956–1968 Handley Page Hastings C1 and C2Four-engined transport
1967–1975 Armstrong Whitworth Argosy C1Four-engined transport
1970–1980 Lockheed Hercules C1Four-engined transport
1980–2010Lockeed HerculesC3Four-engined transport
2014–present Airbus A400M Atlas C1Four-engined transport

See also

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  1. Pine, L.G. (1983). A dictionary of mottoes (1 ed.). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 243. ISBN   0-7100-9339-X.
  2. Bruce 1965, p. 6
  3. "70 Squadron". The Aerodrome. 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  4. Keith, Claude Hilton (1937). The Flying Years. Page John Hamilton Limited.
  5. Sprigg, T. Stanhope; Sedorski, M. Glen (1933). "1933 Who's Who in British Aviation". London: Airways Publications.
  6. 80th anniversary of RAF`s evacuation of Kabul Archived 26 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  7. 1 2 "No. 70 Squadron". RAF Museum. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  8. 1 2 "No. 70 Squadron (RAF) during the Second World War". 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  9. "LXX Squadron Stand Down". Royal Air Force. 10 September 2010. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  10. "LXX Squadron Stand-Up". Royal Air Force. 24 July 2015. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  11. Patton, Stu (Summer 2017). Hunter, Chris (ed.). "Deterrence at Distance: Air Power and Conventional Deterrence in the Emerging Global Environment". Air Power Review. Shrivenham: Royal Air Force. 20 (2): 156. ISSN   1463-6298.
  12. Jefford (1988), p.46