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  101 Squadron Royal Air Force
Mens agitat molem - 'Mind over matter'

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619 Sqn
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626 Sqn
627 Sqn
630 Sqn

Heavy Conversion Units
1654 HCU
1656 HCU
1660 HCU
1661 HCU
1662 HCU
1665 HCU
1667 HCU
1668 HCU
21 HGCU

Advanced Flying Schools
201 AFS

Advanced Flying Units
12 AFU
15 AFU

Flying Training Schools
1 FTS
2 FTS
3 FTS
6 FTS
7 FTS
12 FTS
1 Lancaster Finishing School
Central Flying School

Operational Training/
Conversion Units
(Fighter)
6 OTU
53 OTU

56 OTU

(Bomber)
228 OCU
230 OCU

Air Armament Schools
1 AAS
2 AAS
Empire Central AS

Other schools
1 Gp Aircrew School
1 Ground Defence School
1 Air Observers School
Central Gunnery School
5 Gp Anti Air School

Other units
Bomber Command
Coastal Command
Fighter Command
HQ No 5 Group
HQ No 23 Group
1485 Gunnery Flight
2782 Defence Sqn
178 Support Unit
399 Signals Unit
Nationality based Sqns

Updated: 6 Nov 13

Formed: 12 Jul 1917, South Farnborough

Disbanded: Dec 1919

Reformed: Mar 1928, Bircham Newton

Disbanded: 1 Feb 1957

Reformed: 15 Oct 1957, RAF Finningley

Disbanded: Aug 1982

Reformed: May 1984

Squadron was based at:

Farnborough :: Jul 1917 -

RAF Filton :: >Nov 1918 - Dec 1919

RAF Bircham Newton :: Mar 1928 - 1930

RAF Andover :: 1930 - Dec 1934

RAF Bicester :: Dec 1934

RAF West Raynham :: 1939

RAF Holme-on-Spalding :: ?? - 15 Jun 1943

RAF Ludford Magna :: 15 Jun 1943 - 1 Oct 1945

RAF Binbrook :: 1 Oct 1945 - 1 Feb 1957

RAF Finningley :: Oct 1957 - 1961

RAF Waddington :: 1961 - 1982

RAF Brize Norton :: 1984 -

Squadron code: SR, MW

Aircaft operated:

FE2b :: Jul 1917 - Dec 1919

DH9A :: Mar 1928 - <1930

Sidestrand :: <1930 - 1935

Overstrand :: 1935 - 1939

Blenheim MkIV :: 1939 - 1942

Wellington MkIII :: 1942 - mid-1942

Lancaster Mk I, Mk III :: Mid-1942 - 1945

Lincoln :: 1945 -

Washington B MkI ::

Canberra B2 :: Jun 1951 - Feb 1957

Vulcan B1A, B2 :: Oct 1957 - 1968

Vulcan B2 :: 1968 - 1982

VC-10 K3/K4:: May 1984 -

101 Squadron formed on 12 Jul 1917 at South Farnborough and was immediately deployed to France, equipped with FE2 as the RFC's second specialised night bomber role sqn. Its principal targets were communications and aerodromes in Northern France and Belgium. Occasional deception strafing was conducted to cover the noise of armour and troops massing for offensives. The Sqn was reduced to cadre strength in Mar 1919 and disbanded in Dec 1919.

In Mar 1928 101 Sqn reformed at Bircham Newton with Sidestrand in a day-bomber role, re-equipping to Overstrand in 1935. The first aircraft to have power-operated movable gun turrets, they are commemorated in the Squadron crest where a lion, representing the Squadron’s fighting spirit, is seen emerging from a castellated turret; the motto ‘Mens Agitat Molem’ means ‘Mind Over Matter’.

In 1939 it re-equipped to Blenheim IV, becoming part of Bomber Command's medium-bomber force in Nov 1941 with Wellington. These were replaced 18 months later by Lancaster as the Sqn moved to become the sole sqn resident at newly-opened RAF Ludford Magna. At this point the Sqn specialised in a variety of Electronic Warfare roles. The first of these was the Monica active RDF system, fit in Jul 1943. This was followed by the passive Boozer radar warning receiver in Aug 1943. In Oct 1943 the airborne VHF comms jammer known as ABC (Airborne Cigar) was used on operations against Stuttgart. 101 Sqn's ABC-equipped Lancaster provided a crucial offensive electronic warfare capability to Bomber Command during strategic bombing operations. 101 Sqn was directed by HQ to have 10 ABC aircraft available on each day bombing ops were to take place. The intensity of ABC operations continued until Oct 1944 when Command informed 14 Base HQ at Ludford Magna that no more ABC equipment would be supplied to 101 Sqn as the Electronic Countermeasure mission was handed over to 100 Gp. However 100 Gp was overtasked and 101 Sqn continued to fly ABC missions up to Apr 1945. The Sqn flew just under 2500 ABC missions during World War II.

On 25 Nov 1943 4 experienced crews transfered from 101 Sqn to form the new 576 Sqn's A Flight, with additional new crews coming straight from Heavy Conversion Unit. 101 Sqn was the key contributing sqn in the Nuremburg Raid on 30 Mar 1944, supplying 26 of the total 795 bombers. However it was also to suffer the most losses, losting 7 Lancaster. The ABC specialisation meant that 101 Sqn crews were often called on to support other Groups' raids. 101 Sqn's specialist EW role meant that it concluded the war with the highest casualty rate of any of the flying squadrons.

In the closing stages of the war 101 Sqn supported Ops MANNA and EXODUS, like many other Lincolnshire-based sqns. MANNA was food drops to the residents of the Netherlands, whilst EXODUS was the repatriation of Prisoners of War from Europe to the UK, up to 4 Jun 1945.

In Sep 1945 an advance party of the Sqn left for RAF Binbrook and the remainder followed shortly thereafter.

101 Sqn was the first front-line Canberra bomber sqn, equipping in Jun 1951, and was the first to put the jet into combat in Malaya and Suez, shortly before disbandment in 1957. It reformed with the Vulcan B1 bomber at Finningley 1957, as part of the Finningley Wing, moving to RAF Waddington in 1961. It was from here that Vulcan B2 XM600 departed and crashed near Spilsby in 1977 following an airborne fire.

101 Sqn was the last sqn to convert to the B2 before disbandment in 1982 after Op CORPORATE.

101 Sqn reformed for its final iteration as a VC-10 Sqn in May 1984.

RAF Ludford Magna and 101 Sqn are now commemorated in a memorial stone on the A631 in Ludford Magna village. See the memorials page for further details.

101 Sqn books

101 Sqn memorials

101 Sqn history on RAF website

RAF Ludford Magna / 101 Sqn Memorial Stone

Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire
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