Squadron Royal Air Force
Mens agitat molem - 'Mind over matter'
> Units and Formations
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
FE2b :: Jul 1917 - Dec 1919
DH9A :: Mar 1928 - <1930
Sidestrand :: <1930 - 1935
Overstrand :: 1935 - 1939
Blenheim MkIV :: 1939 - 1942
Wellington MkIII :: 1942 - mid-1942
Lincoln :: 1945 -
Washington B MkI ::
Canberra B2 :: Jun 1951 - Feb 1957
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.
101 Sqn history on RAF website
RAF Ludford Magna / 101 Sqn Memorial Stone
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