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  111 Squadron Royal Air Force

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Updated: 9 Sep 08

Formed:

Disbanded:

Squadron badge:

Battle honours:

 

Aircraft operated:

Phanton FGR2 :: 1974 - 3 Nov 1975

 

Squadron was stationed at:

RAF Digby :: May 1940

RAF Coningsby :: 1974 - 3 Nov 1975

No. 111 Squadron was formed at Dier-el-Belah, Palestine on 1 August 1917 as the first dedicated fighter squadron in the region. Its two main tasks were to restrict enemy reconnaissance flights and counter the increasing German fighter threat over the Suez. The Squadron flew a variety of aircraft including Bristol Scouts, Monoplanes and Fighters, DH2s and SE5s until standardising on the latter in 1918. As the tide of the War turned, the unit started ground-attack patrols and such was the pilot's skill, that the Squadron was able to turn the Turkish retreat into a rout. 'Treble One' withdrew to Egypt after the end of the War and was renumbered No 14 Squadron in February 1920.

1 October 1923 saw 111 Squadron reform, this time at Duxford, but again with a variety of types namely Grebes, Snipes and Siskins, the latter eventually equipping the whole Squadron until the arrival of Bulldogs in 1931. Five years later, No 111 received Gladiators, and in January 1938 the unit had the distinction of becoming the first Hurricane squadron. The Squadron flew as part of both Nos. 11 and 12 Groups during the Battle of Britain and replaced its Hurricanes with Spitfires in April 1942. In November the Squadron moved to Gibraltar in preparation for Operation Torch - the invasion of North Africa - where it supported the 1st Army through Algeria and Tunisia before moving to Malta in June 1943 to cover the invasion of Sicily. With the Allies advancing through Italy, No 111 moved with them, remaining there until after the cessation of hostilities when it moved to Austria.

The Squadron was again disbanded in May 1947 and did not rejoin the RAF's order of battle until it was reformed once more on 2 December 1953 at North Weald, one of its old Battle of Britain bases, joining the jet age with Meteor F8s. These aircraft were replaced with Hunters in June 1955, with which the Squadron achieved international fame with their ‘Black Arrows’ aerobatic display team, flying a 22 aircraft formation loop. The Squadron moved to Wattisham in 1964 and converted to the all-weather fighter, the Lightning.

111 Sqn re-equipped to the Phantom FGR2 from the Lightning at RAF Coningsby in 1974/75, before moving north to Leuchars on 3 November 1975. During this brief spell at Coningsby the squadron collected navigators, then moved north to its new base at RAF Leuchars to fulfull Northern Quick Reaction Alert duties.

 

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