Squadron Royal Air Force
"Foy Pour Devoir" - Fidelity unto duty
> Units and Formations
Updated: 18 Oct 08
Formed: 12 Jun 1918
Disbanded: 10 Sep 1919
Reformed: 4 Aug 1936
Disbanded: 10 Oct 1946
11 Feb 1949 - 14 Sep 1951 - 23 Sqn
Reformed: 15 Sep 1951
Disbanded: 19 Sep 1961
Reformed: 1 Jan 1962
Renumbered: 25 May 1963 to 97 Sqn
Squadron was based at:
RAF North Weald :: Aug 1936 - Sep 1940
RAF Digby :: 1 Sep - Nov 1940
TV (Sep 1938 - Dec 1938)
Hurricane MkI ::
151 Sqn RAF was formed at Hainault Farm on 12 Jun 1918 as a night fighter Sqn by taking a flight from each of 44, 78 and 112 Squadrons. It disbanded on 10 Sep 1919.
The squadron was reformed at RAF North Weald on 4 Aug 1936 on Gauntlets, from a detachment of 56 Sqn. It converted to the Hurricane from Dec 1938 to Feb 1939. However, unlike many Hurricane units the Sqn remained in Britain on defensive duties rather than forming part of the Advances Air Striking Force in to France.
After providing air defence for the Dunkirk evacuation and playing a role in most of the Battle of Britain, the Sqn moved to RAF Digby in Sep 1940, replaced at North Weald's satellite by ex-Digby 46 Sqn. Sadly, on 4 Sep 1940 Pilot Officer Richard Ambrose was killed when his aircraft, Hurricane V7406, struck a crane on take off on a ferry flight from RAF Stapleford for Digby and burst into flames, burning out. The crane was probably one of the standard type used by the RAF (for lifting engines out of mountings, etc) and known as a 'Coles Crane' by virtue of its designer/manufacturer's name prominently incorporated into the base casting. Some were mounted on wheels and towed around, others on the back of specially adapted lorries. PO Ambrose died aged 21 and is buried in Epping cemetery. Richard Ambrose was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in the RAFVR on 20 Jun 1939. He was called-up for full-time service soon after the outbreak of war and converted to full time service on 21 Oct 1939. Posted to 25 Sqn at RAF Martlesham Heath on 18 Aug 1940 he transfered to RAF Stapleford on 26 Aug 1940 to join 151 Squadron. 151 was nominally transferred to RAF Digby on 29 Aug, which is the reason for the ferry flight on 4 Sep, Hurricane V7406 being on charge to 151.
In November, it was decided to re-role the squadron to night fighting and it moved to RAF Bramcote and onto the Defiant. It remained in this role, changing to the Mosquito, until Oct 1944 when it moved to the bomber support role. A few days after VJ Day the squadron moved back to the West Country, disbanding at RAF Weston Zoyland on 10 October 1946.
From 11 Feb 1949 to 14 Sep 1951, 151 Sqn's number plate was associated with 23 Sqn. On 15 Sep 1951 it reformed at Leuchars as a Vampire night fighter unit. These were in turn replaced by Meteor NF MkII in Apr 1953 and then Venom NF Mk3s in July 1955. Finally in July 1957 the Sqn re-roled to the all-weather fighter role on Javelin until disbandment on 19 Sep 1961.
Finally, from 1 Jan 1962 to 25 May 1963, Signals Command Development Squadron was given the 151 Sqn numberplate, and operated its aircraft from RAF Watton, including Lincoln, Hastings, Varsity and Canberra on radar research and development. The squadron was disbanded by being renumbered to 97 Sqn on 25 May 1963, the day after 97 Sqn had itself disbanded.
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