(Fighter) Squadron Royal Air Force
Impiger et Acer - Energetic and Keen
> Units and Formations
Updated: 28 Oct 08
Formed: 7 Nov 1915, Fort Grange, Gosport
Disbanded: 31 Oct 1998
Squadron was based at:
Gosport :: Nov 1915 - Mar 1916
France :: Mar 1916 - 1919?
RAF Duxford :: 1923 - ??
RAF North Weald :: ?? - 1935
Egypt :: 1935 - 1936
RAF Debden :: Nov 1937 -
RAF Digby :: 27 Jun 1940 - 8 Jul 1940
RAF Wellingore :: 8 July 1940 - Apr 1941
RAF West Malling :: ?? - >1945
Cyprus :: 1963- 1967
RAF Wattisham :: 1967 - 1974
RAF Coningsby :: 1974 -
DH2 :: Nov 1915 -1918
SE5 :: 1918 - 1919
Blenheim :: 1939 - Sep 1940
Beaufighter :: Sep 1940 - May 1943
Mosquito :: May 1943 -
Meteor NFII ::
Javelin :: ?? - 1967
Lightning F3 :: 1967 - 1974
Phantom :: 1974 - Apr 1987
Tornado F3 :: Apr 1987 - 31 oct 1998
Formed at Fort Grange, Gosport on 7 Nov 1915, 29 Sqn RFC was mobilised and posted to France in Mar 1916 to support the battle on the Somme with 12 x DH2. During the Somme campaign Flt Sgt James McCudden (later a Major and VC winner) was credited with 57 kills. By 1918 the Sqn had re-equipped to the SE5 at Tetegham near Dunkirk, subsequently disbanding in 1919.
The Sqn reformed in 1923 at Duxford, moving to North Weald before a deployment to Egypt in 1935 and 1936.
At the outbreak of WWII the Squadron was equipped with the Bristol Blenheim and was roled as a night fighter sqn. It employed the recently developed aircraft intercept (Al) radar set. However as early as Sep 1940 the Blenheim was being replaced by the Beaufighter.
Although based in Lima Sector of 12 Group throughout the Battle of Britain, 29 Sqn did not go without losses. As an example, Bristol Blenheim L6637 was shot down into the sea at approx 1820hrs on 13 Oct 1940 during a patrol, with all 3 crew (Sgts Stevens, Sly and AC Jackson) lost. A handwritten note and arrow pointing to the word 'Hurricane' in the ORB indicate that the aircraft belonged to 308 (Polish) Sqn.
Amongst those to serve with the Sqn at this time were Flt Lt Guy Gibson who joined in Nov 1940 , before his notable exploits with 617 Sqn, the Dambusters. In May 1943 the Squadron re-equipped with the Mosquito, still operating in the night fighter role, finishing the war at West Malling to become part of post-war air defence system.
29(F) Squadron was the first RAF night fighter jet squadron, employing the Meteor NFII. Re-equippping to Javelin it served with the the Near East Air Force in Cyprus from 1963 to 1967, deploying to Zambia in 1965 during the Rhodesian crisis. In 1967 the Sqn re-equipped with the Lightning F3 at Wattisham.
In 1974, 29 Sqn moved to its RAF Coningsby and re-equipped to the Phantom, hitherto employed in ground-attack rather than air defence. The Sqn was the first to fire the new British Aerospace-designed Skyflash missile. Equipped with Skyflash and AIM-9 Sidewinder it deployed to Ascension Island to defend the stagin area during Op CORPORATE, then moved to RAF Stanley to provide air defence for the Falkland Islands.
In Nov 1984 29(F) Squadron was the first to operate from Hardened Aircraft Shelters (HAS), deemed increasingly necessary in the Cold War, and in 1986 deployed to RAF Gibraltar to provide air defence for the territory during the Libyan crisis.
The Sqn finally equipped with the Tornado F3 in Apr 1987. It was then one of the first to be sent to the Gulf following the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in 1990, flying Combat Air Patrols (CAP) in defence of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and over 500 missions during Operation GRANBY (Op Desert Storm)
Another notable Sqn first was the Sqn's participation in Nov 1992 in Exercise Red Flag, the large, multi-national exercise run by the US Air Force. It deployed in Feb 1994 to Gioia del Colle in Italy for 3 months in support of the UN No-Fly Zones over Bosnia and again in Nov 1995.
29 (F) Sqn was disbanded on 31 Oct 1998.
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