RAF Badges Cigarette Cards (Part 2)

No 18 (Bomber) Squadron

Formed at Northolt in May 1915, No 18 went to France in November 1915, equipped for fighter reconnaissance duties. In April 1916, its equipment was changed and the squadron was subsequently employed on bombing and cavalry contact patrols. During 1917 the squadron was again re-equipped, this time as a heavy day bomber. Although its chief duty was now bombing, it was frequently called upon to perform photographic and reconnaissance work. After a few months with the Army of Occupation in Germany, it returned to England and was disbanded in December, 1919. No 18. was reformed in October 1931 at Upper Heyford, Oxon, where it is still stationed.

No 19 (Fighter) Squadron

Formed at Castle Bromwich in September 1915, the squadron was, until the middle of 1916, engaged in training pilots in day and night fighting. In July 1916, re-equipped with bombing aircraft, it flew to France and was employed on night and day bombing work, under escort. In February 1917, there was a reversal of duties and re-equipped with French “Spad” single seater fighters, it became the first British squadron to use them. Re-equipped again in 1918, it remained on the Western Front until the Armistice. The squadron was disbanded in December 1919 and reformed as a fighter squadron in April 1923 at Duxford, Cambs, where it is still located.

No 20 (Army Co-Operation) Squadron

Formed in September 1915, No 20 flew to France in June 1916 and played a major part in destroying the dominance of the German Fokker on the British front. Primarily a two seater fighter squadron, No 20 was also used extensively for reconnaissance, long distance photography and bombing. The squadron participated in all the major offensives from 1916 onwards and, by the development of formation fighting tactics, built up a unique record of successes against the best of the enemy single seater fighters. Transferred to India in May 1919, No 20 became one of the permanent squadrons of the Royal Air Force. Its present station is Peshawar, India.

No 24 (Communications) Squadron

Formed in September 1915, No 24 Squadron, after a few months training and employment in the defence of London, left for France in February 1916. It was the first British single seater fighter squadron to go to any battle front, and its splendid work during the battles of the Somme in 1916 did much to establish the ascendency which the Royal Flying Corps gained at that time. Re-equipped in December 1917, the squadron continued until the Armistice with its successful work of air fighting, reconnaissance and bombing. Returning to England in February 1919, No 24 became a permanent squadron the RAF in April 1920. It is now stationed at Hendon.

No 22 (Torpedo Bomber) Squadron

This squadron was formed in September 1915 at Gosport. In April 1916 it left for France and was employed on Army co-operation duties until July 1917. It was then re-equipped as a fighter squadron and continued as such until the end of the war. In 1919, after a short service in Germany, No 22 returned to England and was disbanded. The squadron was reformed in April 1923 at Martlesham Heath and is now stationed at Donibristle, Fife.

No 27 (Bomber) Squadron

Formed in November 1915, at Hounslow, No 27 crossed the Channel in March 1916 and was the second fighter squadron to appear in France. Owing to the urgent need for bombing squadrons, however, it was attached to GHQ for bombing and long distance reconnaissance. In November 1917 the squadron was re-equipped with more up to date aircraft and until the end of the war was mainly engaged in bombing enemy lines of communications and aerodromes. No 27 returned to England in 1919 and was disbanded in January 1920. In the following April at Mianwali, India, No 99 Squadron was re-designated No 27 Squadron. It is now located at Kohat, India.

No 28 (Army Co-Operation) Squadron

Formed in November 1915, No 28 Squadron did not leave England for active service until October 1917. Equipped for fighting duties, it arrived in France in time to participate in the closing stages of the battles of Ypres, 1917. In November the squadron was transferred to Italy and performed valuable work on that front; it frequently carried the war into enemy territory by attacking his aerodromes and reserves with bombs and machine guns. Returning to England in 1919, the squadron was disbanded in January 1920. Three months later, No 114 Squadron on Army Co-Operation duties in India was re-designated No 28. The squadron is at present stationed at Ambala, India.

No 31 (Army Co-Operation) Squadron

Formed by flights between October 1915 and May 1916, No 31 was the first squadron to be allocated for service in India. The initial flight left for overseas in November 1915 and by October 1916 the whole squadron was concentrated at Risalpur. The work of the squadron consisted of reconnaissance, photography and bombing and from the latter part of 1916 to 1918 co-operated with the military forces operating against recalcitrant tribes on the North West Frontier. After the war, No 31 became one of the permanent squadrons of the Royal Air Force and has since remained on service in India. It is at present stationed at Karachi.

No 32 (Fighter) Squadron

Formed at Netheravon in January 1916, the squadron flew to France in the following May, equipped with single seat fighters. One of the pilots can claim to have performed one of the few examples of shock tactics employed in the air. In September 1916, having emptied his machine gun into a German aeroplane, he rammed the tail of the enemy machine which crashed to the earth, leaving the attacker to land safely in spite of considerable damage. Continuously engaged in fighting enemy aircraft until the end of the war, the squadron was disbanded in December 1919, but reformed ass a fighting unit at Kenley in April 1923. It is now stationed at Biggin Hill, Kent.

No 33 (Bomber) Squadron

Early in 1916, when the anti-aircraft defences of Great Britain were reorganised No 33 (which was originally formed as a service squadron) was one of the first air units to be specially allotted for Home Defence. The defence of Leeds and Sheffield was allocated to the squadron. Later it was also responsible for the defence of the Humber. Although the squadron did not actually destroy any enemy aircraft, it played a valuable part in the Home Defence organisation and seriously hampered the enemy in his attempts to bomb industrial areas. The squadron was disbanded in June 1919 and was reformed at Netheravon in March 1929 as No 33 (Bomber) Squadron. It is temporarily stationed at Ismailia, Egypt.

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