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No. 104 Squadron RAF
Active 4 September 1917 – 24 May 1963
Country United Kingdom
Branch Royal Air Force
Motto(s) Strike hard

No. 104 Squadron RAF was formed at Wyton, England on 4 September 1917 and was equipped with the DH 9. It then moved to Andover, prior to being posted to France in May 1918. The squadron later began re-equipping with the DH 10, however the armistice arrived before this was completed and the squadron returned home, first to Turnhouse and then to Crail where it disbanded on 30 June 1919. Eight flying aces served within its ranks, including future Rear Admiral Arthur Rullion Rattray, Jeffrey Batters Home-Hay, William Bottrill, Richard Gammon and W. Harrop.

On 7 January 1936, the squadron was reformed at Abingdon from the 'C' Flight of No. 40 Squadron. The squadron was equipped with the Hawker Hind. In August 1936 the squadron moved to RAF Hucknall, followed by a move to Bassingbourn in May 1938, and conversion to the Bristol Blenheim. The squadron disbanded when it was absorbed into No. 13 Operational Training Unit in April 1940.

The squadron reformed again on 1 April 1941 at RAF Driffield, equipped with the Vickers Wellington and began night bombing operations in May as part of No. 4 Group RAF until February 1942. A squadron detachment was sent to Malta in October 1941, moving to Egypt in January 1942, shortly afterwards the home contingent of the squadron at Driffield was renumbered No. 158, whilst the remainder of the squadron in the Middle East remained No. 104. The squadron later moved first to captured airfields in Tunisia, followed by a move to the Italian mainland in December 1943.

In February 1945 the squadron was re-equipped with the Consolidated Liberator, and then returned to Egypt in November 1945 where it converted to the Avro Lancaster. The squadron disbanded on 1 April 1947.

In March 1955 the squadron reformed at Gutersloh equipped with the English Electric Canberra. Appointed as CO by April 1955 was Sqn Ldr Edward Stephenson, an experienced flying instructor.[1] The squadron became part of No. 551 Wing RAF, the Bomber Command Element of 2TAF: this consisted of Nos 102, 103, 104 and 149 Squadrons - each equipped with ten Canberra B2s. The squadron disbanded again in August 1956.

The squadron was again reformed - as 104 (SM) Sqn. - on 22 July 1959 as one of 20 Strategic Missile (SM) squadrons associated with Project Emily. The squadron was equipped with three Thor Intermediate range ballistic missiles. and based at RAF Ludford Magna.

In October 1962, during the Cuban missile crisis, the squadron was kept at full readiness, with the missiles aimed at strategic targets in the USSR. The squadron was disbanded on 24 May 1963, with the termination of the Thor Program in Britain.

Aircraft operated

Wellington Mk.II of No. 104 Squadron, 1941-43.



  1. Dennis Sawden, The English Electric Canberra, Scottish Saltire Aircrew Association, accessed August 2013.


  • Chappel, F.R. Wellington Wings. ISBN 0-7183-0177-3.
  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1980. ISBN 0-85130-083-9.
  • Jefford, C.G., Wing Commander MBE, BA, RAF (Retd). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 1998 (second edition 2001). ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • Moyes, Philip J.R. Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1964 (Second edition 1976). ISBN 0-354-01027-1.

External links

See also

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