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No. 111 (Fighter) Squadron RAF
Official Squadron Badge of No. 111 Squadron RAF
Active 1 August 1917 – 22 March 2011
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Role Air Defence
Base RAF Leuchars
Motto(s) Adstantes
Latin: "Standing by"[1]
Battle honours Palestine 1917–1918*, Megiddo, Home Defence 1940–1942*, France and Low Countries 1940, Dunkirk*, Battle of Britain 1940*, Fortress Europe 1941–1942*, Dieppe, North Africa 1942–1943*, Sicily 1943, Italy 1943–1945*, Salerno, Anzio and Nettuno, Gustav Line, France and Germany 1944*.[note 1]
Squadron Badge In front of two swords in saltire a cross potent quadrat charged with three seaxes fesswise in pale[2]
Squadron Roundel RAF 111 Sqn.svg
Squadron Codes TM (Apr 1939 – Sep 1939)
JU (Sep 1939 – May 1947)
B (Carried on Phantoms)
H (Carried on Tornados)

No. 111 (Fighter) Squadron is an inactive squadron of the Royal Air Force. It was formed in 1917 in the Middle East as No. 111 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps. The squadron remained in the Middle East after the end of the First World War until 1920 when it was renumbered as No. 14 Squadron.

The squadron was reformed in 1923. At the start of the Second World War, it fought in the battle of Britain. In late 1941 it moved to the Mediterranean where it was involved in the invasion of North Africa and then of Sicily and the Italian mainland. Disbanded in the years after the war, the squadron reformed in 1953 with jets.

Operating the Hawker Hunter, No 111 Squadron provided an aerobatic display team - the Black Arrows. It also performed acrobatics when it re-equipped with the Lightning interceptor. The Squadron moved to Scotland in 1975 remaining there after it exchanged Phantoms for the air defence variant of the Panavia Tornado. It operated the Panavia Tornado F3 in air defence from RAF Leuchars, Scotland until March 2011, when the squadron was disbanded, at the same time ending the Tornado F3 service in the RAF.[3]


In World War I

No. 111 Squadron was formed at Deir el-Balah, Palestine on 1 August 1917, with a mixed bag of single seat fighters as the first dedicated fighter squadron in the region. Its mission was to restrict enemy reconnaissance flights and challenge the German fighter presence over Suez. It was reinforced by Bristol F.2 Fighters in September,one of these claiming the first aerial victory for 111 on 8 October.[4] It handed over its Bristol Fighters to No. 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps in February 1918, becoming completely equipped with single seat fighters.[5] By the time the Armistice with Turkey ended the war in the Middle East, No. 111 Squadron had claimed 44 enemy aircraft destroyed and a further 13 forced down for the loss of two pilots killed in combat, one prisoner and three wounded. The squadron had produced four aces: Austin Lloyd Fleming, future Air Marshal Peter Roy Maxwell Drummond, Charles Davidson, and Arthur Peck.[6] 'Treble One' was reformed in Egypt after the War as No. 14 Squadron.[7]

Between the wars

On 1 October 1923, 111 Squadron reformed. The squadron operated a large variety of aircraft, including the first Gloster Grebes, until 1938, when it became the first Hawker Hurricane squadron at RAF Northolt.

In World War II

Supermarine Spitfires of No. 111 Squadron undergoing maintenance at Comiso, Sicily. 'JU-R' in the foreground is a Mark IXE, the other aircraft being Mark VCs.

111 Sqn played a role in the Battle of Britain, pioneering dangerous head-on attacks against the Luftwaffe bomber streams. Claims included 47 aircraft shot down for 18 Hurricanes lost. The squadron replaced its Hurricanes with Supermarine Spitfires in April 1941. In November the Squadron again relocated to RAF Gibraltar for support of Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa. In a similar role it moved to Malta in June 1943 to support the invasion of Sicily. No 111 moved through Italy with the advancing Allied ground forces and remained there until the end of the war, after which it moved to Austria. The squadron disbanded in May 1947. 269 aircraft were claimed shot down, making the squadron one of the top RAF scorers for the war.

Into the jet age

A Tornado F3 of No. 111 Squadron

The squadron was not reactivated until 1953 when it received Gloster Meteor F8s at RAF North Weald. The Meteors were soon replaced with Hawker Hunters and No. 111 moved to RAF Wattisham in Suffolk. "Tremblers" as it was (and is) affectionately referred to by its staff, achieved international acclaim with their ‘Black Arrows’ aerobatic display team using the Hawker Hunter. The Squadron received the all-weather English Electric Lightning fighter in 1962 which it operated for ten years. In 1965, under Squadron Leader George Black (later AVM) and fully equipped with Lightning F3's, it was chosen to provide a combined display with the Red Arrows for the Paris Air Show in June of that year. During the 2 to 3 months workup of the Diamond Nine formation plus a solo aerobatics Lightning, the squadron fielded 10 aircraft per day, a remarkable achievement for what was a somewhat difficult aircraft to service. In 1974 the squadron moved from Wattisham after almost 18 years and re-equipped with the F-4 Phantom II at RAF Coningsby, before moving north to Leuchars on 3 November 1975.

The squadron began to re-equip with the Tornado F3 in 1990.

Recent operations

Throughout its time at Leuchars the No 111(F) Squadron was tasked with the maintenance of Quick Reaction Alert, which involves keeping aircraft at a high state of readiness to intercept, identify and, should it be necessary, destroy hostile aircraft approaching UK airspace. In recent years the Squadron has been involved in Operation Deny Flight over Bosnia, Operations Bolton and Resinate in the Middle East and regularly participates in major Air Defence exercises, both in the UK and abroad.

Led by Wing Commander David Scott, 111 (Fighter) Squadron was involved in Operation Telic where it formed part of the Tornado F3 Wing at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia.

Following the disbandment of No. 43 Squadron in July 2009, 111 was the sole RAF Tornado F3 unit.[8][9] The squadron disbanded at RAF Leuchars on 22 March 2011.[3]

Aircraft operated

According to Rawlings, Halley and Jefford[10][11][12]
Dates Aircraft Variant Notes
Aug 1917 – Oct 1917 Bristol Scout
Aug 1917 – Oct 1917 Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 B.E.2e
Aug 1917 – Jan 1918 Bristol M.1 M.1b
Aug 1917 – Dec 1917 de Havilland DH.2
Aug 1917 – Jan 1918 Vickers F.B.19
Sep 1917 – Feb 1918 Bristol F2B Fighter
Oct 1917 – Feb 1919 Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 SE.5
Jan 1918 – Jul 1918 Nieuport 17
Jan 1918 – Jul 1918 Nieuport 23
Jan 1918 – Jul 1918 Nieuport 24
Feb 1919 – Feb 1920 Bristol F2B Fighter
Oct 1923 – Jan 1925 Gloster Grebe Mk.II
Apr 1924 – Jan 1925 Sopwith Snipe
Jun 1924 – Nov 1926 Armstrong Whitworth Siskin Mk.III
Sep 1926 – Feb 1931 Armstrong Whitworth Siskin Mk.IIIa
Jan 1931 – Jun 1936 Bristol Bulldog Mk.IIa
May 1936 – Feb 1938 Gloster Gauntlet Mk.II
Jan 1938 – Apr 1941 Hawker Hurricane Mk.I
Mar 1941 – May 1941 Hawker Hurricane Mk.IIa
Apr 1941 – May 1941 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I
May 1941 – Sep 1941 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IIa
Aug 1941 – Okt 1942 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb
Nov 1942 – Jan 1944 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vc
Jun 1943 – May 1947 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IXe
Dec 1953 – Jun 1955 Gloster Meteor F.8
Jun 1955 – Nov 1956 Hawker Hunter F.4
Nov 1956 – Apr 1961 Hawker Hunter F.6
Apr 1961 – Dec 1964 English Electric Lightning F.1A
Dec 1964 – Sep 1974 English Electric Lightning F.3, F.6
Oct 1974 – Jul 1979 McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR.2
Jan 1978 – Jan 1990 McDonnell Douglas Phantom FG.1
Jun 1990 – Mar 2011 Panavia Tornado ADV F.3

See also



  1. Honours marked with an asterisk (*) are emblazoned on the Squadron Standard
  1. Halley 1988, p. 186.
  2. Rawlings 1978, p. 235.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "RAF Leuchars saying farewell to Treble One's Tornado F3s"
  4. Halley 1971,p. 68.
  5. Halley 1971, p.70.
  6. Retrieved 19 February 2010.
  7. Halley 1971, p. 71.
  8. Urquhart, Frank (2009-04-17). "Historic squadron is disbanded – but Fighting Cocks may fly again". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  9. "111 Squadron". MOD official RAF website. Retrieved 2010-09-10. 
  10. Rawlings 1978, pp. 240–242, 571.
  11. Halley 1988, p. 187.
  12. Jefford 2001, pp. 58–59.


  • Halley, James J. Famous Fighter Squadrons of the RAF: Volume 1. Windsor, Berkshire, UK: Hylton Lacey Publishers Ltd., 1971. ISBN 0-85064-100-4.
  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth 1918–1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Jefford, Wing Commander C.G., MBE,BA,RAF (Retd). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1988 (second edition 2001). ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd., 1969 (second edition 1976). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.

External links

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