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No. 113 Squadron RAF
Active 1 Aug 1917 – 1 Feb 1920
18 May 1937 – 15 Oct 1945
1 Sep 1946 – 1 Apr 1947
1 May 1947 – 1 Sep 1948
22 Jul 1959 – 10 Jul 1963
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Role Army cooperation
Missile operation
Motto(s) Latin: Velox et vindex
("Swift to vengeance")[1][2][3]
Engagements Sinai and Palestine Campaign
Squadron Badge heraldry In front of a cross potent, between four like crosses, two swords in saltire, the points uppermost[3]
The crosses are from the arms of Jerusalem. The swords reflect the unit's service in defence of the Holy Land[1][2]
Squadron Codes BT (Apr 1939 – Sep 1939)[4][5]
VA (Sep 1939 – Sep 1943)[1]
AD (Apr 1945 – Oct 1945)[6][7]

No. 113 Squadron began service in 1917 with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force commanded by General Edmund Allenby. The squadron was a unit of the Royal Flying Corps (now known as the Royal Air Force) took over duties of trench reconnaissance from No. 1 Squadron[8] and served during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign as a reconnaissance, army cooperation, bomber, fighter, transport and missile operation squadron during its existence.


Formation in World War I as reconnaissance unit

No. 113 Squadron was formed on 1 August 1917 at RAF Ismailia, Egypt as a corps reconnaissance and army co-operation unit. In September it began tactical reconnaissance and artillery spotting missions over Palestine, where it remained until the end of World War I. The squadron returned to Egypt on 16 February 1919 and a year later it was disbanded by being renumbered to No. 208 Squadron RAF on 1 February 1920.[3]

Reformation as bomber squadron in World War II

No. 113 reformed at RAF Upper Heyford on 18 May 1937 as a day bomber unit, equipped with Hawker Hinds. In April 1938 it left for the Middle East, converting to Blenheim's in June 1939. After Italy joined the war, on 11 June 1940 the unit participated in the first attack by the RAF on the Italian air force base at El Adem, where 18 aircraft were destroyed or damaged on the ground, against the loss of three British aircraft from 3 squadrons.[9] On 12 June 1940 the squadron participated in an attack on Tobruk, damaging the Italian cruiser San Giorgio.[10] The squadron then moved to Greece in March 1941. There it was overtaken by the German invasion and lost all its aircraft, the Squadrons personnel being evacuated to Crete and Egypt. Bombing operations began again in June 1941.

After the outbreak of war in the Far East the squadron, which was under command of Wing Commander Reginald Stidolph DFC, a Rhodesian, was moved to Burma. The squadron arrived at on 7 January 1942 and immediately participated in the first allied bombing attack on Bangkok.[11] A second raid was made on 24 January. The squadron attacked Japanese columns until it was evacuated to Calcutta in March. From Assam No. 113 bombed Japanese communications and airfields until it converted to Hurricanes in March 1943. These were used for ground-attack duties being replaced by Thunderbolts in April 1945 which were flown until the Squadron was disbanded on 15 October 1945.[3]

Post war reformations as a transport squadron

On 1 September 1946 No. 620 Squadron RAF at Aqir was renumbered to No. 113 squadron RAF and was engaged in transport duties with Halifax A.7s until disbanded on 1 April 1947. The Squadron reformed on 1 May 1947 at RAF Fairford now flying Douglas Dakotas alongside Halifax A.9s, being disbanded on 1 September 1948.[3]

On Thor missiles

The squadron was reformed – as 113(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, based at RAF Mepal. 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 10 July 1963, with the termination of the Thor Program in Britain.

Aircraft operated

From To Aircraft Variant
Aug 1917 Apr 1918 Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 BE.2e
Sep 1917 Feb 1920 Royal Aircraft Factory RE.8
Feb 1918 Oct 1918 Nieuport 17 17, 23 & 24
Feb 1919 Dec 1919 Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 BE.2e
May 1937 Jun 1939 Hawker Hind
Jun 1939 Mar 1940 Bristol Blenheim Mk.I
Jun 1941 Dec 1941 Bristol Blenheim Mk.I
Mar 1940 Apr 1941 Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV
Jun 1941 Oct 1942 Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV
Oct 1942 Sep 1943 Bristol Blenheim Mk.V
Sep 1943 Apr 1945 Hawker Hurricane Mk.IIc
Apr 1945 Oct 1945 Republic Thunderbolt Mks.I & II
Sep 1946 Dec 1946 Handley Page Halifax A.7 & C.8
Sep 1946 Apr 1947 Handley Page Halifax A.9
Sep 1946 Sep 1948 Douglas Dakota C.4
Nov 1947 Sep 1948 Handley Page Halifax A.9
22 July 1959 10 July 1963 Thor IRBM SM.75


See also



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Moyes 1976, pp. 156–158.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Rawlings 1978, pp. 248–249.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Halley 1988, p. 190.
  4. Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 13.
  5. Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 49.
  6. Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 15.
  7. Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 62.
  8. Cutlack 1941 p. 74
  9. Playfair, Vol. I, page 112.
  10. Playfair, Vol. I, pages 110, 112.
  12. Jefford 2001, p. 159.


  • Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • F. M. Cutlack (1941). "The Australian Flying Corps in the Western and Eastern Theatres of War, 1914–1918". Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918 Volume VIII. Canberra: Australian War Memorial. 
  • Flintham, Vic and Andrew Thomas. Combat Codes: A full explanation and listing of British, Commonwealth and Allied air force unit codes since 1938. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 2003. ISBN 1-84037-281-8.
  • 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.
  • Moyes, Philip J.R. Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 2nd edition 1976. ISBN 0-354-01027-1.
  • Playfair, Major-General I.S.O.; Molony, Brigadier C.J.C.; with Flynn, Captain F.C. (R.N.) & Gleave, Group Captain T.P. (2009) [1st. pub. HMSO:1954]. Butler, Sir James. ed. The Mediterranean and Middle East, Volume I: The Early Successes Against Italy, to May 1941. History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series. Uckfield, UK: Naval & Military Press. ISBN 1-84574-065-3. 
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald & Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1969 (2nd edition 1976, reprinted 1978). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.

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