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No. XXIV Squadron RAF
File:24 Squadron RAF.jpg
Crest: A black cock
Active 21 September 1915
Role Air Transport
Garrison/HQ RAF Brize Norton
Motto(s) In omnia parati
Latin: "Prepared for all things"
Equipment C130J Hercules
Battle honours Western Front 1916–1918, Somme 1916, Somme 1918, Amiens, Hindenburg Line, France and Low Countries 1939–1940, Malta 1942, North Africa 1942–1943, Italy 1943–1944, Burma 1944–1945, Gulf 1991
Commanding Officer Wing Commander D James
Major L G Hawker

No. 24 Squadron (also known as No. XXIV Squadron) of the Royal Air Force operates the C-130J Hercules C.4 and C.5 from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.


As a fighter squadron

The squadron was founded as No. 24 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps on 1 September 1915 at Hounslow Heath Aerodrome. It arrived in France equipped with D.H.2 fighters in February 1916 – making it the world's first single-seat fighter squadron. The DH.2 came with a reputation for spinning because it had a rotary engine "pushing" it, but after Officer Commanding Major Lanoe Hawker demonstrated the recently discovered procedures for pulling out of a spin, the squadron's pilots came to appreciate the type's maneuverability.[1]

By early 1917 the DH.2 was outclassed and they were replaced by the Airco DH.5. The DH.5 did not prove suitable as a fighter but the squadron used it in a ground-attack role. One of the first actions was during the Battle of Messines and later in the Battle of Cambrai. The DH.5 was phased out of operations and the squadron were given the SE.5a in December 1917.[2] After a few months in the ground-attack role the squadron returned to air combat operations. By October 1918 the squadron had destroyed 200 enemy aircraft. With the armistice the squadron returned to England and was disbanded in February 1919.[2] During the course of its wartime existence, it had 33 flying aces among its ranks, including

As a VIP transport squadron

On 1 February 1920 the squadron was re-formed at RAF Kenley with an unusual task. It had to provide aircraft to transport VIPs and government officials and senior members of the three services. During the General Strike of 1926, because of the lack of a postal services, the squadron was used to deliver government dispatches around the country. It was soon in demand to provide air travel to royalty, when the Prince of Wales acquired his own aircraft they were looked after by the squadron.

A 24 Sqn Dakota C.III transporting King George VI to the Channel Islands, 1945.

During the 1920s the squadron used former wartime aircraft but it soon acquired more civil types better suited to the role. With the outbreak of the Second World War the squadron acquired more civil airliners which were impressed for wartime service. It provided a detachment in France to run a courier services, but with the withdrawal of British troops it was soon used to evacuate men back to England. Former British Airways and Imperial Airways aircraft were put to use on a network of communications flights including trips to Gibraltar and later Malta. The squadron also performed ambulance flights when required.

The squadron had grown into a large organisation not only with a network of routes around the United Kingdom and eventually extended to India. It also operated VIP transports including Sir Winston Churchill's personal aircraft. It was decided to break the squadron up, the internal communication flight became 510 Squadron in October 1942.[4] In June 1943 a second squadron, No. 512, equipped with Douglas Dakotas was split off from No 24.[4] This left 24 Sqn to concentrate on the long distance routes using the Avro York and C-47s. The long distance flights were taken over by other squadrons and No. 24 concentrated on short-range VIP duties using the Dakota.

After many years the squadron had to leave RAF Hendon in February 1946 as the airfield was now to small to operate the larger Avro Yorks and Avro Lancastrians. The squadron was also designated a Commonwealth squadron with crews from various Commonwealth countries joining the squadron strength. Although it had a VIP role it still became involved in the Berlin Airlift. When the squadron re-equipped with the Handley Page Hastings it soon lost the VIP business and became a standard Transport Command squadron.

As a Transport Command squadron

In 1968 the squadron moved from RAF Colerne to RAF Lyneham and re-equipped with the Lockheed Hercules. The squadron re-equipped with the new generation Hercules C.4 and C.5 RAF designation for the C-130J-30 and C-130J respectively) in 2002. It celebrated 40 years of Hercules operation in 2008 and remained at Lyneham until 2011 when the squadron relocated to RAF Brize Norton.[5]

Aircraft operated

W9104 a 24 Squadron Lockheed 10A Electra

Commanding officers

The following officers have held command of No. 24 Squadron:[6]

  • 1 September 1915, Captain A G Moore
  • 29 September 1915, Major L G Hawker
  • 29 November 1916, Major C E Rabagliati
  • 23 March 1917, Major A G Moore
  • 22 August 1917, Major J G Swart
  • 2 February 1918, Major V A H Robeson
  • 1 April 1920, Squadron Leader E H Johnston
  • 23 October 1922, Squadron Leader O T Boyd
  • 22 October 1923, Squadron Leader R S Maxwell
  • 27 August 1925, Squadron Leader W H L O'Neill
  • 20 September 1927, Squadron Leader S N Cole
  • 20 March 1929, Squadron Leader D S Don
  • 3 October 1931, Squadron Leader J Whitford
  • 1 December 1935, Squadron Leader H K Goode
  • June 1939, Wing Commander J Anderson
  • October 1939, Wing Commander H K Goode
  • April 1941, Wing Commander H G Lee
  • June 1941, Wing Commander P M W Wright
  • June 1942, Wing Commander H B Collins
  • September 1944, Wing Commander T H Archbell
  • October 1945, Wing Commander E L A Walter
  • September 1946, Wing Commander C W K Nicholls
  • March 1948, Wing Commander P H Lombard
  • March 1950, Wing Commander C F Read (RAAF)
  • December 1950, Squadron Leader H A Nash
  • October 1951, Major J N Robbs (SAAF)
  • October 1953, Squadron Leader J L Kerr
  • September 1955, Squadron Leader R B Bolt (RNZAF)
  • February 1957, Squadron Leader M M Mair
  • October 1957, Wing Commander D W Hitchins (RAAF)
  • October 1959, Wing Commander H D Archer
  • November 1961, Wing Commander R B Sillars
  • November 1963, Wing Commander R T Saunders
  • January 1966, Wing Commander G Moss
  • January 1968, Wing Commander J E H Tetley
  • July 1970, Wing Commander R D Bates
  • July 1972, Wing Commander M J Hardy
  • July 1974, Wing Commander C E Evans
  • February 1976, Wing Commander M C A Davis
  • August 1978, Wing Commander K Chapman
  • October 1980, Wing Commander D R Jones
  • March 1983, Wing Commander C J M Carrington
  • June 1985, Wing Commander R M Peach
  • December 1987, Wing Commander D B Farquhar
  • April 1990, Wing Commander R D Iredale
  • October 1992, Wing Commander M D Stringer
  • June 1995, Wing Commander R M Bailey
  • April 1998, Wing Commander P N Oborn CBE
  • August 2000, Squadron Leader G C Cook
  • December 2000, Wing Commander R Hobson
  • June 2003, Wing Commander K Groves
  • October 2005, Squadron Leader S K Marston
  • December 2005, Wing Commander D Turnbull
  • June 2008, Wing Commander A Bacon
  • November 2010 Wing Commander P G Cochrane
  • February 2011 Wing Commander T Jones

See also

  • List of RAF squadrons


  1. Pusher Aces of World War 1. pp. 28–29. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Rawlings 1972, p.144.
  3. Retrieved 28 January 2010.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Rawlings 1972, p. 146.
  5. "24 Squadron". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  6. 24 Squadron Association
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982–1985), Orbis Publishing.
  • Jefford, G. G. RAF Squadrons, second edition 2001, Airlife Publishing, UK, ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • Rawlings, J. D. R. "History of No. 24 Squadron". Air Pictorial, April 1972, Vol.34 No.4. pp. 144–147.

External links

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