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No. XXV Squadron RAF
File:25 Squadron RAF.jpg
Active 25 September 1915 – 31 January 1920
1 February 1920 – 23 June 1958
1 July 1958 – 30 November 1962
1 October 1963 – 1 October 1989
1 October 1989 – 4 April 2008
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Role Air defence
Garrison/HQ RAF Leeming
Motto(s) (Latin): Feriens tego
("Striking I defend")
Equipment Panavia Tornado F3.
Battle honours Home Defence, 1916: Western Front, 1916–1918: Somme, 1916: Arras: Ypres, 1917: Cambrai, 1917: Somme, 1918: Lys: Hindenburg Line: Channel & North Sea, 1939–1941: Battle of Britain, 1940: Fortress Europe, 1943–1944: Home Defence, 1940–1945: France & Germany, 1944–1945.
Squadron Badge On a gauntlet a hawk rising affrontée[1]
Squadron Codes RX (Dec 1938 – Sep 1939)
ZK (Sep 1939 – Apr 1951)
RAF roundel surrounded with a white bar, bordered on top and bottom in black (Jun 1951 – Apr 1959)
RAF 25 Sqn.svg

No. 25(F) Squadron (alternatively No. XXV(F) Squadron) was a squadron of the Royal Air Force. Until April 2008 the squadron operated the Panavia Tornado F3, from RAF Leeming.


The first years

No. 25 Squadron RAF was formed at RAF Montrose on 25 September 1915 from No. 6 Reserve Squadron,[2] moving to France in February 1916, flying F.E.2bs on fighter and reconnaissance duties. They gave way to D.H.4 bombers in 1917.[citation needed]

During the course of the First World War, 25 Squadron had nine flying aces among its ranks, including James Fitz-Morris, James Green, Reginald George Malcolm, Lancelot Richardson, Noel Webb, Charles Woollven[3] Alexander Roulstone, Leonard Herbert Emsden, and Hartley Pullan. [4]

After the war the squadron acquired D.H.9s. The unit was disbanded on 31 January 1920 at RAF Scopwick.

Hawkinge station

The squadron reformed the next day at RAF Hawkinge, flying Snipes, and went to Turkey in 1922/23 during the Chanak Crisis. After returning to the UK the unit stayed for a number of years at Hawkinge. The Snipes gave way to Grebes and later Siskins, while in December 1936 the squadron became the first unit to receive the Hawker Fury Mk II, having already flown the Fury Mk I since 1932. The Fury was replaced by the Hawker Demon when the squadron was given a night-fighter role. For night-flying training purposes the squadron also received Gloster Gladiators.[5] No. 25(F) Squadron moved to RAF Northolt on 12 September 1938.

During World War II

During World War II it flew Blenheims on night patrols, which were replaced by Beaufighters and later Mosquitos. By the closing stages of the war, the squadron was almost entirely committed to bomber escort missions.

Entering the jet age

After the war No. 25 Squadron continued to operate the Mosquito until November 1951, when they were replaced by Vampires, conversion to type having commenced in February 1951. The Vampires were then replaced by Gloster Meteor NF Mk.12 and 14s in March 1954. In 1957 the squadron moved from West Malling to RAF Tangmere, where it disbanded on 23 June 1958. On 1 July 1958 No. 153 Squadron RAF was renumbered No. 25 Squadron and the squadron flew Meteors until their replacement in 1959 by the Gloster Javelin FAW Mk.7s.

The Bloodhound missile years

No. 25 Squadron disbanded again on 30 November 1962, reforming a year later as the RAF's first Bristol Bloodhound SAM unit. In this role the squadron moved to RAF Bruggen in 1970, with detachments also protecting RAF Laarbruch and RAF Wildenrath. In 1983 the squadron moved to RAF Wyton, similarly protecting RAF Barkston Heath and RAF Wattisham.

On Tornados

A Tornado F3 of No. 25 Squadron on an air show in Poland

The RAF withdrew the Bloodhound in 1989 and on 1 August the same year, the squadron reformed at RAF Leeming as a RAF Tornado F3 fighter squadron alongside 11 Squadron and 23 Squadron as part of No. 11 Group RAF. Between September – December 1993 and May – August 1995, No. 25(F) Squadron aircrew and groundcrew took part in Operation Deny Flight, a NATO-led operation enforcing the United Nations (UN) no-fly zone over Bosnia-Herzegovina. Operating out of Gioia del Colle Air Base near Bari, Italy, on each occasion the squadron took over responsibility for supporting the no-fly zone from 23 Squadron before being relieved by 5 Squadron from RAF Coningsby. In the late 1990s the squadron deployed operationally to Saudi Arabia to protect the Shi'ite Muslims[6] of southern Iraq by flying Combat Air Patrol missions below the 33rd parallel, enforcing the southern no-fly zone imposed by Operation Southern Watch. Between October 2004 and January 2005 a contingent of 4 aircraft from 25(F) Sqn was deployed to Siauliana Air Base in Lithuania to provide NATO Air Defence cover to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, following their membership of NATO. Within the United Kingdom the Squadron's primary role, along with 11(F) Sqn prior to their disbandment, was QRA(S), Quick Reaction Alert (South), providing air defence for the Southern UK. Most publicly the Squadron intercepted eight Russian Tu-95 Bear-H strategic bombers and two Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers in July 2007. The squadron disbanded on 4 April 2008, its Tornados relocating to RAF Leuchars to join the remaining active Tornado F3 squadrons stationed there.

See also



  1. Rawlings 1978, p. 66.
  2. Mason 2001, p. 244.
  3. Shores, et al, 1990. pp. 156–157, 176, 253, 320, 378, 390. 
  4. Franks, et al, 1997. pp. 73, 85, 91. 
  5. Gustavsson, Håkan. "Gloster Gladiator in 25 RAF Squadron service". Biplane Fighter Aces from the Second World War. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 


  • Ashworth, Chris. Encyclopedia of Modern Royal Air Force Squadrons. Wellingborough, UK:PSL, 1989. ISBN 1-85260-013-6.
  • Bowyer, Michael J.F and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • 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.
  • Franks, Norman, et al. Above the War Fronts: the British Two-seater Bomber Pilot and Observer Aces, the British Two-seater Fighter Observer Aces, and the Belgian, Italian, Austro-Hungarian and Russian Fighter aces, 1914–1918: Volume 4 of Fighting Airmen of WWI Series: Volume 4 of Air Aces of WWI. Oxford, UK; Grub Street, 1997, ISBN 1-898697-56-6, ISBN 978-1-898697-56-5
  • Halley, James J. Famous Fighter Squadrons of the RAF: Volume 1. Windsor, Berkshire, UK: Hylton Lacey, 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: Airlife Publishing, 1998 (second edition 2001). ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • Mason, Francis K. Hawks Rising, the Story of No.25 Squadron Royal Air Force. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 2001. ISBN 0-85130-307-2.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1969 (new edition 1976, reprinted 1978). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.
  • Shores, Christopher, et al. Above the Trenches: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the British Empire Air Forces 1915–1920. Oxford UK, Grub Street, 1990. ISBN 0-948817-19-4, ISBN 978-0-948817-19-9.

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