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No. II (AC) Squadron
Active 13 May 1912 (RFC)
Role Reconnaissance
Garrison/HQ RAF Marham
Motto(s) "Hereward" (Guardian of the Army)
Equipment Tornado GR4A
Battle honours Western Front 1914–1918,
Neuve Chappelle,
Ypres 1915,
Somme 1916,
France and Low Countries 1939–1940,
Normandy 1944,
Gulf 1991,
Iraq 2003[1]
Commanding Officer Wing Commander J D Holmes MA RAF
Jock Stirrup
Squadron badge heraldry The RAF roundel (three concentric circles) over all a Wake knot
Post 1950 squadron roundel RAF 2 Sqn.svg

Not to be confused with No. 2 Squadron RAF Regiment

No. 2 Squadron, also known as No. II (AC) Squadron, of the Royal Air Force is the only squadron operating the Tornado GR4 and GR4A aircraft in a reconnaissance role. No. 2 Squadron's traditional Army Co-Operation role is reflected in the "AC" of its title, its motto Hereward (Guardian of the Army), and the symbol of a Wake knot on its crest. Its unofficial nickname is "Shiny Two".


Foundation until Armistice

Formed on 13 May 1912, along with 1 Sqn and 3 Sqn, 2 Sqn was a founder member of the Royal Flying Corps. The squadron's first commander was Major C J Burke.

From 26 February 1913 the squadron was based at Montrose, the first operational Royal Flying Corps base in the UK located just outside Montrose, Angus. This was established on the instructions of the First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill to protect the Royal Navy.[2] At Montrose the ghost story of Desmond Arthur spread around the flying corps.

The squadron was the first to fly the English Channel into France at the start of World War I.[3] Starting a role which continues to this day, the squadron spent the war on reconnaissance duties in France flying, amongst other aircraft, the B.E.2.

Although its principal role was not air to air combat, it still had one flying ace among its ranks in Arthur William Hammond.[4] It also numbered the first aviation Victoria Cross winners in its ranks, in Second Lieutenant Rhodes-Moorhouse and Lieutenant Alan Arnett McLeod.[5]

Between the World Wars

The squadron gained the AC in its title in the inter-war years, flying Army Co-operation (AC) sorties during the troubles around the partition of Ireland in the early 1920s. After time in China during 1927 the squadron re-equipped with the Armstrong Whitworth Atlas again on Army Co-operation work.

At the outbreak of World War II the unit was flying Lysanders. In France until the Dunkirk evacuation, the squadron equipped with fighters – the Tomahawk in 1940, the Mustang in 1942 and Spitfire Mk 14s in 1944

In July 1944, assigned to the 2nd Tactical Air Force, II (AC) Sqn returned to France, and the reconnaissance role, with Spitfire PR Mk 11s.

Post World War II

The squadron spent much of the Cold War in Germany as part of the Army of Occupation, flying various fighter types, including latterly Phantoms and then Jaguars. Elements of the squadron were deployed to the Gulf War. Along with much of the RAF, II (AC) Sqn withdrew from Germany after returning from the Gulf War – moving to RAF Marham in Norfolk with its Tornado GR1As. These were upgraded to the latest GR4 standard, with which the squadron deployed at part of Operation Telic over Iraq in 2003. The squadron has deployed on several occasions to maintain the Tornado GR4 detachment in Afghanistan, and saw action over Libya during Operation Ellamy/Operation Unified Protector.

Aircraft operated

2 Sqn. Mustang Is in 1942.

Swift FR5s of 2 Squadron in 1956.

No. 2 Sqn Jaguar GR.1s at RAF Wildenrath, Germany, in 1978.

Tornado GR4 in special markings for the 95th Anniversary of the squadron in 2007.


The following officers have had command of 2 Squadron:[6]

  • 13 May 1912 Major C J Burke
  • 10 November 1914 Major G W P Dawes
  • 8 March 1915 Major T I Webb-Bowen[7]
  • 2 June 1915 Major J H W Becke
  • 3 November 1915 Major C F de S.Murphy
  • 9 April 1916 Major R A Cooper
  • 16 August 1917 Major W R Snow
  • 28 August 1918 Major P G Ross-Hume
  • 12 November 1919 Squadron Leader B F More
  • 18 June 1920 Squadron Leader F W Stent
  • 16 August 1920 Squadron Leader A J Butler MC
  • 15 May 1922 Squadron Leader L F Forbes
  • 2 March 1925 Squadron Leader R E Saul[8]
  • 9 January 1927 Squadron Leader W Sowrey DFC MC
  • 1 April 1928 Squadron Leader H M Probyn
  • 29 September 1930 Squadron Leader S E Toomer DFC MC
  • 12 January 1933 Squadron Leader P F Fullard DSO MC AFC
  • 1 December 1933 Squadron Leader J H Green
  • 20 July 1935 Squadron Leader N L Despoer
  • 21 April 1938 Squadron Leader W A Opie
  • 29 April 1939 Squadron Leader A J W Geddes (Wing Commander from 1 March 1940)
  • 24 December 1941 Wing Commander P J A Riddell
  • 8 February 1943 Wing Commander P W Stansfeld
  • 29 June 1943 Squadron Leader B O C Egan-Wyer
  • 25 August 1943 Squadron Leader M J Gray DFC
  • 7 September 1944 Squadron Leader C A Maitland DFC
  • 25 March 1945 Squadron Leader R J F Mitchell DFC
  • 24 April 1946 Squadron Leader D W Barlow DFC
  • 15 December 1946 Squadron Leader G Collinson
  • 28 October 1948 Squadron Leader W A Newenham DFC
  • 6 February 1950 Squadron Leader L H Bartlett DSO
  • 1 November 1950 Squadron Leader R M Pugh AFC
  • 29 May 1953 Squadron Leader R H G Weighill DFC
  • 31 August 1955 Flight Lieutenant M C Newman
  • 15 November 1955 Squadron Leader R S Mortley AFC
  • 12 May 1958 Squadron Leader C A Wade
  • 16 September 1960 Squadron Leader C S MacDonald
  • 15 February 1962 Squadron Leader D L F Thornton
  • 13 December 1964 Squadron Leader N J R Walpole
  • 16 June 1967 Squadron Leader T Barrett
  • 11 November 1969 Squadron Leader R J M David
  • 7 December 1971 Wing Commander B A Stead
  • 2 December 1972 Wing Commander D H Warren
  • 8 May 1975 Wing Commander D C Ferguson
  • 1 April 1976 Wing Commander R A F Wilson
  • 6 January 1978 Wing Commander R Fowler AFC
  • 4 May 1980 Wing Commander T G Thorn AFC
  • 18 January 1983 Wing Commander F J Hoare AFC
  • 31 May 1985 Wing Commander G E Stirrup
  • 13 March 1987 Wing Commander P O Sturley
  • 1 January 1989 Wing Commander A Threadgould
  • 1 July 1991 Wing Commander B C Holding
  • 21 July 1993 Wing Commander R J Hounslow
  • 6 December 1993 Wing Commander C M Nickols
  • 26 April 1996 Wing Commander R F Garwood DFC
  • 27 November 1998 Wing Commander Steve J Hillier DFC
  • 15 September 2000 Wing Commander R M Poole
  • 2 May 2003 Wing Commander S Cockram
  • 25 September 2005 Wing Commander A Hine
  • 19 May 2008 Wing Commander J Turner DFC
  • January 2011 Wing Commander N A Tucker-Lowe DSO
  • January 2013 Wing Commander J D Holmes MA RAF


See also




  • Butcher, Percy Edwin. Skill and Devotion: A Personal Reminiscence of the Famous No. 2 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps. Hampton Hill, Middlesex, UK: Radio Modeller Book Division, 1971.
  • 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, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • Onderwater, Hans. Second to None: the History of No. II (Army Co-operation) Squadron RAF, 1912–2002. second edition, Airlife Publishing, UK. ISBN 1-84037-408-X. A third, centennial edition is now researched and written by the author for publishing in May 2012.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Coastal, Support and Special Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Jane's Publishing Company Ltd., 1982. ISBN 0-7106-0187-5.
  • 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.
  • Onderwater, J.G. Hans, Second to None; the History of No.II (AC) Squadron, Shrewsbury, Air Life Publishers, first edition 1992, second edition 2002. ISBN 1853103519. Third edition to be published in 2012 by the same author.

External links

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