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No. 76 Squadron RAF
Active 15 Sep 1916 (RFC) – 13 Jun 1919
12 Apr 1937 – 8 Apr 1940
30 Apr 1940 – 2 May 1940
1 May 1941 – 1 Sep 1946
9 Dec 1953 – 30 Dec 1960
1 May 2007 – 20 May 2011
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Role Fighter
Flying training
Motto(s) Resolute[1]
Wing Commander Leonard Cheshire
Squadron Badge heraldry In front of a rose, a lion passant, guardant.[1]
Squadron Codes NM (Oct 1938 – Apr 1939)[2]
MP (May 1941 – Sep 1946)[3]

No. 76 Squadron was a squadron of the Royal Air Force. It was formed during World War I as a home defence fighter squadron and in its second incarnation during World War II flew as a bomber squadron, first as an operational training unit and later as an active bomber squadron. With the end of the war the squadron converted to the role of transport squadron, to be reactivated shortly in the bomber role during the 1950s. From 2007 to 2011, it was a training unit, equipped with the Short Tucano at RAF Linton-on-Ouse.


First World War

No. 76 Squadron, RFC was formed at Ripon, Yorkshire for home defence duties on 15 September 1916 in the Yorkshire area, having detachments at Copmanthorpe, Helperby and Catterick.[1] It was equipped with Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2s and B.E.12s, these being replaced by Bristol F.2Bs in 1918. The squadron disbanded at Tadcaster on 13 June 1919, having seen no action during this part of its service life.[1]

Second World War

Wellesleys, Hampdens and Ansons

The squadron was next reformed at RAF Finningley on 12 April 1937 from 'B' Flight of No. 7 Squadron, equipped with Vickers Wellesley bombers. These were replaced by Handley Page Hampdens and Avro Ansons in April 1939, the unit moving to RAF Upper Heyford at the outbreak of war. It performed an operational training role until 8 April 1940, when it merged with No. 7 Squadron to form No. 16 Operational Training Unit (OTU).


76 Squadron Halifax at RAF Middleton St. George, later shot down attacking Magdeburg

The squadron reformed shortly on 30 April 1940 at RAF West Raynham as a Hampden unit before being disbanded on 2 May 1940.[4] On 1 May 1941, the squadron reformed properly at RAF Linton-on-Ouse as the second Handley Page Halifax bomber squadron, part of the newly created No. 4 Group, RAF Bomber Command. The Squadron moved to RAF Middleton St. George in June 1941, returning to Linton-on-Ouse in July 1942. The squadron moving again, this time to RAF Holme-on-Spalding Moor in June 1943 as part of a policy to allow the newly formed Canadian 6 Group to use the better equipped RAF stations that had been built pre-war.[5] The Squadron had a substantial number of Norwegian pilots and aircrew From August 1942 to April 1943, No 76 Squadron was commanded by Wing Commander Leonard Cheshire.


With the rest of No.4 Group, 76 Squadron was transferred to RAF Transport Command in May 1945, re-equipping with Dakotas, shortly thereafter moving to RAF Broadwell. It moved to India in September the same year, where it was disbanded on 1 September 1946 at Palam Airport by being re-numbered to No. 62 Squadron.


On 9 December 1953 the squadron reformed at RAF Wittering, equipped with Canberra B.2 bombers. The squadron moved in November 1955 to RAF Weston Zoyland, for Operation Grapple. Some of these aircraft were tasked with collecting air samples during the Operation Grapple nuclear trials in 1956/58. The squadron disbanded on 30 December 1960 at RAF Upwood.


The squadron remained dormant until 1 May 2007, when the Tucano Air Navigation Squadron at RAF Linton-on-Ouse was redesignated as No. 76 (Reserve) Squadron. In 2008, Prince William spent three months at Linton learning to fly.[6] The Squadron continued to train WSOs (Weapons Systems Officers) until December 2010, and was disbanded in May 2011.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Rawlings 1978, p. 192.
  2. Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 13.
  3. Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 73.
  4. Jefford 2001, p. 51.
  5. Hastings, Max Bomber Command Chapter 8 "76 Squadron" Pan 1999 p250
  6. RAF News
  7. Linton says farewell to Yorkshire’s historic 76 squadron
  • Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • Delve, Ken. The Source Book of the RAF. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1994. ISBN 1-85310-451-5.
  • 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.
  • Lake, Alan. Flying Units of the RAF: The ancestry, formation and disbandment of all flying units from 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1999. ISBN 1-84037-086-6.
  • 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.
  • 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 & Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1969 (2nd edition 1976, reprinted 1978). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.
  • Sturtivant, Ray, ISO and John Hamlin. RAF Flying Training And Support Units since 1912. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 2007. ISBN 0-85130-365-X.

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