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No. 16 Squadron is a flying squadron of the Royal Air Force. It formed in 1915 at Saint-Omermarker to carry out a mixture of offensive patrolling and reconnaissance and was disbanded in 1919 with the end of the First World War. The squadron reformed in 1924 and again took on a reconnaissance role which it continued throughout the Second World War.

Post-war, the squadron was disbanded and reformed several times and was converted to a bomber squadron. Equipped with the Tornado GR.1 from 1984 the squadron took part in the Gulf War in 1990. It was again disbanded in September 1991, before reforming in November 1991 as the Operational Conversion Unit for the Jaguar. With the Jaguar's imminent withdrawal from service, the squadron disbanded once more in 2005.

16 Squadron reformed again and took on its current role on 1 October 2008. Based at RAF Cranwellmarker, it instructs pilots in elementary flying using the Tutor.

History

Early Years

An observer of the Royal Flying Corps in a Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c reconnaissance aircraft demonstrates a C type aerial reconnaissance camera fixed to the side of the fuselage, 1916
The Squadron was formed at Saint-Omermarker, Francemarker on 10 February 1915 from elements of Nos. 2, 6 and 9 Squadrons. It immediately began fighting in the First World War under Hugh Dowding. For the rest of the Great War, the 'Saints' were deployed throughout Northern France and operated a mixture of aircraft including Bleriot XI, Martinsyde S.1 and Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c on offensive patrol and tactical reconnaissance duties. Disbandment occurred on New Year's Eve 1919 followed by reformation at Old Sarummarker on 1 April 1924. Initially the Bristol Fighter was operated in the tactical reconnaissance role and this was followed by the Atlas and Audax.

World War 2

RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk.PR.XIX painted in the colours of 16 Squadron, 2nd Tactical Air Force
In May 1938 the Lysander arrived and the Squadron continued in its tactical role in wartime France from April 1940. In November 1940 they returned to Englandmarker and conducted roving sea patrols searching for both downed aircrew and enemy forces. By April 1942, 16 Squadron was re-equipped with the P-51 Mustang and tasked to conduct fighter sweeps and reconnaissance duties over France, the Spitfire Mk V took over this role from January 1943. On 2 June 1943 the Squadron became part of the Strategic Reconnaissance Wing of the 2nd Tactical Air Force as a high-altitude photo reconnaissance unit with Spitfire PR Mk XIs based at Hartford Bridgemarker. In the build-up to D Day, No 16 supplied photographs instrumental to the planning of the Allied landings. Afterwards essential reconnaissance continued to be provided until the end of the war.

Into The Jet Age

A Royal Air Force Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer S2B aircraft in flight
16 Squadron was disbanded at Cellemarker on 1 April 1946 but reformed at Fassberg the same day and took the 24 cylinder Hawker Tempest Mk V on charge until converting to the radial-engined Mk II on 7 June 1946. On 7 December 1948 No. 16 took delivery of its first jet aircraft, the de Havilland Vampire FB.5, which gave way to the de Havilland Venom FB.1 in November 1954 until disbandment at Celle once more on 1 June 1957.

As East-West relations cooled, the Squadron reformed at Laarbruch on 1 March 1958 and would remain there until 1991. 16 Squadron maintained a permanent readiness state, tasked with meeting the Soviet threat, in the expected conventional phase and with the use of tactical nuclear weapons. The Canberra B(I).8 equipped with dual-key nuclear weapons was operated for 14 years but gave way to the Buccaneer S.2B on 16 October 1972. The squadron's twelve Buccaneers were equipped with a variety of conventional weapons and eighteen British WE.177 nuclear bombs. Although Buccaneers could carry two WE.177 weapons, after taking into account attrition in the conventional phase of a high-intensity European war, and after withholding some aircraft in reserve, RAF planners expected that squadron strength remaining would still be sufficient to deliver the nuclear weapons stockpile. The Buccaneer distinguished itself in many bombing exercises, among its victories included winning the Salmond Trophy in 1978 and 1979. The Squadron re-equipped with the Tornado GR.1 in 1984, retaining its role in countering a Soviet threat in Europe with conventional weapons and eighteen WE.177 nuclear bombs. A similar ratio of 1.5 weapons per aircraft as with the Buccaneer.

Ahead of Operation Granby in 1990 and the first Gulf War the squadron deployed temporarily to Tabukmarker airbase. No. 16 was the lead squadron in a deployment with No. 20 and crews from other Tornado GR.1 squadrons. The Tabuk Force used JP233s and 1,000 lb bombs on low-level sorties against Iraqimarker airfields and other targets. Some of the Squadron's aircraft later formed a TIALD flight that conducted accurate medium-level bombing. Following hostilities, the Squadron disbanded on 11 September 1991 but reformed in November at RAF Lossiemouthmarker as No. 16(R) Squadron, a reserve squadron and an Operational Conversion Unit, replacing and taking over the aircraft and weapons of 226 OCU, training and converting new pilots for the Jaguar. Although no longer a front-line operational squadron, as a reserve, or shadow squadron, its twelve aircraft were equipped with conventional weapons and eight WE.177 nuclear weapons for use in a high-intensity European war, and it remained assigned to SACEUR for that purpose.

Although a non-operational squadron, its pilots were still involved in Operation DENY FLIGHT and Operation NORTHERN WATCH. The Squadron moved to Coltishallmarker in the summer of 2000 but disbanded on 11 March 2005 as the Jaguar approached retirement. The Squadron Standard was laid up in Notre-Dame Cathedral Saint-Omermarker, Francemarker on 20 March 2005 where it remains today - once laid up in a place of worship, a Standard can never be removed.

Current Role

16 Squadron's 'Saint' logo.
The nickname stems from the original formation at Saint Omer.
In the past, the logo has been painted onto 16 Squadron aircraft and worn as a badge on the flying suits.
The badge is presented to student pilots after their first solo sortie.
On 1 October 2008, the Squadron was reformed at RAF Cranwellmarker as part of 22 Group operating the Grob Tutor. 16(Reserve) Squadron continues its training role by instructing new Royal Air Force pilots in Elementary Flying Training (EFT) as part of 1 EFTS. From 2005 to 2008 the unit was previously known as 1 Squadron, 1 EFTS following a restructuring of the RAF's pilot training. 16(R) Squadron instructs a third of the RAF's new pilots and some pilots from overseas; the rest are shared between 57 Squadron at RAF Wytonmarker and 85 Squadron at RAF Church Fentonmarker. The Squadrons' role is to provide pilots to the more advanced flying training courses on their way to earning the coveted pilot wings and joining the front line. In early 2008, Prince William took his first steps on his aviation career at No. 16 Squadron's site flying his first solo sortie in Tutor G-BYXN; his father was also taught to fly at RAF Cranwell in 1971.

Prior to joining one of the three EFT Squadrons, trainee pilots will have completed Initial Officer Training (IOT) at RAF College Cranwellmarker and are all commissioned officers. Some pilots arrive with no previous military flying experience but others have accrued a number of flying hours during time with a University Air Squadron. Additionally, a number of international pilots are trained to the same standards as RAF pilots. Mainly from the Middle-East, they typically undergo an English language course at York St John University before completing IOT with their RAF colleagues at RAF College Cranwell. Recent international students include pilots from the Air Forces of Iraqmarker, Kuwaitmarker, Saudi Arabiamarker and Qatarmarker.

A 16(R) Squadron student pilot flies his first solo formation sortie.
Following an intensive ground school, the EFT course covers the rudiments of flying, stalling and circuits with the pilots flying their first solo after just 10 hours of tuition. They then advance to spinning, aerobatics, instrument flying, formation flying and low level navigation. As the course progresses, emergency handling and airmanship are introduced, this includes simulated engine failures and the use of emergency frequencies. EFT culminates in the Final Handling Test which is a composite sortie comprising any elements taught during the course.

After FHT and approximately 60 hours of flying, successful pilots are selected according to their capability, service need and personal preference to one of the three advanced flying training streams - Fast Jet, Rotary Wing or Multi-Engine. Those selected for Fast Jet training move to RAF Linton-on-Ousemarker to fly the Tucano with either No. 72 Squadron or No. 207 Squadron, successful pilots then move to RAF Valleymarker to fly the Hawk. Prospective Rotary Wing pilots go to the DHFSmarker to fly the Squirrel and Griffin. Multi-Engine pilots remain at RAF Cranwellmarker and move across the airfield to No. 45 Squadron and fly the Firefly and King Air.

Aircraft Operated

From
To
Manufacturer
Aircraft
February 1915
March 1915
Royal Aircraft Factorymarker
R.E.5
February 1915
March 1915
Vickers
F.B.5
February 1915
March 1915
Blériot
XI
February 1915
May 1915
Martinsyde
S.1
March 1915
May 1915
Voisin
III
March 1915
May 1917
Royal Aircraft Factory
B.E.2c
May 1915
November 1917
Farman Aviation Works
S.11
March 1915
December 1919
Royal Aircraft Factory
R.E.8
1924
1931
Bristol Aeroplane Company
F.2 Fighter
1931
1934
Armstrong Whitworth
Atlas
1934
1938
Hawker
Audax
1938
1942
Westland
Lysander
1942
1944
North American Aviation
P-51 Mustang
1944
1946
Supermarine
Spitfire Mk.XI
1946
1948
Hawker
Tempest V
1948
1948
Hawker
Tempest II
1948
1954
de Havilland
Vampire FB.5
1954
1957
de Havilland
Venom FB.1
1958
1972
English Electric
Canberra B.8
1972
1984
Blackburn
Buccaneer S.2B
1984
1991
Panavia
Tornado GR.1
1991
2005
SEPECAT
Jaguar GR.1 and GR.3
2008
Present
Grobmarker
Tutor

Commanding officers

From
To
Rank
Name
8 February 1915
23 July 1915
Major
F V Holt
23 July 1915
January 1916
Major
H C T Dowding
January 1916
5 August 1916
Major
D W Powell
5 August 1916
16 June 1917
Major
P C Maltby
16 June 1918
June 1918
Major
C F A PortalDSO and Bar MC
June 1918
1919
Major
A W C V Parr
1924
1925
Squadron Leader
J O Archer CBE
1925
1928
Squadron Leader
W A Coryton MVO
1928
1931
Squadron Leader
D O Mulholland AFC
1931
1933
Squadron Leader
A R Churchman DFC
1933
1934
Squadron Leader
J R I Scrambler AFC
1934
1936
Squadron Leader
R P Musgrave-Whitman OBE MC
1936
1938
Squadron Leader
T Humble
1938
1939
Squadron Leader
R E S Skelton
1940
1940
Wing Commander
T Humble
1940
1941
Wing Commander
R C Hancock
1941
1942
Wing Commander
P W Stansfeld
1942
1942
Wing Commander
A F Pallot
1942
1943
Wing Commander
J R Davenport
1943
1943
Wing Commander
R I M Bowen DFC
1943
1943
Squadron Leader
Mackie
1943
1944
Squadron Leader
E M Goodale DSO
1944
1945
Squadron Leader
A N Davies DFC
1945
1946
Squadron Leader
A S Baker DFC
1946
1948
Squadron Leader
D C Usher DFC DFM
1948
1948
Squadron Leader
R E Mooney
1948
1949
Squadron Leader
L A Malins DSO DFC
1949
1951
Squadron Leader
L H Lambert DFC AFC
1951
1952
Squadron Leader
J E J Sing DFC
1952
1952
Squadron Leader
R H Benwell
1952
1954
Squadron Leader
R U P De Burgh
1954
1956
Squadron Leader
G G G Walkington
1956
1956
Squadron Leader
C E Keay
1956
1958
Flight Lieutenant
H E Clements
1958
1960
Wing Commander
J R Forsythe DFC
1960
1963
Wing Commander
J E Holland DFC
1963
1964
Wing Commander
J V Horwood
1964
1966
Wing Commander
A L Bennett
1966
1968
Wing Commander
J C Newby
1968
1970
Wing Commander
L C Swalwell
1970
1973
Wing Commander
K J Appleboom
1973
1975
Wing Commander
R A Edwards
1975
1977
Wing Commander
W I C Stoker
1977
1980
Wing Commander
D Cousins AFC
1980
1983
Wing Commander
P C Norriss
1983
1984
Wing Commander
E R Cox
1984
1986
Wing Commander
R H Goodall AFC
1986
1988
Wing Commander
R F R Carr
1988
1991
Wing Commander
I Travers Smith DSO
1991
1992
Wing Commander
N C Rusling
1992
1995
Wing Commander
J W White
1995
1997
Wing Commander
B W Newby AFC
1997
2000
Wing Commander
A J Sudlow MBE
2000
2002
Wing Commander
P Allan
2002
2005
Wing Commander
G Stockill
2008
2009
Squadron Leader
I S Smith
2009
Present
Squadron Leader
S J Foote

Stations

From

To

Location

Notes
10 February 1915
5 March 1915
Saint-Omermarker
Formation.
6 March 1915
31 May 1915
La Gorguemarker
Detachment to Airemarker.

Battle of Neuve Chapelle began 10 March 1915.
1 June 1915
17 July 1915
Choques
18 July 1915
11 December 1915
Mervillemarker
Battle of Loos between 25 and 28 September 1915.
12 December 1915
30 August 1916
La Gorguemarker
31 August 1916
24 May 1917
Bruaymarker
Battle of the Somme between 1 July and 18 November 1916.
25 May 1917
20 October 1918
Camblain-l'Abbemarker
21 October 1918
24 October 1918
La Brayelle
25 October 1918
13 February 1918
Auchy
14 February 1918
31 December 1918
Fowlmeremarker
Disbanded following cessation of hostilities.
1 April 1924
16 February 1940
Old Sarummarker
Reformed as Army co-operation squadron.1938 - First squadron to operate the Lysander.
17 February 1940
12 April 1940
Hawkingemarker
13 April 1940
13 April 1940
Amiensmarker
14 April 1940
18 May 1940
Bertanglesmarker
Battle of France commenced 10 May 1940.
19 May 1940
2 June 1940
Lympnemarker
Dunkirk evacuation between 26 May and 4 June 1940.
3 June 1940
28 June 1940
Redhillmarker
First RAF squadron to operate there.
29 June 1940
2 August 1940
Cambridgemarker
3 August 1940
14 August 1940
Okehamptonmarker
Detachment to Cambridge.
15 August 1940
3 June 1941
Western Zoylandmarker
Detachments to Okehampton, Roboroughmarker, Tilsheadmarker, St Just and Bolt Headmarker.

Battle of Britain occurred between 10 July and 31 October 1940.
4 June 1941
5 June 1941
Okehampton
6 June 1941
8 September 1941
Weston Zoyland
Detachments to Lee-on-Solentmarker and Tilshead.
9 September 1941
10 September 1941
Okehampton
11 September 1941
24 September 1941
Weston Zoyland
25 September 1941
2 October 1941
Thruxton
3 October 1941
22 November 1941
Weston Zoyland
Detachment to Farnboroughmarker.
23 November 1941
26 November 1941
Lympne
27 November 1941
31 December 1942
Weston Zoyland
Detachment to Okehampton.
1 January 1943
25 February 1943
Andovermarker
26 February 1943
12 March 1943
Fordmarker
13 March 1943
5 April 1943
Andover
6 April 1943
8 April 1943
Weston Zoyland
9 April 1943
15 May 1943
Andover
16 May 1943
21 May 1943
Weston Zoyland
22 May 1943
31 May 1943
Andover
1 June 1943
28 June 1943
Middle Wallopmarker
29 June 1943
15 April 1944
Hartford Bridgemarker
Operated in Strategic Reconnaissance Wing of the 2nd Tactical Air Force.
16 April 1944
19 September 1945
Northoltmarker
D-Day on 6 June 1944. Disbanded following cessation of hostilities.
19 September 1945
1 April 1946
Cellemarker
Reformed and disbanded. Renumbered from 268 Squadron.
1 April 1946
31 May 1946
Fassbergmarker
Reformed from 56 Squadron.
1 June 1946
11 June 1946
Manstonmarker
12 June 1946
20 June 1946
Fassberg
21 June 1946
13 July 1946
Syltmarker
14 July 1946
4 September 1946
Fassberg
5 September 1946
15 September 1946
Manston
16 September 1946
3 February 1947
Fassberg
4 February 1947
20 March 1947
Gatowmarker
21 March 1947
7 May 1947
Fassberg
8 May 1947
19 May 1947
Ahlhornmarker
20 May 1947
12 July 1947
Fassberg
13 July 1947
11 August 1947
Zeltwegmarker
12 August 1947
5 October 1947
Fassberg
6 October 1947
16 October 1947
Middle Wallop
17 October 1947
2 November 1947
Fassberg
3 November 1947
23 November 1947
Lübeckmarker
24 November 1947
31 November 1947
Fassberg
1 December 1947
5 January 1948
Güterslohmarker
6 January 1948
1 February 1948
Gatow
2 February 1948
13 July 1948
Gütersloh
Berlin Airlift begins on 24 June 1948.
14 July 1948
6 August 1948
Lübeck
7 August 1948
1 November 1950
Gütersloh
Berlin Airlift ends 11 May 1949.
2 November 1950
1 June 1957
Celle
Disbanded.
1 March 1958
6 June 1972
Laarbruch
Cuban Missile Crisis between 8 and 28 October 1962.
8 Jan 1973
29 Feb 1984
Laarbruch
1 Mar 1984
11 Sep 1991
Laarbruch
Squadron took part in Operation GRANBY.
1 November 1991
20 July 2000
Lossiemouthmarker
Became a Reserve squadron as Jaguar OCU.
21 July 2000
11 March 2005
Coltishallmarker
Coltishall, the last surviving operational RAF base involved in the Battle of Britain, closed on 30 November 2006.
1 October 2008
Present
Cranwellmarker
Elementary flying training.

See also



References

  1. The squadron has been known as the 'Saints' due to its formation at Saint Omer, the unofficial stickman logo from the novels and TV series was adopted in the 1960s. This logo could be found on many 16 Squadron aircraft and as badges worn on the right arm of flying suits.
  2. RAF nuclear front line Order-of-Battle 1973
  3. RAF nuclear front line Order-of-Battle 1984
  4. Weapon overview @ www.nuclear-weapons.info/vw.htm#WE.177 Carriage
  5. RAF nuclear frontline Order-of-Battle 1992
  6. RAF nuclear frontline Order-of-Battle 1993
  7. RAF nuclear frontline Order-of-Battle 1994
  8. KCB awarded in 2000.


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