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No. 63 Squadron

History

In World War I

No. 63 Squadron was formed on 31 August 1916 at Stirlingmarker, Scotlandmarker as a squadron of the Royal Flying Corps. The squadron was intended to operate as a day-bomber unit over the Western Front in France, and was therefore equipped with de Havilland DH4 aircraft; however at the last minute the squadron was re-tasked to operate against the Turkish army in Mesopotamia (Iraqmarker) and was re-equipped with R.E.8's for its new mission, when the squadron arrived in the Middle East in August 1917. No. 63 Squadron remained in Mesopotamia for the rest of the war, and it was disbanded in 1920.

Prelude to war

In February 1937, now as a Royal Air Force unit, the squadron was refounded at Andovermarker, Hampshire as a bomber unit, and three months later became the first unit to receive the Fairey Battle aircraft. Early in 1939 the unit was assigned an aircrew training role, and received a number of Avro Ansons, but the unit lost its separate identity in April 1940 when it became a part of No. 12 OTU.

In World War II

On 15 June 1942 No. 63 Squadron was reformed from part of No. 239 Squadron at Gatwickmarker, Sussex, and commenced flying from Odihammarker with Alison engined Mustang in January 1943. In January 1944 the squadron moved to Turnhouse in Scotland and was re-equipped with Hawker Hurricanes in April 1944, converting to Spitfire Vs in early May '44. By the end of September the squadron was based at Lee on Solent, preparing for D-Day. during the allied landings 63 Squadron flew spotter flights above the Royal Navy, providing a form of Forward Air Control (FAC) for the naval gunners supporting the troops on land. The pilots of the squadron at this stage were drawn from former Army co-operation units, the Royal Marines and the Fleet Air Arm as well as the RAF. In September 1944 the squadron re located to North Weald. The squadron was disbanded on 30 January 1945.

Post-war: enter the jets

No. 164 Squadron was renumbered as No. 63 Squadron on 1 September 1946, using Spitfires. In April 1948 the squadron was re-equipped with Gloster Meteor jet fighters. The squadron moved to Waterbeachmarker, Cambridgeshire, in May 1950, where it remained until it was disbanded on 31 October 1958, having operated Hawker Hunter fighters for the last two years. 63 Squadron reformed as a 'Shadow' unit for the Day Fighter Combat Squadron of the Central Fighter Establishment from 30 November 1958 until 1 June 1963. On the same day the number was transferred to No 229 OCU as the 'Shadow' designation for one of its constituent squadrons. On 2 September 1970 No 229 OCU was re-designated as a Tactical Weapons Unit and 63 squadron remained one of its 'Shadow' units. 63 squadron was transferred to No 2 TWU on 1 August 1980 operating BAe Hawk and when that unit was redesignated No 7 FTS on 1 April 1992, 63 Squadron remained a component part until 23 September 1992; when 63 Squadron last disbanded and its role was transferred to 19 Squadron.

Aircraft operated



References

Notes

  1. Halley 1988, p. 129.
  2. Jefford 2001, p. 48.

Bibliography

  • 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, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • Rawlings, John. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd., 1969 (second edition 1976). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.


External links



From
To
Aircraft
Version
Jul 1916
June 1917
various
Aug 1917
Dec 1919
Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2
B.E.2e
Aug 1917
Apr 1919
de Havilland DH4
Aug 1917
Feb 1918
Bristol Scout
Aug 1917
Apr 1918
Spad S.7
Sep 1917
Feb 1920
Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8
Sep 1917
Aug 1919
Martinsyde G.102
Jan 1919
Dec 1919
Bristol M.1
M.1c
Feb 1919
Apr 1919
Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5
S.E.5a
May 1919
Aug 1919
Sopwith Camel
Feb 1937
Mar 1937
Hawker Hind
Mar 1937
Jun 1937
Hawker Audax


May 1937
Apr 1940
Fairey Battle
Mar 1939
Apr 1940
Avro Anson
Mk.I
Jun 1942
May 1944
P-51 Mustang
Mk.I, Ia
Mar 1944
May 1944
Hawker Hurricane
Mk.IIc, Mk.IV
Mar 1944
Jan 1945
Supermarine Spitfire
Mk.Vb
Sep 1946
Mar 1948
Supermarine Spitfire
LF.16e
Apr 1948
Jun 1948
Gloster Meteor
F.3
Jun 1948
Jan 1951
Gloster Meteor
F.4
Dec 1950
Jan 1957
Gloster Meteor
F.8
Nov 1956
Sep 1992
Hawker Hunter
various
Aug 1980
Sep 1992
BAE Hawk

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