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Motto: Non nobis solum - Not for us alone.Badge: An erect dagger in front of a mullet.

No. 81 Squadron RAF was formed on 7 January 1917. It was initially established as a training unit. On 4 July 1918 it was disbanded before even being mobilised.

However, on 1 December 1939 the Communications Squadron at Mountjoie, Francemarker, was redesignated No. 81. Before the outbreak of the Second World War the squadron flew Tiger Moths. On 15 June 1940 the squadron was again disbanded when it returned to the United Kingdommarker subsequent to the German invasion of France.

No. 81 reformed at Leconfield on 29 July 1941 as a fighter Squadron and in September flew its Hurricanes off the carrier 'Argus' to a North Russian Airfield. After a few weeks of operations the Hurricanes were handed over to the Russians and the Squadron returned to the UK at the end of November. After receiving Spitfires at Turnhouse No. 81 became operational again on 1 February 1942 on defensive duties, moving to southern England to begin offensive sweeps in May. At the end of October the Squadron moved to Gibraltar and on 8 November 19 Spitfires moved to the newly captured airport at Algiers/Mason Blanche. Fighter cover for the 1st Army was provided throughout the campaign in Tunisia and in June 1943, the Squadron moved to Malta. It then moved to Italy in September but was withdrawn in November and sent to India. Operations began at Alipore in January 1944 and defensive and ground attack missions were flown until No. 81 was withdrawn to Ceylon until it disbanded on 20 June 1945.

On the same day No. 123 Squadron was renumbered as No. 81 but its Thunderbolts did not become operational before the war ended. In October, the Squadron was sent to Java for tactical reconnaissance duties and to provide cover for Allied road convoys against nationalist guerillas. On 30 June 1946, the Squadron was disbanded.

On 1 September 1946, No. 684 Squadron was renumbered as No. 81, and flew Mosquito and Spitfire photographic reconnaissance aircraft adding fighter-reconnaissance Spitfires in August 1947. Conversion to Meteor PR.10s began in September 1953 and on 1 April 1954, No. 81 flew the RAF's last operational Spitfire mission and on 15 December 1955, the last Mosquito mission. The Squadron converted to Canberras from Meteors in 1958 which were flown until the Squadron was disbanded on 16 January 1970.

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