No. 70 Squadron RAF
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No. 70 Squadron RAF

No. LXX Squadron RAF
Squadron badge
  • 22 Apr 1916 - 2 Jan 1920
  • 1 Feb 1920 - 31 Mar 1946
  • 15 Apr 1946 - 1 Apr 1947
  • 1 May 1948 - 8 Sep 2010
  • 1 Oct 2014 - present
CountryUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
BranchAir Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Air Force
TypeFlying squadron
RoleStrategic and tactical air transport
Part ofNo. 2 Group RAF
Home stationRAF Brize Norton
(Latin for 'Anywhwere)[1]
AircraftAirbus A400M Atlas C1
Battle honours * Honours marked with an asterisk may be emblazoned on the Squadron Standard
Wing Commander Lee Roberts
Squadron badge heraldryA demi-wing lion erased. Developed from an unofficial winged lion badge probably derived from the squadron's long dependence on the Napier Lion engine during the 1920s.

No.70 or LXX Squadron RAF provides strategic transport.


First World War

The squadron was formed on 22 April 1916 at Farnborough, and was equipped with the Sopwith 1½ Strutter. The squadron was posted to France, and in 1917 re-equipped with Sopwith Camels.[2]

A Sopwith 1½ Strutter #A1924 of 70th Squadron RAF. Wrecked 20 October 1916

During World War I, the squadron claimed 287 victories, and had as members nineteen aces, including Frank Granger Quigley, John Todd, Frank Hobson, Oscar Heron, Frank Gorringe, Walter M. Carlaw, George Robert Howsam, Clive Franklyn Collett, Alfred Michael Koch, Kenneth Bowman Watson, Noel Webb, Edward Gribben, and Frederic Laurence.[3]

Inter-war years

The squadron briefly disbanded in January 1920, reforming nine days later at Heliopolis, Egypt, via the renumbering of No. 58 Squadron. The squadron was now a bomber-transport unit operating the Vickers Vimy bomber. After transferring to Hinaidi, Iraq in December 1921, the squadron was re-equipped with Vickers Vernons and subsequently by Vickers Victoria in 1926. In addition to providing heavy transport facilities to both air and ground units they were used as air ambulances and were responsible for maintaining the Cairo-Baghdad airmail route.[4] The squadron was commanded by Group Captain Eric Murray DSO MC. In 1929, he flew the first route to the Cape on behalf of Imperial Airways who were seeking routes for the civil flights.[5]

In December 1928, a coup against the Amir of Afghanistan by Habibullah Kalakani supported by Ghilzai peoples led to the first large scale air evacuation, the Kabul Airlift. Over two months Victoria troop-carriers of 70 squadron played central role in the airlift of 586 British and European officials and civilians flying over mountains at a height of up to 10,000 feet (3,000 m) often in severe weather.[6]

The Valentia replaced the Victorias in November 1934. 70 squadron is recorded as being based at RAF Habbaniya from 1937-9 and in August 1939, it returned to Egypt.[7]

Second World War

After Italy entered the war the squadron converted to Vickers Wellingtons, and began operations over the Western Desert.[7]

In 1940 A detachment was sent to Tatoi, in support of Allied forces defending Greece and in 1941 the squadron was involved in the campaign to conquer Vichy-occupied Syria and the Rashid Ali rebellion in Iraq.[8]

70 Squadron relocated frequently in support of the 8th Army's westward advance, first into Libya then Tunisia. In November 1943 it relocated to Djedeida 20 miles west of Tunis putting industrial targets in the North of Italy, within easy reach. Between December 1943 and October 1945 the squadron relocated to Foggia, Italy where the Wellington's were replaced by the long range Liberators.[8]

Post World War II

Armstrong Whitworth Argosy C.1 of 70 Squadron RAF named Horatius in 1971

The squadron disbanded in April 1947 and was reformed in May 1948, at RAF Kabrit, Egypt when No. 215 Squadron was renumbered No. 70 Squadron. The squadron was equipped with Douglas Dakotas until 1950, when it re-equipped with Vickers Valettas. In 1955, the squadron moved to RAF Nicosia, Cyprus and re-equipped with the Handley Page Hastingss, Vickers Valetta and later used the Percival Pembroke twin engined communication aircraft. In 1966 the squadron moved to RAF Akrotiri. While there they won the Lord Trophy at RAF El Adem in competition with five other medium range transport squadrons. After a brief period operating Armstrong Whitworth Argosy C.1s, the squadron began conversion to the Lockheed C-130 Hercules in 1970, and moved to RAF Lyneham in 1975, after 55 years overseas. After 35 years of operating the Hercules C1/C3 from Lyneham, the squadron disbanded in September 2010.[9]

The squadron reformed on 1 October 2014 and was officially "stood up" on 24 July 2015 by presentation with a new standard by Princess Anne[10] becoming the Royal Air Force's first frontline A400M squadron.[11]

Aircraft operated


Dates Aircraft Variant Notes
1916-1917 Sopwith 1½ Strutter Single-engined biplane fighter
1917-1919 Sopwith Camel Single-engined biplane fighter
1919 Sopwith Snipe Single-engined biplane fighter
1920 Handley Page 0/400 Twin-engined biplane bomber
1920-1922 Vickers Vimy Twin-engined biplane bomber
1922-1926 Vickers Vernon Twin-engined biplane transport
Vickers Victoria I
Twin-engined biplane transport
1935-1940 Vickers Valentia Twin-engined biplane transport
Vickers Wellington III
Twin-engined medium bomber
1945-1946 Consolidated Liberator VI Four-engined bomber
1946-1947 Avro Lancaster B1(FE) Four-engined bomber
1948-1950 Douglas Dakota Twin-engined transport
1950-1956 Vickers Valetta C1 Twin-engined transport
1956-1968 Handley Page Hastings C1 and C2 Four-engined transport
1967-1975 Armstrong Whitworth Argosy C1 Four-engined transport
1970-1980 Lockheed Hercules C1 Four-engined transport
1980-2010 Lockheed Hercules C3 Four-engined transport
2014-present Airbus A400M Atlas C1 Four-engined transport

See also


  1. ^ Pine, L.G. (1983). A dictionary of mottoes (1 ed.). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 243. ISBN 0-7100-9339-X.
  2. ^ Bruce 1965, p. 6
  3. ^ "70 Squadron". The Aerodrome. 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  4. ^ Keith, Claude Hilton (1937). The Flying Years. Page John Hamilton Limited.
  5. ^ Sprigg, T. Stanhope; Sedorski, M. Glen (1933). "1933 Who's Who in British Aviation". London: Airways Publications.
  6. ^ 80th anniversary of RAF`s evacuation of Kabul Archived 26 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ a b "No. 70 Squadron". RAF Museum. Retrieved 2019.
  8. ^ a b "No. 70 Squadron (RAF) during the Second World War". 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  9. ^ "LXX Squadron Stand Down". Royal Air Force. 10 September 2010. Archived from the original on 10 June 2016. Retrieved 2015.
  10. ^ "LXX Squadron Stand-Up". Royal Air Force. 24 July 2015. Archived from the original on 10 June 2016. Retrieved 2015.
  11. ^ Patton, Stu (Summer 2017). Hunter, Chris (ed.). "Deterrence at Distance: Air Power and Conventional Deterrence in the Emerging Global Environment". Air Power Review. Shrivenham: Royal Air Force. 20 (2): 156. ISSN 1463-6298.
  12. ^ Jefford (1988), p.46
  • Bruce, J.M. (1965). Aircraft Profile No. 31. The Sopwith Camel F.1". Profile Publications.
  • Jefford, C.G. (1988). RAF Squadrons. Airlife Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
  • Moyes, Philip (1964). Bomber Squadrons of the R.A.F. and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald & Co. (Publishers) Ltd.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Rawlings, John D.R. (1982). Coastal, Support and Special Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Jane's Publishing Company. ISBN 0-7106-0187-5.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Shores, Christopher; Massimello, Giovanni; Guest, Russell (2012). A History of the Mediterranean Air War 1940-1945: Volume One: North Africa: June 1940 - January 1942. London: Grub Street. ISBN 978-1-908117-07-6.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Shores, Christopher; Massimello, Giovanni; Guest, Russell; Olynyk, Frank; Bock, Winfried (2012). A History of the Mediterranean Air War 1940-1945: Volume Two: North African Desert February 1942 - March 1943. London: Grub Street. ISBN 978-1-909166-12-7.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link).

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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