No. 28 Squadron RAF
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|No. 28 Squadron RAF|
|28 Squadron badge|
|Active||7 November 1915 – present|
|Role||Battlefield Support Helicopter|
|Garrison/HQ||RAF Benson, Oxfordshire|
Quicquid agas ageLatin: "Whatsoever you may do, do"
|Battle honours||Italian Front and Adriatic 1917–1918, Piave, Vittoria Venito, Waziristan 1921–1925, North-West Frontier 1939, Burma 1942, Arakan 1943–1944, Manipur 1944, Burma 1944–1945.|
|Badge||In front of a demi-Pegasus, a fasces|
First World War
No. 28 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps was formed on 7 November 1915 at RAF Gosport. Initially a training squadron it became a fighter squadron equipped with the Sopwith Camel. After the end of the First World War it had claimed 136 victories. It numbered eleven flying aces among its ranks, including: future Air Vice-Marshal Clifford MacKay McEwen, William George Barker, Harold B. Hudson, James Hart Mitchell, Stanley Stanger, Arthur Cooper, Percy Wilson, Thomas Frederic Williams, and Joseph E. Hallonquist.
Inter war years
The squadron was disbanded on 20 January 1920 at RAF Eastleigh however on 1 April 1920 it was reformed at RAF Ambala with the Bristol F2b Fighter. During the 1920's and 30's it was moved to various bases within India and operated different aircraft including changing to the Westland Wapiti during September 1931 and the Hawker Audax during June 1936.
Second World War
Remaining in Asia, during the Second World War it flew the Westland Lysander from September 1941 and from December 1942 the Hawker Hurricane fighter-bomber. By 1943 the squadron was operating in Burma until July 1945 when it started to re-equip with the Supermarine Spitfire.
After the Second World War the squadron operated as a fighter-reconnaissance unit as part of the Far East Air Force, moving to RAF Kai Tak, Hong Kong in 1949 still with Spitfire's. Then on the squadron was regularly moved between Kai Tak and Sek Kong and from January 1951 the squadron was re-equipped with the de Havilland Vampire then the de Havilland Venom from February 1956. While at Kai Tak from May 1962 the squadron changed to flying Hawker Hunter FGA.9's until 2 January 1967 when it was disbanded.
The squadron was reformed on 1 March 1968 at Kai Tak from a detachment of No. 103 Squadron RAF operating Westland Whirlwind HC 10's .The Westland Wessex was introduced to the squadron from January 1972 and the Whirlwind's operated until August 1972. On 17 May 1978 the squadron moved to RAF Sek Kong and stayed until 1996. The squadron returned to Kai Tak from then until the British withdrawal in June 1997 and was the last RAF squadron to leave the territory.
The RAF ordered 22 Westland Merlin HC3 helicopters in March 1995, the first of which was received from GKNWestland, now AgustaWestland, on 7 March 2001. The squadron officially reformed on 17 July 2001 at RAF Benson, the first time in its recent history that the squadron had been stationed in the UK.
The squadron's first operational role with the Merlin was in support of SFOR at Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The aircraft and personnel deployed on 1 April 2003, the same day that an initial operational capability was declared for the Merlin. The detachment ceased on 31 March 2004 and the squadron then began to prepare for operations in Iraq.
The squadron's commitment to Operation TELIC began on 1 March 2005. Several aircraft and a mix of aircrew, engineers and support personnel from 28 (AC) Squadron and RAF Benson, deployed using the historic No. 1419 Flight RAF to replace the Chinook's of No. 1310 Flight RAF at Basrah Air Station, Iraq. In 2009 the squadron returned from Operation Telic and later on in the year deployed on Operation Herrick keeping the designation of 1419 Flight. The squadron returned during May 2013.
On 3 December 2007 the squadron was broken up to form the RAF Merlin Force which comprises 28 (AC) Squadron, the newly reallocated 78 Squadron and the Merlin Force Engineering Squadron. This followed the additional purchase of six Merlin HC3A from Denmark via AgustaWestland. The commensurate increase in aircrew and engineering personnel would have made a single Merlin squadron too unwieldy.
The squadron now consists of an HQ Flight, two Operational Flights and the Merlin Operational Conversion Flight. The current Squadron Commander is Wing Commander Ian Diggle RAF.
- Jefford MBE, Wg Cdr C G (1988). RAF Squadrons. A comprehensive record of the movement and equipment of all RAF squadrons and their antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury: Airlife. ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
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