No. 113 Squadron RAF


No. 113 Squadron RAF
Active1 Aug 1917 – 1 Feb 1920
18 May 1937 – 15 Oct 1945
1 Sep 1946 – 1 Apr 1947
1 May 1947 – 1 Sep 1948
22 Jul 1959 – 10 Jul 1963
CountryUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
BranchEnsign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
RoleArmy cooperation
Missile operation
Nickname(s)'Crusader Squadron'
Motto(s)Latin: Velox et vindex
("Swift to vengeance")[1][2][3]
EngagementsSinai and Palestine Campaign
Squadron Badge heraldryIn front of a cross potent, between four like crosses, two swords in saltire, the points uppermost[3]
The crosses are from the arms of Jerusalem. The swords reflect the unit's service in defence of the Holy Land[1][2]
Squadron CodesBT (Apr 1939 – Sep 1939)[4][5]
VA (Sep 1939 – Sep 1943)[1]
AD (Apr 1945 – Oct 1945)[6][7]

No. 113 Squadron began service in 1917 with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force commanded by General Edmund Allenby. Initially, the squadron was a unit of the Royal Flying Corps, serving during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign and as a reconnaissance, army cooperation, bomber, fighter, transport and missile operation squadron during its existence.


Formation in World War I as reconnaissance unit

No. 113 Squadron was formed on 1 August 1917 at what became RAF Ismailia, Egypt, as a corps reconnaissance and army co-operation unit, taking over duties of trench reconnaissance from No. 1 Squadron Australian Flying Corps, otherwise known as 67 (Australian) Squadron RFC.[8] In September it began tactical reconnaissance and artillery spotting missions over Palestine, where it remained until the end of World War I. The squadron returned to Egypt on 16 February 1919 and a year later it was disbanded by being renumbered to No. 208 Squadron RAF on 1 February 1920.[3]

1937 – 1945

No. 113 reformed at RAF Upper Heyford on 18 May 1937 as a day bomber unit, equipped with Hawker Hinds. In April 1938 it left for the Middle East, converting to the Bristol Bisley/Blenheim in June 1939. After Italy joined the war, on 11 June 1940 the unit participated in the first attack by the RAF on the Italian air force base at El Adem, where 18 aircraft were destroyed or damaged on the ground, against the loss of three British aircraft from three squadrons.[9] On 12 June 1940 the squadron participated in an attack on Tobruk, damaging the Italian cruiser San Giorgio.[10] The squadron then moved to Greece in March 1941. There it was overtaken by the German invasion and lost all its aircraft, the squadron personnel being evacuated to Crete and Egypt. Bombing operations in North Africa resumed in June 1941.

No. 113 Squadron was selected for a special operation in November 1941, as Allied ground forces began Operation Crusader. From a temporary airfield behind enemy lines in Libya – LG-215 (at 30°18′5″N 22°54′0″E) which had been prepared by the Long Range Desert Group – the squadron was to attack Axis rear area supply lines. The Blenheims were escorted by Hurricanes from No. 33 Squadron RAF. Their aircraft were spotted by a German reconnaissance flight on 21 November, and the following day LG-215 was attacked by Ju 88s, resulting in damage to many of the Blenheims.[11] The operation was considered to be a success,[citation needed] and No. 113 Squadron afterwards flew to Ma'aten Bagush, Egypt beyond the range of German bombers.[12]

After the outbreak of war with Japan the squadron was redeployed to Burma. At this point it was made up predominantly of personnel from other Commonwealth countries, particularly personnel from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF),[13] and was commanded by a Rhodesian, Wing Commander Reginald Stidolph, DFC. It arrived in Burma on 7 January 1942 and immediately participated in the first allied bombing attack on Bangkok.[14] A second raid was undertaken on 24 January. The squadron suffered heavy casualties while attacking Japanese columns in Burma and the survivors withdrew to Calcutta in March. From Assam, No. 113 bombed Japanese communications and airfields. At least 16 RAAF personnel were killed in action with the squadron as a Blenheim unit in Burma and India.[13]

In March 1943 the squadron was reformed as a ground-attack unit and converted to Hurricanes. These were replaced by Thunderbolts in April 1945. The squadron was disbanded following the war's end, on 15 October 1945.[3]

Post war reformations as a transport squadron

On 1 September 1946 No. 620 Squadron RAF at RAF Aqir was renumbered to No. 113 Squadron RAF and was engaged in transport duties with Halifax A.7s until disbanded on 1 April 1947. The squadron reformed on 1 May 1947 at RAF Fairford now flying Douglas Dakotas alongside Halifax A.9s, being disbanded on 1 September 1948.[3]

On Thor missiles

The squadron was reformed – as 113 (SM) Squadron – on 22 July 1959 as one of 20 Strategic Missile (SM) squadrons associated with Project Emily. The squadron was equipped with three Thor Intermediate range ballistic missiles, based at RAF Mepal.

In October 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the squadron was kept at full readiness, with the missiles aimed at strategic targets in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The squadron was disbanded on 10 July 1963, with the termination of the Thor Program in Britain.

Commanding officers

Name Dates Notes
Major S.R. McCrindle October 1918-February 1920
Name Dates Notes
Squadron Leader G. Bartholomew May 1937–December 1937 Later Air Commodore and British Air Attache to Turkey.
Died in flying accident, Ankara, August 1949.[15]
Wing Commander F.G. Cator January 1938-March 1939 Group Captain Cator CBE retired in 1951.
Squadron Leader G.B. Keily DFC AFC March 1939–July 1940 PoW Libya September 1940. Retired as Air Commodore 1952.[16]
Squadron Leader R.N. Bateson DFC Sep 1940-January 1941 Retired as Air Vice-Marshal, CB DSO & Bar DFC, August 1967.[17]
Squadron Leader R.H. Spencer February 1941–August 1941
Wing Commander R.N. Stidolph March 1941-April 1942
Wing Commander J.F. Grey April 1942-July 1942
Wing Commander E.L.A. Walter DFC AFC July 1942-December 1942
Wing Commander W.L. Jones DFC December 1942–July 1943
Major J.L.B. Viney SAAF July–August 1943
Squadron Leader I.L.B Aitkens September 1943–December 1943
Squadron Leader R.N.H. Courtney January–September 1944
Flight Lieutenant Ernest.M. Frost September–November 1944
Squadron Leader Jack Rose DFC November 1944–May 1945
Squadron Leader M. Paddle May–October 1945

Aircraft operated

Aircraft operated by No. 113 Squadron RAF[1][2][3][18]
From To Aircraft Variant
Aug 1917 Apr 1918 Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 BE.2e
Sep 1917 Feb 1920 Royal Aircraft Factory RE.8
Feb 1918 Oct 1918 Nieuport 17 17, 23 & 24
Feb 1919 Dec 1919 Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 BE.2e
May 1937 Jun 1939 Hawker Hind
Jun 1939 Mar 1940 Bristol Blenheim Mk.I
Jun 1941 Dec 1941 Bristol Blenheim Mk.I
Mar 1940 Apr 1941 Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV
Jun 1941 Oct 1942 Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV
Oct 1942 Sep 1943 Bristol Blenheim Mk.V
Sep 1943 Apr 1945 Hawker Hurricane Mk.IIc
Apr 1945 Oct 1945 Republic Thunderbolt Mks.I & II
Sep 1946 Dec 1946 Handley Page Halifax A.7 & C.8
Sep 1946 Apr 1947 Handley Page Halifax A.9
Sep 1946 Sep 1948 Douglas Dakota C.4
Nov 1947 Sep 1948 Handley Page Halifax A.9
22 July 1959 10 July 1963 Thor IRBM SM.75

See also



  1. ^ a b c d Moyes 1976, pp. 156–158.
  2. ^ a b c Rawlings 1978, pp. 248–249.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Halley 1988, p. 190.
  4. ^ Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 13.
  5. ^ Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 49.
  6. ^ Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 15.
  7. ^ Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 62.
  8. ^ Cutlack 1941 p. 74
  9. ^ Playfair, Vol. I, page 112.
  10. ^ Playfair, Vol. I, pages 110, 112.
  11. ^ Six Hurricanes got airborne and shot down two of the Ju 88s, a third being damaged by future ace and Pilot Officer Lance Wade, a Texan serving in the RAF.
  12. ^ The RAF repeated the operation almost a year later, under the code name Operation Chocolate, when No. 213 Squadron RAF and No. 238 Squadron RAF flew their Hurricane IICs into LG125 to attack Rommel's forces retreating from the Second Battle of El Alamein.
  13. ^ a b Alan Storr, 2006, RAAF World War 2 Fatalities (various volumes), passim.
  14. ^ "Timeline". 2008. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  15. ^ Barrass, M. B. (2015). "Air Commodore Gilbert Bartholomew". Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  16. ^ Barrass, M. B. (2015). "Air Commodore Gerald Barnard Keily". Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  17. ^ Barrass, M. B. (2015). "Air Vice-Marshal Robert Norman Bateson". Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  18. ^ Jefford 2001, p. 159.


  • Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • F. M. Cutlack (1941). "The Australian Flying Corps in the Western and Eastern Theatres of War, 1914–1918". Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918 Volume VIII (11th ed.). Canberra: Australian War Memorial.
  • Flintham, Vic and Andrew Thomas. Combat Codes: A full explanation and listing of British, Commonwealth and Allied air force unit codes since 1938. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 2003. ISBN 1-84037-281-8.
  • 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, C.G. RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1988 (second edition 2001). ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
  • Moyes, Philip J.R. Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 2nd edition 1976. ISBN 0-354-01027-1.
  • Playfair, Major-General I.S.O.; Molony, Brigadier C.J.C.; with Flynn, Captain F.C. (R.N.) & Gleave, Group Captain T.P. (2009) [1st. pub. HMSO:1954]. Butler, Sir James (ed.). The Mediterranean and Middle East, Volume I: The Early Successes Against Italy, to May 1941. History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series. Uckfield, UK: Naval & Military Press. ISBN 1-84574-065-3.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald & Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1969 (2nd edition 1976, reprinted 1978). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.
  • Embry, Sir Basil (1976) [1957]. Mission Completed. London: White Lion Publications. ISBN 0-7274-0260-9.

External links

  • Squadron history of No. 113 Squadron at their own site.
  • The official history of 113 Squadron on RAF site
  • History of No.'s 111–115 Squadrons at RAF Web