No. 116 Squadron RAF


No. 116 Squadron RAF
Active1917–18 (RFC)
1941–45 & 1952–58 (RAF)
CountryUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
BranchEnsign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
RoleBomber Command and Anti-Aircraft Calibration
Motto(s)"Precision in Defence"[1]
Hawker Hurricane
Tiger Moth
Avro Anson
Airspeed Oxford
Vickers Varsity
Avro Lincoln
Battle honoursWorld War I 1917-1918
World War II
Home Defence 1941-1945
Squadron badgeIn front of a flash of lightning, a pair of dividers.
Squadron codesZD (Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939)
II (Apr 1939 - Sep 1939)

No. 116 Squadron RAF was a Royal Air Force squadron first formed as part of the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War. Reformed as part of the RAF during the Second World War it served as an anti-aircraft calibration unit and also operated post-war from 1952 until 1958.


The squadron was formed at RAF Andover in December 1917. The nameplate No. 116 Squadron RAF was applied to the squadron as of 1 April 1918 whilst it was at RAF Netheravon. The squadron was disbanded at Feltham in the same year. It was resurrected as No. 116 Squadron from 1. Anti-Aircraft Calibration Flight (AACF) at Hatfield in February 1941 flying various aircraft during the Second World War (Lysanders, Hurricanes, Spitfires, Oxford and Tiger Moths) before being disbanded a second time at Hornchurch in May 1945.[2]

During its time as an AACF, the squadron helped to calibrate the predictors on Anti-Aircraft batteries and so ended up with many detachments spread out across the United Kingdom. Flights were flown from RAF Digby,[3] RAF Hendon, RAF Heston, RAF Croydon, RAF North Weald, RAF Gatwick[4] and Redhill.[5]

It was reformed a second time in August 1952 from 'N' calibration flight at RAF Watton and continued for six years in this role flying Lincolns, Ansons, Hastings and Varsity aircraft.[6] Its role at RAF Watton was as part of the Central Signals Establishment which would deploy 116 Squadron (and others) as Radio Counter Measure aircraft during exercises involving not only the RAF, but other nation's forces too.[7] It was disbanded at RAF Watton in 1958 to become No. 115 Squadron RAF.[2]


  1. ^ Pine, L.G. (1983). A dictionary of mottoes (1 ed.). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 179. ISBN 0-7100-9339-X.
  2. ^ a b Lake, Alan (1999). Flying units of the RAF : the ancestry, formation and disbandment of all flying units from 1912. Shrewsbury: Airlife. p. 225. ISBN 1-84037-086-6.
  3. ^ Halpenny, Bruce Barrymore (1981). Military airfields of Lincolnshire and the East Midlands. Cambridge, England: Stephens. p. 85. ISBN 0-85059-484-7.
  4. ^ Jacobs, Peter (2009). Airfields of the D-Day invasion air force : 2nd Tactical Air Force in south-east England in World War Two (1 ed.). Barnsley: Pen & Sword Aviation. p. 189. ISBN 978-1-84415-900-0.
  5. ^ Halley, James J. (1980). The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force. Tonbridge, Kent: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p. 152. ISBN 0-85130-083-9.
  6. ^ Bowyer, Michael J.F. (1979). Wartime military airfields of East Angela, 1939-1945. Cambridge: Patrick Stephens. p. 209. ISBN 0-85059-335-2.
  7. ^ "History of Watton, Norfolk". Retrieved 12 March 2018.

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