No. 35 Squadron RAF


No. XXXV (Madras Presidency) Squadron RAF
Active1 February 1916 – 26 June 1919
1 March 1929 – 8 April 1940
5 November 1940 – 23 February 1950
1 September 1951 – 11 September 1961
1 December 1962 – 1 March 1982
CountryUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
BranchEnsign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Motto(s)Latin: Uno animo agimus
("We act with one accord")[1]
Battle honoursWestern Front, 1917-18*: Arras: Lys: Ypres, 1917*: Cambrai, 1917*: Somme, 1918*: Amiens: Biscay Ports, 1941-43: Fortress Europe, 1941-44*: German Ports, 1943: Ruhr, 1943-45*: Normandy, 1944*: Baltic, 1944: France & Germany, 1944-45*: Walcheren.Honours marked with an asterisk are those emblazoned on the Squadron Standard
Squadron codesWT Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
TL Nov 1940 - Feb 1951
FB Sep 1950 - Apr 1951

No. 35 Squadron (also known as No. XXXV (Madras Presidency) Squadron) was a squadron of the Royal Air Force.


World War I

No. 35 Squadron was formed on 1 February 1916 at Thetford, training as a Corps reconnaissance squadron. In January 1917 the squadron moved to France, equipped with the Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8, beginning operations during the Battle of Arras, working alongside the Cavalry Corps, throughout 1917 (which later resulted in the Pegasus winged horses head in the Squadrons' badge).[2] From 19 August to 5 October 1917, the squadron was based at La Gorgue, in Northern France.[3]

It re-equipped with Bristol Fighters in the later part of 1918,[4] before returning to RAF Netheravon in March 1919 and then disbanding on 26 June 1919.[5]

Between the Wars

On 1 March 1929 the squadron reformed at Bircham Newton, and was initially equipped with Airco DH.9As, re-equipping with the Fairey IIIF in November that year. In 1932, its IIIFs were replaced by an improved development, the Fairey Gordon. As a response to the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, the squadron was posted to the Sudan in late 1935, returning to RAF Worthy Down in August 1936, and re-equipping with the Vickers Wellesley. On 12 April 1938 the squadron converted to the Fairey Battle.[6]

World War II

35 Squadron Halifaxes attacking German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in drydock at Brest, France, December 1941
Halifax pilot of 35 Squadron prior to take-off at RAF Linton-on-Ouse, England

On the outbreak of World War II, No. 35 Squadron was designated a training unit, supplementing its Battles with Avro Ansons and Bristol Blenheims late in 1939.[7] The squadron disbanded after being absorbed into No. 17 OTU along with No. 90 Squadron at RAF Upwood, on 8 April 1940.

The squadron reformed on 5 November 1940 at RAF Linton-on-Ouse in Yorkshire as the first Handley Page Halifax squadron. In August 1942 it was one of the five squadrons selected to create the Pathfinder Force. The squadron was based at RAF Graveley. When the Pathfinder Force was enlarged 35 Squadron was a part of the newly designated No. 8 Group. In March 1944 the squadron converted to the Avro Lancaster, which it used till the end of the war.

Sqd Ldr Alec Panton Cranswick DSO, DFC, was in 35 Sqd at the time of his death when his Lancaster was shot down on a raid to Villeneuve St George near Paris on the night of 4 July 1944, it was his 107th mission and he flew more bombing operations than any other RAF pilot in WW2, he was on his 4th operational tour. Although Wg CDR Guy Gibson VC, DSO & BAR, DFC & BAR had a higher ops tally a percentage of them were fighter ops making his bomber ops total less than Sqd Ldr Cranswick.


In 1946, in addition to participating in the Victory flypast over London the squadron participated in a goodwill tour of the United States, later returning to RAF Stradishall, due to Graveley's closure. The Lancasters were replaced by Avro Lincolns in September 1949, and the squadron later disbanded on 23 February 1950. On 1 September 1951 the squadron reformed at Marham equipped with the Boeing Washington.

In April 1954 the squadron re-equipped with its first jet powered aircraft type, the Canberra B.2[1] twin engined light bomber. The squadron again disbanded on 11 September 1961.

Avro Vulcan B.2 of No. 35 Squadron at the RAF Queen's Silver Jubilee Review at RAF Finningley in July 1977.

No. 35 Squadron reformed for the last time on 1 December 1962 at RAF Coningsby as part of RAF Bomber Command's V-bomber force, equipped with eight Vulcan B2 aircraft and Yellow Sun free-falling bombs in a high-altitude strategic bombing role, moving to RAF Cottesmore on 7 November 1964. When the WE.177B strategic bomb became available from mid-1966, eight were issued to No. 35 Squadron at Cottesmore.[8] These laydown bombs were specifically designed for the low-level penetration role, did not require a pre-release 'pop-up' manoeuvre, and improved the survivability of the squadron's Vulcans.

Following the transfer of responsibility for the nuclear deterrent to the Royal Navy the squadron joined the Near East Strike Force at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, still equipped with eight Vulcan B2s and eight WE.177 nuclear weapons and a variety of conventional weapons.[9] The squadron remained at Akrotiri with 9 Squadron's similarly equipped Vulcans assigned as part of the UK contribution to CENTO the Central Treaty Organisation, for use in the low-level penetration role until the end of 1974,[10][11] returning to RAF Scampton in January 1975 where the squadron disbanded for the last time on 1 March 1982.[12]

See also


  1. ^ Pine, L.G. (1983). A dictionary of mottoes (1 ed.). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 242. ISBN 0-7100-9339-X.
  2. ^ Brookes 1979, pp.229–230.
  3. ^ "2018/05 Newsletter". No. 35 Squadron. 31 May 2018. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  4. ^ Squadron History 31 - 35 Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 22 March 2009.
  5. ^ Brookes 1979,p.230.
  6. ^ Brookes 1979, pp.230–231.
  7. ^ Halley 1980, p. 67.
  8. ^ RAF nuclear front line Order-of-Battle 1966–67
  9. ^ RAF nuclear front line Order-of-Battle 1969
  10. ^ RAF nuclear front line Order-of-Battle 1973–74
  11. ^ Weapon overview @ Carriage
  12. ^ Delve, Ken (2008). The military airfields of Britain. East Midlands, Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire. Marlborough: Crowood Press. p. 255. ISBN 978-1-86126-995-9.


  • Lake, Alan (1999). Flying units of the RAF. Shrewsbury: Airlife Publishing. ISBN 1-84037-086-6.
  • Brookes, Andrew J. "Flying the Winged Horse – the history of No 35 Squadron RAF". Aircraft Illustrated, May 1979, Vol 12, No.5. pp. 229–233.
  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air Britain (Historians), 1980. ISBN 0-85130-083-9.
  • Stocker, Flt Lt Ted, DSO, DFC A Pathfinders war: An extraordinary tale of surviving over 100 bomber operations against all odds. London: Grubb Street, 2009. ISBN 978-1-906502-52-2.
  • Humphrey Wynn. RAF Strategic Nuclear Deterrent Forces: their origins, roles and deployment 1946–1969. pps 128, 449–463. Pub MoD & HMSO. ISBN 0-11-772833-0

External links

  • Air of Authority
  • Squadron history page on official RAF website
  • Weapon overview @ Carriage
  • RAF nuclear front line Order-of-Battle 1973–74
  • RAF nuclear front line Order-of-Battle 1966–67
  • 35 Squadron at the International Bomber Command Centre Digital Archive.