No. 504 Squadron RAF


No. 504 (County of Nottingham) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force
RAF Regiment Reservist MOD 45156187.jpg
A reservist Gunner with 504 (County of Nottingham) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force fires a machine gun during two weeks Annual Continuous Training at Hythe Range Complex.
Active26 Mar 1928 – 10 Aug 1945
10 May 1946 – 10 Mar 1957
1 Oct 1999 – present
CountryUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
BranchEnsign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Auxiliary Air Force
Part ofNo 85 Expeditionary Logistics Wing , RAF A4 Force
Current StationRAF Wittering
Motto(s)Latin: Vindicat in Vetis
(Translation: "It avenges in the wind")[1][2][3][4]
Post-1952 aircraft insigniaRAF 504 Sqn.svg
Battle honoursFrance and Low Countries, 1940;
Battle of Britain, 1940;
Home Defence, 1940–42;
Atlantic, 1941–42;
Fortress Europe, 1942–44;
Normandy, 1944;
Arnhem, 1944;
France and Germany, 1944–45.[5]
These honours are all emblazoned on the squadron standard[6]
Honorary Air CommodoresLord Sherwood (48–56)
J.M. Birkin (56–57)
Sir H.M. Seely, MP
John Hamar "Johnnie" Hill
Squadron Badge heraldryAn oak tree fronted and eradicated[4]
The 'Major Oak' of Sherwood forest from the armorial bearings of the county of Nottingham, also thought to be appropriate for a Hurricane squadron[1][2][3]
Squadron CodesAW (Apr 1939 – Sep 1939)[7][8]
TM (Sep 1939 – Aug 1945, 1949 – 1952)[9][10]
RAD (May 1946 – 1949)[11][12]

No. 504 (County of Nottingham) Squadron was one of the Special Reserve Squadrons of the Auxiliary Air Force, and today is a reserve force of the RAF Regiment. It was integrated into the AAF proper in 1936. Based at RAF Cottesmore, Rutland, 504 Squadron used a variety of light bombers before being re-tasked to fighters with the Hawker Hurricane in 1939. It subsequently became a Fighter Squadron. Currently No. 504 Squadron no longer has a flying role, but as part of No 85 Expeditionary Logistics Wing of the RAF A4 Force.


Formation and early years

No. 504 squadron was formed on 26 March 1928 at RAF Hucknall, Nottinghamshire as a Special Reserve Squadron in the day bomber role. As such it flew first with Hawker Horsleys, later with Westland Wallaces and Hawker Hinds. In the meantime, on 18 May 1936, the squadron had gone over to the Auxiliary Air Force and the next change for the squadron came on 31 October 1938, when it was transferred from RAF Bomber Command to RAF Fighter Command.[2][3] After a short spell with Gloster Gauntlet biplane fighters the squadron received its first really modern aircraft as their next aircraft were to be Hawker Hurricane fighters.

In World War II

Squadron Spitfire

On 26 August 1939 the squadron was mobilised for active service as part of RAF Fighter Command and the Squadron was transferred to RAF Digby. In 1940 Squadron Leader ”Johnnie” Hill took command whilst the squadron was at Lille, France. When the airfield was overrun Hill had taken 12 Hurricanes into the air. Hill was shot down and shot at first by French peasants, and later by a British Army major who believed him to be a fifth columnist. On recovering from his injuries Hill was given command of 222 Squadron.

Throughout the Second World War, 504 Sqn operated from over some thirty airfields in both the UK and abroad. Roles were as diverse as Heavy Bomber escort; interdiction raids across occupied France; escort duties over Arnhem during Operation Market Garden and major involvement in the Battle of Britain. In March 1945 the Squadron was re-equipped with Gloster Meteor jets, but the war in Europe ended before they saw any action.

Into the jet age

After standing down from active duty on 10 August 1945, the Squadron was reformed at RAF Syerston as a light bomber squadron. It was initially equipped with Mosquito T.3 training aircraft but in April 1947 it was re-designated a night fighter unit, receiving Mosquito NF.30s. Its role was changed once more again in May 1948, now to that of a day fighter unit. For this it received Spitfire F.22s, flying these until October 1949, when Meteor F.4s began to arrive to replace them. These were in their turn replaced by Meteor F.8s in March 1952. The squadron standard was presented on 3 March 1957 by Air Chief Marshal Sir Francis Fogarty, GBE, KCB, DFC, AFC[5] and then laid up in St Mary's Church, Wymeswold, RAF Wymeswold having been the Squadron's last operational base. Seven days later the squadron, along with all other 19 flying units of the since 1947 Royal Auxiliary Air Force, disbanded.

Notable squadron members

Flight Lieutenant W.B. Royce of 504 Squadron became the first AAF pilot to be awarded the DFC, Sergeant Ray Holmes of 504 Squadron was forced to ram a Dornier bomber intent on attacking Buckingham Palace when his guns jammed during the attack. This event was immortalised in the film Battle of Britain. Famous rugby player and Russian prince Alexander Obolensky flew with 504 Squadron, dying in accident on 29 March 1940. It had many international pilots too, including Emile Jayawardena from Sri Lanka. Sergeant Pilot, later Squadron Leader, C. 'Wag' Haw, flew with 504 during the Battle of Britain before moving to 81 Sqn for deployment to Russia in August 1941 where he was awarded the Order of Lenin.

Current role

On 1 January 1998, the Offensive Support Role Support Squadron (OSRSS) was formed at RAF Cottesmore. This was then renamed 504 Squadron on 1 October 1999. On 1 October 2000 the reformation was celebrated with a march past in Nottingham. Although 504 Squadron no longer had a flying role, it remained an important part of the RAF. As part of an Operational Support Squadron (OSS), the first role of 504 Squadron was Force Protection (FP). To this end, approximately 60% of the personnel were RAF Regiment gunners providing ground defence for all assets on deployed operations. The remaining personnel were responsible for the many other duties including: Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) warning and reporting, airbase shelter marshalling and general sentry duties. Elements of the squadron deployed operationally to Afghanistan in these roles. During 2014, the squadron re-roled from FP to Logistics. As part of the RAF's No. 85 Expeditionary Logistics Wing (85 ELW) the Squadron is now based at RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire and is recruiting personnel to train as Chefs, Drivers and Suppliers in support of deployed RAF units worldwide.

Aircraft operated

Aircraft operated by no. 504 Squadron RAF, data from[2][13][14][15]
From To Aircraft Version
October 1929 March 1934 Hawker Horsley
January 1934 June 1937 Westland Wallace Mk.I
February 1935 June 1937 Westland Wallace Mk.II
May 1937 November 1938 Hawker Hind
November 1938 August 1939 Gloster Gauntlet Mk.II
May 1939 July 1941 Hawker Hurricane Mk.I
July 1941 November 1941 Hawker Hurricane Mk.IIb
October 1941 February 1942 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IIa
December 1941 February 1942 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IIb
January 1942 January 1944 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb
October 1942 September 1943 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vc
September 1943 January 1944 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VI
January 1944 March 1944 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IXb
March 1944 July 1944 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb
July 1944 April 1945 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IXe
April 1945 August 1945 Gloster Meteor Mk.III
October 1946 July 1948 de Havilland Mosquito T.3
April 1947 August 1948 de Havilland Mosquito NF.30
May 1948 March 1950 Supermarine Spitfire F.22
October 1949 March 1952 Gloster Meteor F.4
February 1952 March 1957 Gloster Meteor F.8

Commanding officers

Officers commanding no. 504 Squadron RAF, data from[16][17][18]
From To Name
October 1928 S/Ldr. C.M. Elliot-Smith, AFC
May 1936 September 1938 S/Ldr. Sir H.M. Seely, MP
September 1938 January 1940 S/Ldr. F.Y. Beamish
January 1940 May 1940 S/Ldr. H. Watson
May 1940 May 1940 S/Ldr. J. Parnall
May 1940 May 1940 S/Ldr. J.H. Hill
May 1940 May 1940 F/Lt. W.B. Royce, DFC
May 1940 March 1941 S/Ldr. J. Sample, DFC
March 1941 July 1941 S/Ldr. M. Rook
July 1941 February 1942 S/Ldr. P.T. Parsons
February 1942 January 1943 S/Ldr. R. Lewis
January 1943 March 1943 S/Ldr. J.I. Kilmartin, DFC
March 1943 July 1943 S/Ldr. R.C. Kilian
July 1943 October 1943 S/Ldr. P.J. Simpson, DFC
October 1943 March 1944 S/Ldr. H.J.L. Hallowes, DFC, DFM & Bar
March 1944 October 1944 S/Ldr. Banning-Lover
October 1944 August 1945 S/Ldr. M. Kellett
May 1946 1948 S/Ldr. A.H. Hook, DFC, AFC
1948 March 1950 S/Ldr. J.M. Birkin
March 1950 1954 S/Ldr. G.J. Beardsall
1954 March 1957 S/Ldr. P.I. Briggs, DFC

See also



  1. ^ a b Hunt 1972, p. 292.
  2. ^ a b c d Moyes 1976, p. 266.
  3. ^ a b c Rawlings 1978, p. 460.
  4. ^ a b Halley 1988, p. 392.
  5. ^ a b Hunt 1972, p. 291.
  6. ^ rafweb
  7. ^ Bowyer & Rawlings 1979, p. 14.
  8. ^ Flintham & Thomas 2003, p. 49.
  9. ^ Bowyer & Rawlings 1979, p. 97.
  10. ^ Flintham & Thomas 2003, pp. 108, 157.
  11. ^ Bowyer & Rawlings 1979, p. 138.
  12. ^ Flintham & Thomas 2003, p. 184.
  13. ^ Rawlings 1978, pp. 461–462.
  14. ^ Halley 1988, p. 393.
  15. ^ Jefford 2001, p. 96.
  16. ^ Hunt 1972, pp. 279–292.
  17. ^ Rawlings 1978, p. 462.
  18. ^ Bowyer 1984, p. 114.


  • Bowyer, Chaz (1984). Mosquito Squadrons of the Royal Air Force. Shepperton, Surrey, UK: Ian Allan Ltd. ISBN 0-7110-1425-6.
  • Bowyer, Michael J.F.; Rawlings, John D.R. (1979). Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • Flintham, Vic; Thomas, Andrew (2003). Combat Codes: A Full Explanation and Listing of British, Commonwealth and Allied Air Force Unit Codes since 1938. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-84037-281-8.
  • Golley, John (2001) [1987]. Hurricanes over Murmansk (2nd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Airlife Publishing. ISBN 1-84037-298-2.
  • Halley, James J. (1980). The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. ISBN 0-85130-083-9.
  • Halley, James J. (1988). The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1918–1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Hunt, Leslie (1972). Twenty-One Squadrons: The History of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, 1925–1957. London: Garnstone Press. ISBN 0-85511-110-0.
  • Jefford, C.G. (2001). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912 (2nd ed.). Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
  • Moyes, Philip J.R. (1976). Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd. ISBN 0-354-01027-1.
  • Rawlings, John (1978) [1969]. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft (Revised ed.). London: Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-354-01028-X.
  • Sweeting, Denis (1990). Wings of Chance. Singapore: Asian Business Press. ISBN 981-00-2098-8.
  • Wakefield, Kenneth (1990). Target Filton: Two Luftwaffe Attacks of September, 1940. Bristol, UK: Redcliffe Press. ISBN 1-872971-55-5.

External links

  • Webpage of present 504 Squadron at RAF website
  • Aviation art depicting Sgt.Ray Holmes of No.504 Squadron in combat in 1940.
  • 504 Squadron RAuxAF website
  • Squadron histories for Nos. 500–520 sqn at rafweb
  • Nos. 500–510 Squadron Aircraft & Markings