|No. 6 Squadron RAF|
|Active||31 January 1914RFC) – 1 April 1918 (|
1 April 1918 – 31 May 2007 (RAF)
6 September 2010 – present
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
|Part of||No. 1 Group (Air Combat)|
|Home station||RAF Lossiemouth|
|Nickname(s)||'The Flying Tin Openers'|
(Latin for 'The eyes of the army')
|Aircraft||Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4|
|Wing Commander N J Rees|
|Squadron tail badge|
|Squadron badge heraldry||An eagle, wings elevated, preying on a serpent. The use of the Royal Regiment of Artillery's red lightning bolt on a light background, was adopted in recognition of the squadron's close cooperation with the Royal Artillery during the First World War. The badge was approved by King George VI in January 1938.|
|Aircraft codes||EA–EZ (Present)|
Number 6 Squadron of the Royal Air Force operates the Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4 at RAF Lossiemouth. It was previously equipped with the SEPECAT Jaguar GR.3 in the close air support and tactical reconnaissance roles, and was posted to RAF Coltishall, Norfolk until April 2006, moving to RAF Coningsby until disbanding for the first time in its history on 31 May 2007. The squadron officially reformed as a Typhoon squadron on 6 September 2010. No. 6 Squadron is unique in having two Royal standards, having been awarded its second one by King Abdullah I of Jordan in October 1950 due to its long period of service in the Middle East.
The squadron was formed on 31 January 1914, at Farnborough as No. 6 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps. Its first squadron commander was Major John Becke. The squadron had an initial aircraft inventory of two Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2s and two Farmans, with the squadron also initially incorporating a flight operating man-lifting kite. The squadron, equipped with a mixture of B.E.2s, Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.8s and Farmans crossed the English Channel in October 1914 to support IV Corps in its attempt to prevent the Germans from capturing Antwerp. In November, the squadron joined the newly formed 2nd Wing of the RFC, with the role of supporting the Second and Third Corps.
On 25 July 1915, Captain Lanoe Hawker attacked three German aircraft in succession. The first aerial victory for Hawker that day occurred after he emptied a complete drum of bullets from his aircraft's single Lewis machine gun into a German aircraft which went spinning down. The second victory saw a German aircraft driven to the ground damaged, and the third saw a German aircraft – an Albatros C.I of FFA 3 – burst into flames and crash. For this feat he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
Following the Armistice, the squadron transferred to Iraq, arriving in July 1919. Operating in the army co-operation role in Northern Iraq, it was equipped with Bristol Fighters. It was later re-equipped with Fairey Gordons and assumed the bomber role, Hawker Harts replacing these in 1935.
The squadron relocated to Palestine in 1938, reverting to the army co-operation role with Hawker Hardys, adding Gloster Gauntlets and Westland Lysanders. When hostilities with Italy broke out in June 1940, the squadron deployed one flight of aircraft to Egypt to work with the army, with the remainder of the squadron remained in Palestine. Between September 1940 and September 1943 the squadron saw action in the tank-busting, 40 mm cannon-firing Hawker Hurricane Mk. IID, over the Western Desert.
In the spring of 1944, the squadron moved to a coastal field south-east of Termoli, Italy. The squadron flew Hurricane Mk.IVs equipped with rocket projectiles. Moored Axis ships were attacked at Yugoslav harbours and the Dalmatian islands. They were strongly defended by anti-aircraft gunners on Siebel ferries with their multiple guns, as the ships were being used to supply the German forces. Squadron detachments were also made to Bastia in Corsica, Araxos near Patras in Greece, Brindisi, and near Ancona. A fixed 44-gallon extra petrol tank under the port wing increased the Hurricanes' duration to almost three hours at 160 mph cruising speed. The airfield on Vis (island) was extensively used as an advanced base from May 1944 to February 1945, usually to top up tanks before each armed reconnaissance.
In July 1945, the squadron moved to Palestine where it cooperated with the police, patrolling the Kirkuk-to-Haifa oil pipeline to prevent terrorist attacks. The squadron remained in the Middle East until 1969. During this period, the squadron went from being equipped with Hurricanes (and for a brief period four Spitfires due to a lack of available Hurricanes) to Hawker Tempest Mk. VIs and subsequently de Havilland Vampire FB.5s.
In January 1950, the squadron moved to RAF Habbaniya in Iraq with many moves back and forth between RAF Habbaniya and RAF Shaibah in Iraq, RAF Abu Sueir and RAF Deversoir in the Suez Canal Zone, RAF Nicosia in Cyprus, RAF Mafraq and RAF Amman in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and detachments throughout the Middle East. While visiting Amman on 15 October 1950, No. 6 Squadron was awarded a Royal Standard by King Abdullah I of Jordan in recognition of the squadron's service in the Middle East since 1919. The squadron continued its close relationship with Jordan throughout the early 1950s, with both King Talal and King Hussein. During this period, it continued to operate Vampires FB.5s and FB.9s(1952) and two twin-seat Gloster Meteor T.7s until it re-equipped with de Havilland Venom FB.1 in February 1954 and the Venom FB.4 in June 1955.
On 6 April 1956, after a brief period back at RAF Habbaniya in Iraq the squadron returned to Cyprus and operated from RAF Akrotiri. From there it attacked Egyptian airfields during the Suez Crisis. In 1957, the squadron again re-equipped, this time with English Electric Canberras, which it continued to operate from Akrotiri until 1969.
Having been located outside of the UK for 50 years, the squadron returned in 1969 and was the first to receive the Phantom FGR.2 at RAF Coningsby the same year, before re-equipping with the Jaguar GR.1 and T.2 at RAF Lossiemouth in 1974. The squadron then moved to RAF Coltishall, being declared operational in the tactical nuclear role with twelve aircraft and eight WE.177 nuclear bombs until 1994, when the squadron's nuclear role was terminated and the weapons withdrawn.
The squadron continued at RAF Coltishall in its non-nuclear role until Coltishall closed on 1 April 2006, and the squadron moved to RAF Coningsby. The squadron's aircraft were deployed to the Gulf as part of Operation Granby (Gulf War), for which it received battle honours, and later as part of the Northern No-Fly-Zone. The squadron deployed to Italy for operations over Bosnia from 1993.
The squadron was the last to fly the SEPECAT Jaguar, and was disbanded on 31 May 2007. The Jaguar's intended replacement in RAF service was the Eurofighter Typhoon. The RAF announced that No. 6 Squadron was to be the fourth operational front-line squadron equipped with the Typhoon and the first with Tranche 2 aircraft, initially scheduled to reform in 2008 at RAF Leuchars in Fife. However, this was delayed until 2010, with the squadron reforming at RAF Leuchars on 6 September 2010, when a closed standing-up ceremony was performed to mark the squadron's reforming, including the arrival of the new Typhoon aircraft in 6 Squadron colours from RAF Coningsby. It has taken over the role of Quick Reaction Alert for the north of the United Kingdom from No. 111 Squadron RAF, the RAF's last Panavia Tornado F.3 squadron, in March 2011. In November 2011 four Typhoons from No. 6 Squadron flew to RMAF Butterworth to participate in aerial wargames for the 40th anniversary of the Five Power Defence Arrangements. In August 2013, several Typhoons from No. 6 were exercising with HMS Dragon and US fighters in the Gulf. In June 2014, the squadron began to move to its new home in RAF Lossiemouth.
Aircraft operated included:
|February 1914||March 1915||Major J H W Becke|
|March 1915||December 1915||Major G S Shephard|
|December 1915||September 1916||Major R P Mills, MC, AFC|
|September 1916||June 1917||Major A S Barratt, MC|
|June 1917||July 1918||Major A W H James, MC|
|July 1918||February 1920||Major G C Pirie, MC|
|February 1920||May 1920||S/Ldr W Sowrey|
|May 1920||April 1922||S/Ldr E A B Rice|
|April 1922||January 1924||S/Ldr E R Manning, DSO, MC|
|January 1924||November 1925||S/Ldr D S K Crosbie, OBE|
|November 1925||November 1926||S/Ldr D F Stevenson, DSO, MC|
|November 1926||January 1928||S/Ldr C N Lowe, MC, DFC|
|January 1928||February 1930||S/Ldr C H Keith|
|February 1930||February 1931||S/Ldr C R Cox, AFC|
|February 1934||January 1937||S/Ldr H M Massey, DSO, MC|
|February 1940||September 1940||S/Ldr W N McKechnie, EGM|
|September 1940||April 1941||S/Ldr E R Weld|
|April 1941||February 1942||S/Ldr P Legge|
|February 1942||January 1943||W/Cdr R C Porteous, DSO|
|January 1943||May 1943||S/Ldr D Weston-Burt, DSO|
|May 1943||May 1944||W/Cdr A E Morrison-Bell, DFC|
|May 1944||August 1944||S/Ldr J H Brown, DSO, DFC|
|August 1944||November 1944||S/Ldr R H Langdon-Davies, DFC|
|November 1944||July 1946||S/Ldr R Slade-Betts, DFC|
|August 1946||December 1946||S/Ldr C E Mould|
|December 1946||November 1947||S/Ldr C K Gray, DFC|
|November 1947||July 1950||S/Ldr D Crowley-Milling, DSO, DFC Bar|
|July 1950||November 1952||S/Ldr P A Kennedy, DSO, DFC, AFC|
|November 1952||October 1954||S/Ldr E J Roberts|
|October 1954||November 1956||S/Ldr P C Ellis, DFC|
|November 1956||July 1957||S/Ldr G P Elliott|
|May 1969||August 1970||W/Cdr D Harcourt-Smith|
|August 1970||December 1972||W/Cdr J E Nevill|
|December 1972||June 1974||W/Cdr B W Lavender|
|June 1974||Jul 1975||W/Cdr R J Quarterman|
|Jul 1975||Dec 1977||Wg Cdr N R Hayward|
|Dec 1977||Mar 1980||Wg Cdr G B Robertson|
|Mar 1980||Aug 1982||Wg Cdr M N Evans|
|Aug 1982||Dec 1984||Wg Cdr D W Bramley|
|Dec 1984||Jun 1987||Wg Cdr N A Buckland|
|Jun 1987||Dec 1989||Wg Cdr I Reilly|
|Dec 1989||Feb 1992||Wg Cdr (later Gp Capt) J Connolly, AFC|
|Feb 1992||Jul 1994||Wg Cdr A D Sweetman|
|Jul 1994||Dec 1996||Wg Cdr I A Milne|
|Dec 1996||Jul 1999||Wg Cdr M J Roche|
|Jul 1999||Jul 2002||Wg Cdr R W Judson|
|Jul 2002||Jul 2004||Wg Cdr M J Sears, MBE|
|Jul 2004||Apr 2006||Wg Cdr W A Cruickshank|
|Apr 2006||May 2007||Wg Cdr J M Sullivan|
|Sep 2010||Oct 2012||Wg Cdr R Dennis|
|Oct 2012||Aug 2014||Wg Cdr M R Baulkwill|
|Aug 2014||Nov 2016||Wg Cdr J R E Walls, DSO|
|Nov 2016||May 2019||Wg Cdr W D Cooper|
|May 2019||Sep 2021||Wg Cdr M D’Aubyn|
|Sep 2021||Present||Wg Cdr N J Rees|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to No. 6 Squadron RAF.|