History of No. XXIV Squadron RAF

Fighting Cosk 

In omina parati ( Prepared for all things )

No. 24 Squadron was formed on 1st September 1915, at Hounslow Heath as a fighter unit, receiving D.H.2s at the end of the year. It moved to France in February, 1916, at a time when German fighters were making reconnaissance and bombing sorties by the R.F.C. very costly due to the lack of effective fighters. The squadron’s D.H.2s played a large part in defeating enemy attempts to obtain air superiority over the Western Front in the first half of 1916 but were rapidly overtaken by aircraft development and were obsolete within a short time.

In May, 1917, No.24 re-equipped with D.H.5s which were flown till the end of 1917 when they were replaced by S.E.5As. For the rest of the war, the squadron flew fighter patrols over the Western Front, with occasional ground attack missions, and in February, 1919 returned to the U.K. where it disbanded on 1st February, 1920.

On 1st April, 1920, No 24 reformed at Kenley as a communications and training unit with Bristol Fighters. Its communications tasks involved flying Air Ministry staff and Government members in what would, in future years, be referred to as V.I.P. flights. It also had a flight of training aircraft to provide flying practice for pilots on the staff of the Air Ministry. On 1st February, 1927, the squadron moved to Northolt and in July. 1933 to Hendon where it remained throughout the Second World War.

After flying a variety of single-engined types since its formation, No 24 received its first real transport in March, 1935, a D.H.89A, supplemented by a D.H.86 in October, 1937. It was intended to equip the squadron with 20 Mentors as standard equipment but the war overtook this plan and No. 24 began its wartime career with a wide variety of aircraft of civil design, including Rapides taken over from civil airlines which were later impressed. For the first nine months of the war, communications and mail flying between the U.K. and France was a major task but after June, 1940, flying was confined to the U.K. with the exception of a few special flights.In April, 1942, the squadron was transferred to Ferry Command, the predecessor of Transport Command and in the same month began flights to Malta with passengers and mail.

In April, 1943, a flight of Dakotas was added and in May the first York was put into service for V.I.P. use. As the Allied armies liberated more of Europe, the extent of overseas flights increased and in October, 1944, the squadron was reorganised; in place of the collection of transport types, the Dakota became the standard equipment of the squadron, with a flight of Ansons for short range work.

In February, 1946, the squadron moved to Bassingbourn where it absorbed No. 1359 V.I.P. Flight in June. In November, 1951, Hastings became the standard type and although V.I.P. flying continued, the squadron became more a general transport unit than a specialised communications squadron.

In January, 1957, No 24 moved to Colerne to join a wing of Hastings squadrons and flew this type until January, 1968, when it began to re-equip with Hercules before moving to RAF Lyneham, the Squadron’s base until June 2011. On the 1st July, the last remaining Squadrons and aircraft stationed at Lyneham flew over the local area to land at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, the new home of XXIV.

BATTLE HONOURS

WESTERN FRONT 1914 – 18
THE SOMME 1916
HINDENBURG LINE
AMIENS
FRANCE AND THE LOW COUNTRIES 1939 – 40
MALTA 1942
NORTH AFRICA 1942 – 1943
BURMA 1944 – 45 

Battle Honours

The Squadron Standard was presented to the Squadron by Air Marshal Sir Charles E N Guest KBE CB, AOC-in-C Transport Command in March 1954. It caries the maximum number of 8 battle honours.

On 15th September 1981 Her Royal highness The Princess Anne presented a new Standard to the Squadron. The old standard had, by this time, been used for 25 years and the need arose for the retirement of the old and its replacement by the new. The old standard was laid up at the church of St Michael and All Angels, Lyneham on 28th February 1982.

Once again the Princess Anne was on hand to present a new set of colours to XXIV Squadron on the 9 May 2008 at RAF Lyneham. More than 100 spectators watched 50 officers of RAF Lyneham’s 24 Squadron parade in front of the Princess Royal. Afterwards a new squadron standard was presented by the royal visitor – the first in 27 years.

The origins of the colours and standards date back to the Second World War. On the 25th anniversary of the formation of the RAF, in 1943, King George VI announced his intention to award ceremonial flags known as standards to operational squadrons. The squadron must have completed at least 25 years of service to the RAF before receiving one.

Replacement Standard

HRH The Princess Royal presenting the replacement Standard to 24 Sqn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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