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No. XXV Squadron RAF
25 Squadron RAF.jpg
Active 25 September 1915 - 31 January 1920
1 February 1920 - 23 June 1958
1 July 1958 - 30 November 1962
1 October 1963 - 1 October 1989
1 October 1989 - 4 April 2008
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Role Air defence
Garrison/HQ RAF Leeming
Motto (Latin): Feriens tego
("Striking I defend")
Equipment Panavia Tornado F3.
Battle honours Home Defence, 1916: Western Front, 1916-1918: Somme, 1916: Arras: Ypres, 1917: Cambrai, 1917: Somme, 1918: Lys: Hindenburg Line: Channel & North Sea, 1939-1941: Battle of Britain, 1940: Fortress Europe, 1943-1944: Home Defence, 1940-1945: France & Germany, 1944-1945.
Squadron Badge On a gauntlet a hawk rising affrontée[1]
Squadron Codes RX (Dec 1938 - Sep 1939)
ZK (Sep 1939 - Apr 1951)
RAF roundel surrounded with a white bar, bordered on top and bottom in black (Jun 1951 - Apr 1959)
RAF 25 Sqn.svg

No. 25(F) Squadron (alternatively No. XXV(F) Squadron) was a squadron of the Royal Air Force. Until April 2008 the squadron operated the Panavia Tornado F3, from RAF Leeming.




The first years

No. 25 Squadron RAF was formed at RAF Montrose on 25 September 1915 from No. 6 Reserve Squadron[2], moving to France in February 1916, flying F.E.2bs on fighter and reconnaissance duties. They gave way to D.H.4s in 1917 and after the First World War to some D.H.9s. The unit was disbanded on 31 January 1920 at RAF Scopwick.

Hawkinge station

The squadron reformed next day at RAF Hawkinge, flying Snipes, and went to Turkey in 1922/23 flying them during the Chanak Crisis. After their return in the UK the unit stayed some years at Hawkinge. The Snipes in gave way to Grebes and later Siskins, while in December 1936 the squadron became the first unit to receive the Hawker Fury Mk II, having already flown the Fury Mk I since 1932. The Fury gave way to the Hawker Demon when the squadron was given a night-fighter role. For night-flying training purposes the squadron also received Gloster Gladiators. The squadron moved to RAF Northolt on 12 September 1938.

During World War II

During World War II it flew Blenheims on night patrols, which were replaced by Beaufighters and later Mosquitos. By the closing stages of the war, the squadron was almost entirely committed to bomber escort missions.

Entering the jet age

After the war No. 25 squadron continued to operate the Mosquito until November 1951, when Vampires finally replaced them, conversion having begun in February 1951. The Vampires were replaced by Gloster Meteor NF Mk.12 and 14s in March 1954. In 1957 the squadron moved from West Malling to RAF Tangmere, where it disbanded on 23 June 1958. On 1 July 1958 No. 153 Squadron RAF was renumbered as No. 25 Sqn and continued to fly Meteors until their replacement in 1959 with the Gloster Javelin FAW Mk.7s.

The Bloodhoud missile years

No. 25 Squadron disbanded again on 30 November 1962, reforming a year later as the RAF's first Bristol Bloodhound SAM unit. In this role the squadron moved to RAF Bruggen in 1970, with detachments also protecing RAF Laarbruch and RAF Wildenrath. In 1983 the squadron moved to RAF Wyton, similarly protecting RAF Barkston Heath and RAF Wattisham.

On Tornados

The RAF withdrew the Bloodhound in 1989 and on 1 August the same year, the squadron reformed 1 October 1989 at RAF Leeming as a RAF Tornado F3 fighter squadron. In the late 1990s the squadron was deployed operationally to Saudi Arabia to protect the Shi'ite Muslims[3] of southern Iraq by flying Combat Air Patrol missions below the 33rd parallel, enforcing the southern no-fly zone imposed by Operation Southern Watch. Between October 2004 and January 2005 a contingent of 4 aircraft from 25(F) Sqn was deployed to Siauliana Air Base in Lithuania to provide NATO Air Defence cover to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, following their membership of NATO. Within the United Kingdom the Squadron's primary role, along with 11(F) Sqn prior to their disbandment, was QRA(S), Quick Reaction Alert (South), providing air defence for the Southern UK. Most publicly the Squadron intercepted eight Russian Tu-95 Bear-H strategic bombers and two Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers in July 2007. The squadron disbanded on 4 April 2008, the squadron's Tornados being relocated to RAF Leuchars and joining the remaining active Tornado F3 squadrons there.

See also



  1. ^ Rawlings 1978, p. 66.
  2. ^ Mason 2001, p. 244.
  3. ^


  • Ashworth, Chris. Encyclopedia of Modern Royal Air Force Squadrons. Wellingborough, UK:PSL, 1989. ISBN 1-85260-013-6.
  • Bowyer, Michael J.F and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937-56. Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • Flintham, Vic and Andrew Thomas. Combat Codes: A Full Explanation and Listing of British, Commonwealth and Allied Air Force Unit Codes Since 1938. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlif Publishing Ltd., 2003. ISBN 1-84037-281-8.
  • Halley, James J. Famous Fighter Squadrons of the RAF: Volume 1. Windsor, Berkshire, UK: Hylton Lacey, 1971. ISBN 0-85064-100-4.
  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1918-1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Jefford, Wing Commander C.G., MBE,BA,RAF (Retd). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury: Airlife Publishing, 1998 (second edition 2001). ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • Mason, Francis K. Hawks Rising, the Story of No.25 Squadron Royal Air Force. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 2001. ISBN 0-85130-307-2.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1969 (new edition 1976, reprinted 1978). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.

External links


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