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No. 26 Squadron.
Active 8th October 1915 - 1st April 1979.
Branch Royal Air Force.
Type Army Co-operation Unit.
Motto N Wagter in die Lug
Afrikaans: "A guard in the sky".
Battle honours East Africa, 1916-18: France & Low Countries, 1939-40: Dunkirk: Fortress Europe, 1940-44: Dieppe: France & Germany, 1944-45: Normandy, 1944: Walcheren.

No. 26 Squadron of the Royal Air Force was formed in 1915 and was disbanded for the last time in 1976.

The squadron motto is N Wagter in die Lug (Afrikaans) (A guard in the sky), and the squadrons motto is a springbok's head couped.

Contents

History

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1915 to 1918

No. 26 Squadron was formed at Netheravon on 8 October 1915 from personnel of the South African Flying Unit.[1] It was equipped with B.E.s and Farmans and sent to East Africa in 1915, arriving in Mombasa at the end of January 1916. In February 1918 it was dispatched back to the UK where it was disbanded in July 1918.

Between the wars

On 11 October 1927 No. 26 was reformed at Catterick as a single flight of Atlas army co-operation aircraft. and on 1 September 1938 a second flight was added. In July 1933 Audaxes were received which were replaced by Hectors in August 1937.

Second World War

By the out-break of World War 2 the Squadron had been equipped with Lysanders and in October 1939 it was moved to France. When the Germans invaded Belgium in May 1940 No. 26 was forced to move to Lympne where it flew reconnaissance, bombing and supply missions over northern France. Coastal patrols began in June and training with the army occupied most of the Squadrons time for the next few years. In February 1941 Tomahawks began to arrive to replace the Lysanders for tactical reconnaissance missions. In October 1941 the Tomahawks began to fly low-level ground attack sorties over northern France but they lacked the performance required for operations of this nature so in January 1942 they were replaced by Mustangs. The tactical reconnaissance and day intruder missions continued until July 1943, when the Squadron moved to Yorkshire and then in March 1944 to Scotland. In preparations for the Normandy landings No. 26 trained in spotting naval guns, a task it carried out on and after D-Day. For this role the Squadron was equipped with Spitfires although they reverted back to Mustangs in December 1944 for reconnaissance missions over the Netherlands. In April 1945 the Squadron spent two weeks spotting for French warships bombarding pockets of German resistance before being transferred to Germany in August. No. 26 remained here until 1 April 1946 when it was disbanded.

Post war

On the same day, No. 41 Squadron was renumbered as No. 26 Squadron at Wunstorf and it flew Spitfires and Tempests until April 1949 when it was re-equipped with Vampires. In November 1953 No. 26 was converted to Sabres and remained a day-fighter unit until it was disbanded on 10 September 1957. It was reformed with Hunters at Gutersloh on 7 June 1958 but was disbanded again on 30 December 1960. Reformed again at Odiham on 1 June 1962, No. 26 became a helicopter Squadron flying Belvederes. An advance party was moved to Aden in March 1963 and the remainder to R.A.F. Kuching,Borneo.In November 1963 for a one year unaccompanied tour.The aircraft remaining in Khormakser in 1965 went to Singapore on 30 November 1965 where they were merged with No. 66 Squadron.The ground crew going to 74 Squadron. On 3 February 1969 the Northern Communication Squadron at Wyton was re-designated No. 26 Squadron until it was disbanded on 1 April 1976.

See also

References


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