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No. 49 Squadron RAF
49 Squadron emblem.JPG
249 Squadron crest
Country United Kingdom
Branch Royal Air Force
Role Bomber squadron
Part of Bomber Command
Motto Cave Canem
Equipment Handley Page Hampden, Vickers Valiant

No. 49 Squadron was a bomber squadron of the Royal Air Force from 1938 to 1965. They received their first Hampdens in September 1938.

They were a famous Hampden squadron; with the only Victoria Cross awarded Rod Learoyd amongst the ones who served on the type.

They carried out the attack of the Dortmund-Ems Canal in 12 August 1940.

They made 2 tours of duty during the Kenyan Mau Mau Uprising from November 1953 to January 1954 and from November 1954 to July 1955. During both these tours it was commanded by Squadron Leader Alan E. Newitt DFC.

During their second tour of operation Avro Lincoln SX984 was lost in an accident.

They operated the Vickers Valiant from RAF Wittering and RAF Marham, from 1 May 1956 until 1 May 1965.

The sole remaining Vickers Valiant (XD818) - the one that dropped the first British hydrogen bomb at Christmas Island with 49 Sqn as part of Operation Grapple - is preserved at the RAF Museum Cosford, near Wolverhampton.

SX984 Avro Lincoln

The SX984 was lost in a crash on February 19, 1955 while serving in Kenya during the Mau Mau Uprising.

On returning from an operational bombing sortie at 1540 hours some 1hr 25mins flying time (total airborne time to the moment of the crash was 1hr 33mins), the pilot of SX984 carried out several unauthorized low passes over the police hut at Githunguri, where another 49 squadron crew where paying a visit. On the third such pass SX984 struck the roof of the hut and a telegraph pole breaking off part of the wing and some of its nose. It went into a steep climb, stalled and crashed to the ground 8 miles north north west of Kiambu killing five members of the crew and four civilians on the ground. A visiting crew member called Pierson managed to pull the Rear Gunner from the wreckage, but he died a few hours later of his injuries.

The finding of the Board of Inquiry was that the accident was caused by willful disobedience of orders and by unauthorized low flying.

There is a memorial window to the crew and civilians killed in the crash in a window of St Leonards Church Sandridge in Hertfordshire, UK.


  • Mike Garbutt & Brian Goulding. Lincoln at War 1944–66. London.  
  • Richard Bartlett-May, son of Rear Gunner Sgt S A G Bartlett from information provided by the Historical Air Branch, Ministry of Defence, London and the 49 Squadron Association

External links



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