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No. 543 Squadron RAF: Wikis


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No. 543 Squadron RAF
Active 19 October 1942 - 18 October 1943
24 September 1955 - 24 May 1974
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Role Reconnaissance
Motto Valiant and Vigilant
Squadron Badge heraldry A crane's head, the crane carrying an open padlock, with key, in its beak[1]

No. 543 Squadron RAF was a reconnaissance squadron of the Royal Air Force from 1942 to 1974.



The squadron was formed on 19 October 1942[2] at RAF Benson as a photo-reconnaissance unit with the Supermarine Spitfire. A detachment was stationed at RAF St Eval, Cornwall to carry out reconnaissance flights over France. The rest of the squadron carried out operational training. On 18 October 1943 the squadron was disbanded.

On 24 September 1955 the squadron was reformed at RAF Gaydon to operate the Vickers Valiant for reconnaissance duties. It moved to RAF Wyton in November 1955. The squadron re-equipped with the Handley Page Victor in 1965. It was disbanded on 24 May 1974 at RAF Wyton.[3]

Aircraft operated

From To Aircraft Version
October 1942 October 1943 Supermarine Spitfire Mks.IV & V
November 1942 October 1943 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX
June 1943 October 1943 de Havilland Mosquito PR.IV
June 1955 December 1964 Vickers Valiant B(PR).1
February 1956 December 1964 Vickers Valiant B(PR)K.1
May 1965 December 1965 Handley Page Victor B.1
January 1966 May 1974 Handley Page Victor B.2(SR)


Commanding officers

From To Name
October 1942 October 1942 S/Ldr. A.E. Hill, DSO, DFC & Bar
October 1942 October 1943 S/Ldr. G.E. Hughes, DFC
August 1955 August 1957 W/Cdr. R.E. Havercroft, AFC
August 1957 W/Cdr. R. Berry, DSO, OBE, DFC
W/Cdr. C.G.St.D. Jeffries


Squadron bases

From To Base Remark
19 October 1942 18 October 1943 RAF Benson Detachments at St. Eval, Mount Farm and Grasnaya and Vaenga, Russia
1 July 1955 18 November 1955 RAF Graydon
18 November 1955 23 March 1970 RAF Wyton
23 March 1970 1 October 1970 RAF Honington
1 October 1970 24 May 1974 RAF Wyton Disbanded here


See also




  1. ^ a b c d Rawlings 1982, p. 233.
  2. ^ a b c Halley 1988, p. 408.
  3. ^ a b c Jefford 2001, p. 98.


  • 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, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1988 (second edition 2001). ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Coastal, Support and Special Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Jane's Publishing Company Ltd., 1982. ISBN 0-7106-0187-5.

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