|No. 45 Squadron RAF|
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
|Role||Multi-engine pilot and weapons systems operator training|
|Part of||No. 3 Flying Training School|
|Home station||RAF Cranwell|
|Motto(s)||Per ardua surgo
(Latin for Through difficulties I arise)
|Aircraft||Beechcraft King Air B200|
|Squadron badge heraldry||A winged camel, commemorating the Sopwith Camel used for a large part of the First World War, and the squadron's long association with the Middle East. Approved by King Edward VIII in October 1936.|
Formed during World War I at Gosport on 1 March 1916 as Number 45 Squadron, the unit was first equipped with Sopwith 1½ Strutters which it was to fly in the Scout role. Deployed to France in October of that year, the Squadron found itself suffering heavy losses due to the quality of its aircraft. This did not change until it transitioned to the Sopwith Camel in mid-1917. Transferred to the Austro-Italian front at the end of 1917, 45 Squadron there engaged in ground attack and offensive patrols until September 1918 when it returned to France. Assigned to the Independent Air Force, 45 Squadron provided long-range bomber escort till the end of the war.
During the course of the war, some thirty flying aces had served in the squadron's ranks. They included future Air Vice-Marshal Matthew Frew, Cedric Howell, Geoffrey Hornblower Cock, future Air Commodore Raymond Brownell, John C. B. Firth, Kenneth Barbour Montgomery, Mansell Richard James, Norman Macmillan, Peter Carpenter, Richard Jeffries Dawes, Norman Cyril Jones, Ernest Masters, Henry Moody, Thomas F. Williams, William Wright, James Dewhirst, James Belgrave, Edward Clarke, Alfred Haines, Thomas M. Harries, Alan Rice-Oxley, Earl Hand, Sir Arthur Harris, 1st Baronet, John Pinder, and future Group Captain Sidney Cottle.
In 1919 the Squadron returned to England and disbanded. In April 1921 it reformed at Helwan, Egypt. Assigned Vickers Vernon bomber-transports, the unit provided troop transportation and ground support and mail services throughout the Middle East, notably in support of anti-rebel operations in Iraq and the Palestine. During the mid-war years the unit transitioned to DH9As (1927) and Fairey IIIs (1929) and then a combination of Hawker Harts, Vickers Vincents and Fairey Gordons (1935).
At some point the unit adopted the nickname "The Flying Camels". The Squadron Badge is a winged camel, approved by King Edward VIII in October 1936. The badge and nickname derive from the Sopwith used by the unit in World War I and its long service in the Middle East.
At the start of World War II, 45 Squadron converted to Bristol Blenheims. From mid-1940 it took part in the North African Campaign and on 11 June, was one of three squadrons that participated in the Allies' first attack on the Regia Aeronautica (Italian air force) base at El Adem: 18 Italian aircraft were destroyed or damaged on the ground, for the loss of three British aircraft. The following day, the squadron participated in an attack on shipping at Tobruk, damaging the Italian cruiser San Giorgio.
During late 1940 the squadron supported Allied ground forces in the East African Campaign, while based at Gura, in Eritrea. During its time at Gura, the squadron suffered losses – on 2 October two Blenheims were shot down by an Italian ace, sergeant-major Luigi "Gino" Baron; among the aircrew killed was 45 Squadron's CO, Sqn Ldr John Dallamore. His successor was acting Sqn Ldr Patrick Troughton-Smith.
After returning to North Africa, the squadron operated against Italian and German forces in Libya, Egypt and on the Mediterranean.
From mid-1942 the unit was deployed to Burma and India, for service against the Japanese. Three aircraft from the Squadron participated in the first Allied bombing raid against Bangkok. During its time in India and Burma, 45 Squadron converted to Vultee Vengeance dive-bombers, followed by de Havilland Mosquitos.
During World War II, it became one of only a few Allied units to have engaged German, Italian, Vichy French and Japanese forces. 45 Squadron included a significant number of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) personnel, who were drawn from an unofficial joint pool of aircrew.
After the Second World War, 45 Squadron served in the Malayan Emergency, flying out of RAF Station Tengah on the island of Singapore. There the unit engaged in ground attack operations against Communist Terrorists (CTs) engaged in a Chinese backed insurgency. Dubbed Operation Firedog, these operations lasted for 12 years until the successful conclusion of the war. The unit also engaged in operations to quell unrest on the Sarawak coast in British North Borneo during this time period. While operating in Malaya the unit initially flew Bristol Beaufighters but then transitioned to the Bristol Brigand (1949/1950) and then the de Havilland Hornet, de Havilland Venom, de Havilland Vampire and English Electric Canberra. The unit also had service aircraft, including the Bristol Buckmaster and the Harvard. Unit commanders during this time included Sqdn. Ldr. E. D. Crew who served from a date uncertain until the rotation to Squadron Leader A. C. Blythe in February 1950, among others.
After re-equipping with Canberra B.15s in 1962, the squadron became involved in the Brunei Revolution and the subsequent Confrontation with Indonesia until its resolution in 1966. The squadron disbanded in February 1970 after the UK's withdrawal from East of Suez.
On 1 August 1972, the squadron was reformed at RAF West Raynham, equipped with Hawker Hunter FGA.9s, as a ground-attack training unit. The squadron disbanded in July 1976 at RAF Wittering after this role was taken over by the Tactical Weapons Unit.
In January 1984, the squadron number, as No. 45 (Reserve) Squadron, was assigned to the Tornado Weapons Conversion Unit (TWCU) at RAF Honington. As a 'Shadow Squadron' or war reserve, the squadron's war role was as a fully operational unit composed mainly of instructors, and assigned strike and other duties by SACEUR in support of land forces on the Continent resisting a Soviet assault on Western Europe, by striking at targets assigned by SACEUR, beyond the forward edge of the battlefield, deep within enemy-held areas, first with conventional weapons and later with tactical nuclear weapons if a conflict escalated to that level. The squadron's twenty-six Tornado aircraft were allocated thirty-nine WE.177 nuclear bombs, although each Tornado was able to carry two weapons. The apparent mismatch between aircraft and weapons was because RAF staff planners expected that there would be sufficient aircraft surviving the conventional phase to deliver the squadron's full allocated stockpile of nuclear weapons.
In July 1992, the No. 45(R) Squadron identity was resurrected and adopted by the Multi-Engined Training Squadron (METS) at No. 6 FTS, RAF Finningley. The new 45(R) Squadron moved to RAF Cranwell in October 1995, and in 2003, replaced its BAe Jetstream T.1s with Beechcraft B200 King Airs operated by Serco. Shortly after, 45(R) Squadron also received King Air B200 GT aircraft with uprated engines, advanced avionics and a glass cockpit in order to bring training in line with what students will progress to on front line aircraft such as the C-17 Globemaster, Voyager and A400M Atlas.
The Squadron now operates under the command of No. 3 FTS and runs the Multi Engine Advanced Flying Training (MEAFT) course for pilots, whilst simultaneously training NCA rear-crew for Fixed Wing, Rotary and ISTAR roles throughout the RAF. Student pilots undertake Ground School studies before beginning simulator based training alongside the flying syllabus. The Squadron currently operates a mixed fleet of King Air B200s and King Air B200 GTs, which are normally flown by the students towards the advanced phase of the course. Course No. 215 was the first to have a pair of students fly the entire syllabus on the 'GT', this was then replicated for Course No. 217. In 2017, Course No. 226 became the latest all GT course due to groundings in the previous summer.
The pilot syllabus is broken down into the following stages:
Although the students learn a vast number of new disciplines and techniques to build upon their Elementary Flying Training, the focus on the Squadron is Crew Resource Management (CRM) and Emergency Handling. Students are encouraged to develop their airmanship and decision making, with the aim of producing the front line captains of tomorrow. Asymmetric flight is perhaps the most significant change to previous flying experiences and as such it is covered thoroughly throughout the course to ensure students are confident with handling the aircraft on just one engine. Most of the training is completed around Lincolnshire, with regular visits to RAF Scampton, Marham and Coningsby along with local civilian airports Doncaster and Humberside for circuit training and Instrument Approaches. Short detachments are also often run to escape poor weather and maximise the output of the King Airs and staff alike.
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