No.2 Squadron

Three concentric circles over all a Wake Knotnumeral ā€˜Iā€™ winged
Badge
Three concentric circles over all a Wake Knotnumeral ā€˜Iā€™ winged
Motto
Hereward
Formed
13 May 1912
Disbanded
Current

No 2 Squadron RFC, was formed on 13 May 1912 at Farnborough. The Squadron, along with No 3 Squadron, had the distinction of being the first fixed-wing squadrons to be created. The unit began training in its role of reconnaissance which it has maintained to the present day. No 2 Squadron to France at the outbreak of War in 1914. Lieutenant H D Harvey-Kelly scored two firsts for the Squadron .when he became the first man to land a RFC machine in France and then later, in the same month, he obtained the RFC's first aerial victory in forcing down an enemy aircraft.

Initially the Squadron was tasked with reconnaissance duties including missions during the battle of Neuve Chapelle where cameras were used for the first time to record enemy trenches. It was not long, however, before the importance of bombing was realised and on one of these early missions Second Lieutenant Rhodes-Moorhouse, in spite of ultimately fatal injuries, completed his attack on a railway junction at Courtrai to gain the first VC awarded to RFC. In 1918 the Squadron was to record its second VC, this time to Second Lieutenant A A McLeod.

After the War the Squadron returned to England, settling eventually in Andover in 1919. It was then that it began to use the designation II (AC) Squadron - the title reflecting the unit's. Throughout the inter-war period the Squadron saw service in a variety of locations including Galway, Ireland and Shanghai, China.

No 2 Squadron was ordered to move to Abbeville, France in October 1939. The aircraft flew tactical reconnaissance missions over France before returning to RAF Sawbridgeworth in July 1940. In early 1941 the Squadron also undertook clandestine training on behalf of the Special Operations Executive.

The Squadron played an important role in the pre-invasion reconnaissance programme, with varied tasks such as shipping reconnaissance and searching for V1 sites as well as the standard coastal photographic sorties. Later the unit moved to France and provided reconnaissance for the First Canadian Army.In June 1945, a move was made to RAF Celle, Germany. In 1951 the Squadron re-equipped with Meteor FR9 jet aircraft and concentrated solely on the low-level tactical reconnaissance role, a task that has remained with the Squadron to the present day. During its years in Germany No 2 Squadron excelled in Tactical Evaluations and exercises, particularly Red flag in the United States, where it put up an impressive performance.

In 1989,11 (AC) Squadron became the first RAF reconnaissance squadron to replace the old photo-reconnaissance print method with infra-red linescan video. Crews and Tornado aircraft from Nos 2 and 13 Squadrons formed No 2 (Composite) Squadron at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia during the 1991 Gulf War. After the War, the Squadron returned to RAF Laarbruch, Germany until December 1991 when it moved to RAF Marham, after an absence of over 47 years from England.
During 2003 men and machines from this unit participated in Operation Telic. Coalition forces, led by the United States overthrew the Iraqi regime, led by Saddam Hussein, in a short campaign.

AIRCRAFT

Various types including Bleriot XI    1912 - 1914
BE2c/d/e    1914 - 1917
Bristol Scout    1915 - 1915
FK8    1917 - 1919
F2b    1920 - 1930
A

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