No.49 Squadron

A greyhound courant
A greyhound courant
Cave canem - Beware of the dog
15 April 1916
01 May 1965

Formed on 15 April 1916 at Dover the squadron moved to France in November 1917 as a bomber unit. The squadron formed part of the Allied occupation forces in Germany before disbanding on 18 July 1919.

On 10 November 1935 the unit reformed at RAF Bircham Newton as a bomber unit. In September 1938 the unit received the first Hampdens to be introduced into service.. It undertook leaflet dropping and mine laying in the early months of the war. On 11 May 1940 it made its first bombing attack on Germany. On the night of 12 August 1940 Acting Flight Lieutenant Roderick Alastair Brook Learoyd undertook a particularly hazardous low level attack on the Dortmund-Ems Canal. He managed to bring his badly damaged aircraft home. For this action he was awarded the Victoria Cross. In April 1942 it began re-equipping with the ill-fated Manchester but by July this had changed and it received Lancasters instead. The unit operated as a part of the main force of Bomber Command for the rest of the war.

In November 1953 it was detached to Kenya for missions against the Mau Mau. It returned to the UK in February of the following year. On 1 August 1956 it disbanded.

On 1 May 1956 the unit reformed at RAF Wittering. It Valiant V-bombers took part in the nuclear bomb trials at Christmas Island in 1956-1957. The squadron dropped the first British hydrogen bomb. The unit disbanded on 1 May 1965.


BE2c 1916 – 1917
RE7 1916 – 1917
DH4 1917 – 1918
DH9 1918 – 1919
Hind 1936 – 1938
Hampden 1938 – 1942
Manchester 1942 – 1942
Lancaster I/III 1942 – 1950
Valiant 1956 – 1964

Reference Sources

The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force James J Halley Air Britain (Historians) Ltd 1988

RAF Squadrons Wg Cdr C G Jefford Airlife 2001

Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their aircraft Phillip J R Moyes Macdonald & Jane’s 1976

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