No.86 Squadron

A gull volant carrying in the beak a flash of lightning
A gull volant carrying in the beak a flash of lightning
Ad libertates volamus - We fly to freedom
01 September 1917
25 April 1946

No 86 Squadron was formed at Shoreham on 1 September 1917 but did not become operational before disbandment on 4 July 1918. Its personnel were allotted away to provide re-enforcement’s for existing units. On 30 October 1918 it began to reform but this was immediately suspended when the Armistice was signed.

On 2 December 1940 the unit reformed at RAF Gosport. It began convoy escort patrols in March 1941. In June it added mine-laying to its portfolio after re-equipping with Beaufort aircraft. After working up on torpedo dropping anti-shipping strikes began on 11 November 1941. In July 1942 the unit5 sent all of its aircraft to the Middle East and was reduced to a cadre on 26 August 1942. At the end of the year new crews and equipment arrived and the new squadron undertook it first anti-submarine patrol on 16 February 1943. It transferred to Transport Command on 10 June 1945. It began trooping flights to India in October and these continued until the squadron disbanded on 25 April 1946.


Salamander 1918 – 1918
Blenheim IV 1940 – 1941
Beaufort I/II 1941 – 1942
Liberator III/V/VII/VI 1942 – 1946

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

Coastal Support and Special Squadrons of the RAF and their aircraft John D R Rawlings Jane’s Publishing 1982

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