No.123 Squadron

A couped tiger’s head before two claymores in saltire, points upwards
A couped tiger’s head before two claymores in saltire, points upwards
Swift to strike
01 March 1918
20 June 1945

No 123 Squadron formed on 1 February 1918 as a day bomber unit but failed to make operational status before disbandment on 17 August 1918. The squadron reformed as a Canadian-manned fighter unit on 3 November 1918, becoming No 2 Squadron RCAF on 28 November.

On 10 May 1941 No 122 Squadron reformed at Turnhouse with Spitfires and flew its first patrol on 8 June. The squadron arrived in the Middle East in June 1942 but a lack of aircraft meant that it became a maintenance unit operating in Iran and Iraq. In October 1942 an army co-operation flight was formed flying Gladiators and in November No 122 Squadron received Hurricanes for air defence duties.

The squadron moved to the Western Desert in May 1943 to fly local defence patrols, before being relocated to India in November that year. In India No 122 Squadron flew escort duties for transport aircraft and dive-bombers until May 1944. In May the squadron withdrew to southern India and while there they re-equipped with Thunderbolts in September.

Armed with their new fighter-bombers No 122 Squadron moved to Burma and started flying offensive sorties on 27 December. On 20 June 1945 No 122 Squadron was renumbered as No 81 Squadron.


D.H.9 1918 - 1918
Dolphin 1918 - 1920
Spitfire I/II/V 1941 - 1942
Gladiator II 1942 - 1942
Hurricane I/II 1942 - 1944
Spitfire V 1943 - 1943
Thunderbolt II 1944 - 1945

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

Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their aircraft
John D R Rawlings Crecy Books 1993

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