No.13 Squadron

In front of a dagger, a lynx’s head affrontée
In front of a dagger, a lynx’s head affrontée
Adjuvamus tuendo - We Assist By Watching
10 January 1915

No 13 Squadron formed at Gosport on 10 January 1915 and moved to France in October. Initially it provided army co-operation duties but subsequently it included bombing raids, pioneering formation bombing on 25 November 1916 in a raid on Achiet-le-Grand. In March 1919 it returned to the UK and on 31 December 1919 it disbanded.

On 1 April 1924 it reformed at RAF Kenley as an army co-operation unit. In 1939 the squadron went to France. The unit suffered heavy casualties in 1940 operating Lysander aircraft in a tactical reconnaissance role against advancing German fighter defences. The remains of the squadron withdrew to the UK.
In May 1942 the unit took part in the first ‘Thousand Bomber Raid’ and was involved laying smokescreen at Dieppe in August. In November 1942 No 13 Squadron moved to Algeria. In December 1943 in moved to Egypt and after re-equipping it took its aircraft to Italy. Ion September 1945 the unit moved to Greece and disbanded on 19 April 1946.

On 1 September 1946 No 680 Squadron at Ein Shemer, Palestine was renumbered No 13 Squadron. The unit operated as a photographic reconnaissance squadron. Still operating in this capacity it moved to Egypt, Cyprus and Malta. It returned to the UK in October 1978 and disbanded on 1 January 1982.

No 13 Squadron reformed at RAF Honington on 1 January 1990 equipped with reconnaissance Tornado aircraft. As the Allied Coalition began to deploy forces to the Gulf in the latter part of 1990, in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, it quickly became apparent that the unique night reconnaissance capability of the Tornado could provide vital intelligence to the Allied commanders. As a result, on 15/16 January 1991, immediately before hostilities commenced, 6 aircraft were deployed to Dharhan in Saudi Arabia.

During the first nights of the War, the Reconnaissance Wing successfully discovered several of the elusive Scud sites, giving rise to the now famous 'Scudhunters' nickname. By the end of the War, some 128 reconnaissance sorties had been flown by the detachment. However, this was not the Squadron’s only contribution to the coalition victory, for the Squadron was also fundamental to the success of the Tornado/TIALD (Thermal imaging And Laser Designation) combination. 72 successful TIALD missions were flown.

No 13 Squadron and its Tornado GR4s have since taken part in Operation Telic, in which Coalition forces, led by the United States overthrew the Iraqi regime, led by Saddam Hussein. The Squadron’s latest deployment has taken them from their RAF Marham home to Al Udeid Air Base during late 2005, supporting continuing Coalition operations in Iraq.


BE2c/d/e 1915 - 1917
RE8 1917 - 1919
F2B 1924 - 1928
Atlas 1927 - 1932
Audax 1932 - 1937
Hector 1937 - 1939
Lysander I/II/III 1939 - 1941
Blenheim IV/V 1941 - 1943
Ventura 1943 - 1943
Baltimore IV/V 1944 - 1944
Boston IV/V 1944 - 1946
Mosquito 34 1946 - 1952
Meteor 10 1952 - 1956
Canberra 7/9 1956 - 1982
Tornado 1A/4A 1990 - current (17 March 2006)

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

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

RAF Website

RAF Marham (official) Website

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