No.15 Squadron

A hind’s head affrontée erased at the neck between wings elevated and conjoined in base
A hind’s head affrontée erased at the neck between wings elevated and conjoined in base
Aim Sure
01 March 1915

No 15 Squadron was formed at South Farnborough on 1 March 1915 with Captain P B Joubert de la Ferté as its CO (ACM Sir Philip Joubert de la Ferté). The unit moved to France in December. The squadron operated as a reconnaissance unit for most of its time on the Western Front but it was pressed into service to undertake ground attack missions in 1918. In February 1919 the unit returned to the UK and disbanded on 31 December 1919.

On 24 March 1924 the unit reformed at RAF Martlesham Heath as an armament testing squadron within A&AEEE. It ended this task in 1934 and on 1 June 1934 became a day bomber squadron. At the start of World War Two, No 15 Squadron deployed to France with the Advanced Air Striking Force, but within months re-deployed to the UK to re-equip. The squadron attacked German ground forces in May 1940 and moved on to enemy invasion barge concentrations later in the year. In April 1941 the unit became the second squadron to be equipped with the Stirling bomber. In September 1941 No 15 Squadron received the Stirling N6086 LS-F, donated by Lady MacRobert, in memory of her three sons who were all killed in flying accidents: two were killed in action with the RAF in 1941. The Bomber was to be known as 'MacRobert's Reply' and since that day every aircraft designated 'F' has borne the inscription. The unit re-equipped with Lancasters at the end of 1943 and the squadron continued to play it part in the main bomber offensive until the end of the war.

No 15 Squadron was retained in post war Bomber Command. In 1953 the unit moved into the 'jet age' with the Canberra. No 15 Squadron operated from Cyprus during the 1956 Suez crisis. On 15 April 1957 it disbanded.

It reformed on 1 September 1958 at RAF Cottesmore as the second Victor squadron. It disbanded again on 31 October 1964. It reformed again on I October 1970. A year later it moved to Laarbruch, Germany. The squadron converted to the Panavia Tornado GR1 in 1983 becoming the first operational Tornado Squadron in Germany. The unit became involved in the Gulf War in November 1990 when it deployed to Muharraq, Bahrain. It carried out one of the first Allied offensive operations of the war, attacking an airfield in Iraq on 17 January 1991. In the six weeks of operations the squadron flew over 200 sorties against some 30 different targets delivering in excess of eight hundred 1000lb bombs and 30 JP233 airfield denial weapons. Two aircraft were lost due to enemy action.

After the Gulf War, three squadrons at RAF Laarbruch were disbanded; XV Squadron being one of these at the end of 1991. On 1 April 1992 the 15(Reserve) name plate was given to the Tornado Weapons Conversion Unit and the squadron subsequently moved to its current home, RAF Lossiemouth. With the closure of the Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment (TTTE) at RAF Cottesmore on 31st March 1999 the sole responsibility for the training of all of the RAF's future Tornado Pilots and Navigators now lies with 15(R) Squadron, who also field the RAF’s Tornado air display team.


BE2C 1915 - 1917
Bristol Scout 1916 - 1916
BE2d/e 1916 - 1917
RE8 1917 - 1919
DH9A 1924 - 1926
Horsley 1926 - 1934
Various types for testing 1924 - 1934
Hart 1934 - 1936
Hind 1936 - 1938
Battle 1938 - 1939
Blenheim IV 1939 - 1940
Wellington I 1940 - 1941
Stirling I/III 1941 - 1943
Lancaster I/III 1943 - 1947
Lincoln 1947 - 1950
Washington 1951 - 1953
Canberra 2 1953 - 1957
Victor 1 1958 - 1964
Buccaneer 2 1970 - 1983
Tornado 1/4 1983 - current (17 March 2006)

Reference Sources

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

RAF Squadrons
Wg Cdr C G Jefford

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

Coastal Support and S

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