No.22 Squadron

On a torteau, a Maltese cross throughout. Over all a ‘pi’ fimbriated
On a torteau, a Maltese cross throughout. Over all a ‘pi’ fimbriated
Preux et audacieux - Valiant and brave
01 September 1915

Formed in September 1915 and after a period of training moved to France in 1916. The unit was a reconnaissance squadron tasked with the location and surveillance of German dumps, railheads and camps. Following its re-equipment in 1917 it began to fly fighter as well as reconnaissance patrols. After the war 22 Squadron became a part of the Allied occupation forces of Germany before returning to the UK for disbandment in December 1919.

On 24 July 1923 the unit re-formed as a testing unit within the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at RAF Martlesham Heath. It was disbanded on 1 May 1934. It reformed on the same day at RAF Donibristle as a torpedo-bomber unit. In 1940 it made numerous attacks against invasion barges in German occupied ports. On 6 April 1941 Flying Officer Kenneth Campbell and his crew made a daring low level torpedo attack on the German battle cruiser Gneisenau anchored in Brest harbour. They managed to launch their torpedo, which struck the ship and put her out of action for nine months, but the defences shot down their Beaufort N1016. None of the crew survived. F/O Campbell was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for this action. shot In March 1942 the unit was quickly transferred to the Far East to form part of the aerial defence of Ceylon. At the end of 1944 No 22 Squadron moved to Burma where it Beaufighters undertook ground attack and air-sea rescue duties until its disbandment on 30 September 1945.

No 22 Squadron briefly came back into existence when No 89 Squadron was re-numbered on 1 May 1946. Disbandment again took place on 15 August 1946.

On 15 February 1955 the unit reformed as a helicopter search and rescue (SAR) unit. C Flt 22 Sqn is a STC lodger unit at RAF Valley being a detached Helicopter Flight engaged in Search and Rescue duties. C Flt is one of 3 detached flights of 22 Sqn. It is one of the UK's busiest SAR Flts; it carries out nearly 300 rescue missions every year.

During 2005 the Squadron’s aircraft were upgraded with new day and night thermal imaging camera pods known as the Sea King Multi-Sensor System, providing enhanced search and rescue capability.


Various types including Bleriot XI 1915 - 1916
FE2b 1916 - 1917
F2b 1917 - 1919
Vildebeest 1934 - 1940
Beaufort 1939 - 1944
Beaufighter 1944 - 1945
Mosquito FB6 1946 - 1946
Whirlwind 1955 - 1981
Wessex 1976 - 1997
Sea King 1994 – current (30 June 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

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

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

The RAF’s Year 04 Royal Air Force Yearbook 2005

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