No.24 Squadron

A black cock
A black cock
In omnia parati - Prepared for all things
21 September 1915

No 24 Squadron was formed at Hounslow on 1 September 1915. It moved to France in February 1916 to become the first squadron to operate single seat fighters (DH2 Scouts) in combat. The Squadron's first permanent CO was Major L J Hawker, VC, DSO, who won great distinction for himself and the Squadron, but was later shot down and killed by Baron von Richthofen.

During the inter-war years and during World War 2 24 Squadron was engaged in communications duties, a role which it continued to develop. In recognition of its 323 flights in unarmed Lockheed Hudson aircraft into a besieged Malta, 24 Squadron was accorded the great honour of delivering the island's George Cross Medal.

During 1948-49 the Dakotas of 24 Squadron played a prominent role in the Berlin airlift. A change of role gradually took place after 1950 with more special and scheduled flights flown whilst the number of VIP flights decreased.

The Squadron moved to RAF Lyneham from Colerne in January 1968 when it was re-equipped with the Lockheed Hercules C.1 (C-130K). Recent operations using this splendid aircraft have included

the massive airlift for the South Atlantic Task Force in 1982
delivery of relief supplies in famine-stricken Ethiopia in 1985
the Gulf War in 1990/91
Somali famine relief in 1993
evacuation of refugees from Yemen in 1994
famine relief in Rwanda

In the aftermath of the Falklands campaign some Hercules were converted for air-to-air refuelling duties as tanker aircraft. A number of 24 Squadron crews were in the forefront of this developing role.

The squadron continues to operate Hercules aircraft in the transport role.

During 2003 men and machines from this unit participated in Operation Telic. Coalition forces, led by the United States overthrew the Iraqi regime led by Saddam Hussein in a short campaign.


Various types including Bleriot XI 1915 – 1916
FB5 1915 – 1916
DH2 1915 – 1917
DH5 1917 – 1917
SE5A 1917 – 1918
Various Communications types 1920 – 1943
Dakota I/III/IV 1943 – 1950
York 1943 – 1951
Lancastrian 1946 – 1949
Hastings 1/2/4 1950 – 1968
Hercules 1968 – 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

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

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