No.27 Squadron

An elephant
An elephant
Quam celerrime ad astra - With all speed to the stars
05 November 1915

No 27 Squadron was formed at Hounslow Heath on 5 November 1915 as a fighter squadron. It moved to France in March 1916. It aircraft equipment proved totally inadequate for the task of fighter operations so it switched to long range bombing and reconnaissance. It operated in support of the war's major battles including the Somme, Ypres and Amiens. During the war it played an important part in the development of all-weather flying and high-altitude photography. In March 1919 the squadron returned to the UK and on 22 January 1920 disbanded.

On 1 April 1920 No 99 Squadron was renumbered No 27 Squadron. For many years it was engaged in operations against the notorious tribes of the Northwest Frontier and was rarely inactive until 1939 when it became a flying training unit at Risalpur. It returned to operational status on 21 October 1940 and in February 1941 moved to Malaya. The squadron was wiped out when the Japanese overran the peninsula but many of its personnel managed to escape to India by devious routes. There the Squadron re-formed in September 1942 and returned to action becoming the first Squadron to operate the Bristol Beaufighter in the Far Eastern theatre. The squadron undertook anti-shipping, ground attack and air-sea rescue duties during the rest of the war. It disbanded on 1 February 1950.

On 24 November 1947 the unit reformed at RAF Oakington as a transport squadron. It rendered valuable service in the Berlin Airlift in 1948 before being disbanded again on 10 November 1950.

On 15 June 1953 the squadron re-formed at RAF Scampton, equipped with the Canberra bomber. Whilst based in Cyprus in 1956 the Squadron was engaged in bombing sorties against Egyptian targets during the Suez Crisis. In January 1957 the Squadron returned to the UK and was disbanded on 31 December 1956. It re-formed again at RAF Scampton on 1 April 1961 equipped with the Vulcan B2 V-bomber equipped with the Blue Steel stand off bomb. It disbanded on 29 March 1972.

On 1 November 1973 it reformed at RAF Waddington as a Maritime Radar Reconnaissance (MRR) role unit. The squadron disbanded on 31 March 1982. It reformed on 1 May 1983 equipped with the Tornado GR1. In September 1990 the Squadron detached six crews to the Middle East to take part in the Gulf War. The crews flew 18 missions apiece - the first three at low level and the remainder at medium level and for the first time, sometimes using laser guided bombs. The Squadron disbanded in September 1993.

The decision had already been taken that the 27 Squadron Number plate should be allocated to RAF Odiham's long established helicopter training unit. So on 30 September 1993, No. 240 Operational Conversion Unit became No 27(Reserve) Squadron equipped with Puma and Chinook helicopters.

On 1 January 1998 the Squadron lost its (R) and became a full operational squadron again but with a continued requirement to operate an embedded training flight for all Chinook aircrew.

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.

During 2004 a detachment from the Squadron participated along with ships and helicopters of the Royal Navy in Exercise Joint Winter to provide experience of amphibious operations in arctic conditions.

Exercise Eagle’s Eye in October 2004 provided the Squadron with an opportunity to take part in a large-scale training exercise with 16 Air Assault Brigade and other units of Joint Helicopter Command.


Martinsyde G.100 1915 - 1917
DH4 1917 - 1918
DH9 1919 - 1919
DH9A 1920 - 1930
Wapiti 1930 - 1940
Hart 1939 - 1940
Tiger Moth 1939 - 1940
Blenheim IF 1940 -1942
Beaufighter VI/X 1942 - 1946
Mosquito II/VI 1943 - 1944
Dakota 4 1947 - 1950
Canberra 2 1953 - 1956
Vulcan B2 1961 - 1972
Vulcan SR2

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