No.30 Squadron

A date palm tree
A date palm tree
Ventre a terre - All out
01 October 1914

An un-numbered unit was formed at Farnborough in October 1914. This unit sailed for Egypt and began operating from Ismailia using five Farman aircraft. By then the unit was known as Detached Flight, RFC but on 24 March 1915 this was redesignated No 30 Squadron and was tasked with preventing the Turks from blowing up the banks of the Suez Canal and protect oil pipelines. The Squadron carried out its first bombing attack on 27 March 1915. During April 1916 the squadron flew supply dropping missions to the British troops surrounded at Kut-el-Amara and in so doing recorded the first air transport support operation in the history of British aviation.

Although reduced to a cadre in 1919 the unit was brought back up to strength in February 1920 to take part in the colonial policing operations over Iraq.

When the Italians declared war in June 1940 No 30 Squadron was back in Egypt. On 6 November 1940 the squadron moved to Greece. Following the April 1941 German Balkans blitzkrieg the unit first retreated to Crete and then Egypt. In February 1942 the squadron was again moved, this time to Ceylon. On Easter Sunday, 5 April 1942 pilots of 30 and 258 Squadrons scrambled to meet a Japanese carrier attack force. At a cost of eight aircraft, the Squadron accounted for 14 of the 18 enemy aircraft shot down in air combat. In February 1944, the Squadron moved to Burma and carried out low-level ground attack and escort duties.

After a short post-war period at Bhopal, India the squadron was disbanded on 1 December 1946. On 1 November 1947 the squadron reformed at RAF Oakington as a transport squadron. In June 1948, the Squadron moved to Germany to take part in Operation 'PLAINFARE' (the Berlin airlift). After re-equipping with Valettas in 1950 the unit was engaged in courier and VIP duties until April 1957, when it retrained in the short range and tactical transport role, using the Blackburn Beverley.

On 1 May 1968 the squadron reformed at RAF Fairford with the Lockheed Hercules, and moved to its present base at RAF Lyneham in 1971. In April 1982 No 30 Squadron became immediately involved in Operation 'Corporate', after the Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands, flying vital supplies to Ascension Island. At the same time, crews commenced training on the first Hercules tankers in RAF service.

The Squadron probably saw its busiest period since the Second World War with Operation 'Granby', in support of the Gulf conflict. From August 1990 to March 1991 the Squadron flew in excess of 8,500 hours on flights between RAFLyneham and the Gulf. In peacetime operations it would take up to 18 months to achieve the same amount of flying

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.

The aircraft of 30 Squadron have since been involved in supporting the RAF’s operations in Iraq and in Afghanistan, based at Basrah and Kabul respectively.


Maurice Farman S7/S11 1914 - 1916
Henry Farman F20 1914 - 1917
BE2a/c 1914 - 1918
Voisin LA 1915 - 1916
Martinsyde S1 1916 - 1917
BE2e 1917 - 1918
Bristol Scout 1917 - 1917
Spad S7 1917 - 1918
RE8 1917 - 1918
Vickers FB19 1917 - 1917
DH4 1917 - 1918
Martinsyde G100 1918 - 1919
SE5A 1919 - 1919
RE8 1920 - 1921
DH9A 1921 - 1929
Wapiti 1929 - 1935
Hardy 1935 - 1938
Blenheim I 1938 - 1941
Hurricane I/II 1941 - 1944
Thunderbolt I/II 1944 - 1946
Tempest 2 1946 - 1946
Dakota 4 1947 - 1951
Valetta 1950 - 1957
Beverley 1957 - 1967
Hercules 1/3 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

Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and

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