No.31 Squadron

In front of a wreath of laurel, a mullet
In front of a wreath of laurel, a mullet
In caelum indicum primus - First into Indian skies
11 October 1915

No 31 Squadron formed at Farnborough on 11 October 1915 for service in India. 'A' Flight left on 27 November and arrived at Risulpur on 26 December, being joined by two more Flights in May 1916. The Squadron flew Army co-operation patrols over the North West Frontier for the remainder of the war.

No 31 Squadron remained in India after the war using it aircraft to co-operate with army units on the North West Frontier. In April 1939 its role was changed to bomber-transport when Valentias were taken on strength. No 31 Squadron undertook transport duties in India throughout the war. After the Japanese surrender it moved to Singapore and a month later went on to Java to support Allied forces. It disbanded there on the 30 September 1946. On 1 November 1946 No 77 Squadron in India was renumbered and No 31 Squadron was briefly reborn until disbanding on 31 December 1947.

The Squadron reformed at RAF Hendon on 19 July 1948 when the Metropolitan Communications Squadron was renumbered. The unit reverted to its former title on 1 March 1955. On the same day the unit reformed in Germany as a Canberra photographic reconnaissance squadron. It disbanded again on 31 March 1971. The Squadron reformed at Brüggen on 20 July 1971 with Phantom FGR2s as a strike/ground-attack unit, converting to Jaguar GR1s in December 1975. Another change of type took place in July 1984 when the first Tornado GR1s arrived and the Squadron was fully operational on 1 November. Now part of the Brüggen Attack Wing, No 31 Squadron's aircraft and crews were part of the RAF Tornado force in the Gulf War of 1991 and the Squadron. As the RAF presence in Germany was wound down No 31 Squadron returned to the UK. In January 1999 the Squadron started to re-equip with the Tornado GR4.

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.

On 7 April 2005, 31 Squadron became the first RAF Tornado GR4 unit to accept into service the Brimstone anti-tank missile.
31 Squadron celebrated its 90th Anniversary over the weekend of 23-25 September 2005 with a series of events at RAF Marham, including the presentation of a new standard carrying new Battle Honours for Kosovo and Iraq.


BE2c/e 1916 – 1920
Henry Farman F27 1916 – 1918
F2b 1919 – 1931
Wapiti 1931 – 1939
Valentia 1939 – 1941
DC2 1941 – 1943
Dakota III/IV/IV 1942 – 1946
Dakota 4 1946 – 1947
Anson 12/19 1948 – 1955
Proctor III/IV/V 1948 – 1953
Devon 1949 – 1955
Prentice 1953 – 1954
Chipmunk 1953 – 1955
Canberra 7 1955 – 1971
Phantom FGR 2 1971 – 1976
Jaguar 1976 – 1984
Tornado 1/4 1984 – 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

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

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