No.36 Squadron

An eagle, wings elevated, perched on a torpedo
An eagle, wings elevated, perched on a torpedo
Rajawali raja langit - Eagle King of the sky (Malay)
18 March 1916
03 November 1975

No 36 Squadron was formed at Cramlington on 18 March 1916 from the Home Defence Flight. The unit’s task was the defence of the coast between Whitby and Newcastle. This was the first squadron created for this purpose. O 27 November 1916 one of the squadron’s BE2c aircraft, piloted by Lieutenant I V Pyott, destroyed the German airship L34 over the mouth of the River Tees on the Durham coast. Zeppelin L42 was attacked by a squadron aircraft on 1 January 1918 but got away. Once the threat of airship attack had receded the squadron undertook training duties. On 13 June 1919 it disbanded.

On 1 October 1928 the Coast Defence Torpedo Flight at RAF Donibristle was redesignated No 36 Squadron. On 14 October 1930 the unit left for Seletar, Singapore. Ion December 1941 the unit was still equipped with obsolete Vildebeest torpedo bombers which it used in attacks against Japanese landings in northern Malaya. The unit was decimated and what equipment and personnel were left combined with No 100 Squadron which was in the same plight. The unit withdrew to Java and Sumatra where it ceased to exist on 8 March 1942 the day after loosing it last aircraft.

On 22 October 1942 the squadron reformed at Tanjore, India. It began operational flying again in January 1943. Maritime patrol and anti submarine work proved fruitless as the Japanese turned their main activities into the Pacific region. Therefore on 7 June 1943 it began moving to Algeria. The squadron provided anti –submarine patrols over the North Africa coast until September 1944 when it moved to the UK. It provided similar activities until its disbandment on 4 June 1945.

On 1 October 1946 No 248 Squadron was renumbered No 36 Squadron. The unit flew as part of a maritime strike wing. In disbanded on 15 October 1947. It reformed on 1 July 1953 at RAF Topcliffe as a maritime reconnaissance unit. It disbanded again on 28 February 1957.

No 511 Squadron was renumbered No 36 Squadron on 1 September 1958. This time the unit was a transport squadron. The squadron disbanded for the last time on 3 November 1975.


BE2c/e 1916 - 1918
BE12 1916 - 1916
Bristol Scout 1916 - 1916
FE2b/d 1917 - 1918
F2b 1918 - 1919
Horsley 1928 - 1935
Vildebeest 1935 - 1942
Wellington I/VIII/X/XI/XII/XIII/XIV 1942 - 1945
Mosquito 6 1946 - 1947
Neptune 1953 - 1957
Hasting 1/2 1958 - 1967
Hercules 1 1967 - 1975

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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