No.37 Squadron

A hawk hooded, belled and fessed, wings elevated and addorsed
A hawk hooded, belled and fessed, wings elevated and addorsed
Wise without eyes
15 April 1916
07 September 1967

No 37 Squadron formed at Orfordness on 15 April 1916 as an experimental unit. It was absorbed by the station the following month. On 15 September 1916 it was reformed as a home defence unit. The squadron operated a number of types. It had its first success on 16/17 June 1917 when Lt L P Watkins, flying one of the unit’s BE12 aircraft, shot down the German Zeppelin L48. In October 1918 the unit began to re-equip with Camels but they saw no service before the war ended. On 1 July 1919 the unit was renumbered No 39 Squadron.

On 26 April 1937 the unit reformed at RAF Feltwell as a heavy bomber unit. No 37 Squadron flew its first operational sortie on 3 September 1939. In November 1940 the squadron moved to the Middle East. It briefly operated from Malta before moving on to Egypt. During 1941 the unit operated over the Balkans and the Iraq before returning to its main duty of attacks on Italian and German targets in North Africa. In December 1943, after the successful conclusion of the Tunisian campaign the squadron moved to Italy. It was based there for the rest of the war. It took part in bombing raids on Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy and Yugoslavia. On 2 October 1945 it moved to Palestine and two months later it returned to Egypt. On 31 March 1946 it disbanded.

On 15 April 1846 No 214 Squadron at Fayid, Egypt was renumbered No 37 Squadron. The unit disbanded on 1 April 1947. On 14 September 1947 No 37 Squadron reformed as a maritime reconnaissance unit in Palestine. The squadron was mainly involved in tracking illegal Jewish immigrant shipping. In May 1948 it left for Malta. In August 1957 it moved to Aden. It finally disbanded on 7 September 1967.


BE2c/d/e 1916 - 1918
BE12/12a 1916 - 1918
1½ Strutter 1917 - 1917
RE7 1917 - 1917
Pup 1917 - 1917
BE12b 1917 - 1918
SE5a 1918 - 1918
Camel 1918 - 1919
Snipe 1919 - 1919
Harrow 1937 - 1939
Wellington I/III/X 1939 - 1944
Liberator VI 1944 - 1946
Lancaster 3/7 1946 - 1947
Shackleton 2 1953 – 1967

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 their aircraft Phillip J R Moyes Macdonald & Jane’s 1976

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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