No.43 Squadron

A Game Cock
A Game Cock
Gloria finis - Glory is the end
15 April 1916

No 43 Squadron was formed at Stirling on 15 April 1916 and moved to France in January 1917 for fighter and reconnaissance duties. Later in the war the unit undertook ground attack missions against German lines. The squadron moved to Germany with the Allied Occupation forces but returned to the UK in August 1919 and disbanded on 31 December 1919.

On 1 July 1923 the unit reformed at RAF Henlow as a fighter squadron.
In 1939 the squadron flew defensive patrols over the north of England. In May 1940 it moved south and covered the Dunkirk evacuation. No 43 Squadron took part in the first part of the Battle of Britain before withdrawing northwards to re-equip. In 1942 the unit took part in the North African landings and then supported the ground forces until the end of the campaign. In June 1943 the unit moved to Malta to cover the Allied landings in Sicily. It followed this up with support for the Italian campaign. In July 1944 it transferred to Corsica to give fighter cover to the landings in Southern France. It later returned to Italy for the rest of World War Two. It moved to Austria in 1945 as a part of the occupation forces. On 16 May 1947 it disbanded.

On 11 February 1949 the squadron reappeared at RAF Tangmere with the renumbering of No 266 Squadron. It provided a part of the UK air defence until 1961 when it moved to Cyprus. Two years later it moved to Aden. On 14 October 1967 the squadron disbanded.

On 1 September 1969 No 43 Squadron reformed with Phantoms for maritime air defences duties. In July 1989, after operating for almost 20 years with the Phantom, the unit re-equipped with Tornado F3 with which it was declared operational one year later. In November 1990 the Sqn deployed to Saudi Arabia as the lead RAF Tornado F3 Sqn at Dhahran and was on active service throughout the Gulf War.

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 the 14th October 2004, two of 43 Squadron’s Tornado F3s were detached to Zokniai Air Force Base in Lithuania as part of the NATO Air Policing Mission designed to police the airspace of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. The deployment was for three months, with more aircraft arriving at Zokniai at the end of the month. As a policing operation the aircraft were to identify, photograph and report any incursions into the Baltic states’ airspace but did not have a combat role.


Various types 1916 - 1916
1½ Strutter 1916 - 1917
Camel 1917 - 1918
Snipe 1918 - 1919
1925 - 1926
Gamecock 1926 - 1928
Siskin IIIA 1928 - 1931
Fury 1931 - 1939
Hurricane I/II 1938 - 1943
Spitfire V/IX/VII 1943 - 1947
Meteor 4/8 1949 - 1954
Hunter 1/4/6/9 1954 - 1967
Phantom 1/2 1969 - 1989
Tornado 3 1989 - 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

Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their aircraft John D R Rawlings Crecy Books 1993

« back to all squadrons