No.46 Squadron

Two arrow heads surmounted by a third, all in bend
Two arrow heads surmounted by a third, all in bend
We rise to conquer
19 April 1916
31 August 1975

Formed on 19 April 1916 at Wyton the squadron trained as a reconnaissance unit. In October it moved to France to undertake observation and photographic reconnaissance missions. In April 1917 it was re-equipped and converted to a fighter squadron. In July 1917 the unit returned to the UK as a direct result of a German air raid on London. With no sign of action it returned to France a month later. During 1918 ground attack missions became far more common. In February 1919 the squadron returned to the UK and disbanded in 31 December 1919.

On 3 September 1936 No 17 Squadron’s B Flight was renumbered No 46 Squadron. During the early part of World War Two the squadron flew defensive patrols. In May and June 1940 the unit was involved in the Norwegian campaign. All the aircraft and many of the personnel were lost after evacuation when HMS Glorious encountered German battle cruisers en route to the UK and was sunk.

The unit, brought back to strength, took part in the Battle of Britain. On 5 September Flt Lt Rabagliati flying a Hurricane I V7360 experimentally fitted with four cannon shot down a Messerschmitt Bf 109. In May 1941 the squadron left for the Middle East. During this time the aircrew and ground echelon became separated. The aircrews fought from Malta. In May 1942 No 46 Squadron began reforming it elements as a night fighter unit. Operational patrols began over Egypt and coastal areas. In December 1944 the unit returned to the UK but re-established itself at RAF Stoney Cross as a transport unit. During the latter part of the war it undertook trooping flights to India and the Continent. In 1948 it became heavily involved in the Berlin Airlift. On 20 February 1950 the squadron disbanded.

No 46 Squadron reformed at RAF Odiham on 15 August 19854 as a night fighter unit. In March 1956 it was the first squadron to introduce the Javelin into service. It disbanded on 30 June 1961. On 1 December 1966 the squadron reformed again as a transport unit. It finally disbanded on 31 August 1975.


Nieuport 12 1916 - 1917
BE2c/e 1916 - 1917
Pup 1917 - 1917
Camel 1917 - 1919
Gauntlet 1936 - 1939
Hurricane I/II 1939 - 1941
Beaufighter I/VI/X 1942 - 1944
Mosquito XII 1944 - 1944
Stirling V 1945 - 1946
Dakota 4 1946 - 1950
Meteor 12/14 1954 - 1956
Javelin 1/2/6 1956 - 1961
Andover 1966 – 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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