No.47 Squadron

In front of a fountain, a demoiselle crane’s head erased
In front of a fountain, a demoiselle crane’s head erased
Nili nomen roboris omen - The name of the Nile is an omen of our strength
01 March 1916

Formed on 1 March 1916 at Beverley the squadron moved to Salonika, Greece in September to operate in against the Bulgarians on the northern frontier of Greece. In those days the squadron flew as two elements, a fighter and a reconnaissance force. The squadron, together with No 17 Squadron, took part in the bombing of the German cruiser Goeben in the Dardanelles in January 1918. In April 1919 No 47 Squadron moved to south Russia to aid General Denikin's White Russian forces.

On 1 February 1920 No 206 Squadron at Helwan, Egypt was renumbered No 47 Squadron. It operated a detachment in the Sudan for some time before the complete squadron moved to Khartoum in October 1927. From July 1940 the unit was involved in the war in East Africa attacking Italian targets in Eritrea and Ethiopia. In December 1941 the squadron moved to the North African coast to undertake anti-submarine patrols. In 1942 anti-shipping operations began which No 47 Squadron continued into 1944. In March 1944 the unit transferred to India. In January 1945 the squadron began ground attacks against Japanese transport and bases in Burma. In November 1945 a detachment was sent to Java to support allied forces under attack by nationalist elements. On 21 March 1946 the squadron disbanded.

On 1 September 1946 No 644 Squadron at Qastina, Palestine was renumbered No 47 Squadron. The unit returned to the UK the following month. In September 1948 it became the first Hastings transport squadron. These were used during the Berlin Blockade. In March 1956 it became the first squadron to receive the Beverley transport. The unit disbanded on 31 October 1967.

On 25 February 1968 No 47 Squadron was reformed at RAF Fairford with the American Hercules transport which it still operates.

In the past, the Squadron has been involved in numerous exercises and deployments in locations such as Germany, Canada, USA, Norway and France, and disaster and famine relief in the Sudan, Belize, Nepal, Australia, Italy, Cyprus, Turkey, Bangladesh, Ethopia and Somalia.

In 1982 the Squadron was heavily involved in Operation 'CORPORATE' in the Falklands campaign, during which the Squadron was tasked with the re-supply of Ascension Island. Flights of up to 24 hours were commonplace.

No 47 Squadron was involved in the Gulf War flying tasks into Saudi Arabia. The Squadron also flew the first Hercules aircraft into Kuwait International Airport after the expulsion of the Iraqi forces.

During the 1990s No 47 Squadron operated daily relief missions into the besieged city of Sarajevo, necessitating the use of the steep approach technique developed in Vietnam to avoid the small arms fire.

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. The squadron continues to undertake global transport operations flying the Hercules C1/C3.


Various types 1916 - 1916
FK3 1916 - 1916
BE12/12a 1916 - 1918
BE2c/d 1916 - 1918
Bristol Scout 1916 - 1917
DH2 1917 - 1917
Vickers FB19 1917 - 1918
SE5A 1917 - 1918
Bristol M1c 1918 - 1918
FK8 1917 - 1919
DH9 1918 - 1921
Camel 1919 - 1919
DH9A 1920 - 1928
IIIF 1927 - 1933
Gordon 1933 - 1939
Vincent 1936 - 1940
Wellesley 1939 - 1943
Beaufort 1942 - 1943
Beaufighter X 1943 - 1945
Mosquito VI 1944 - 1944
1945 - 1946
Halifax 7/9 1946 - 1948
Hastings 1948 - 1956
Beverley 1956 - 1967
Hercules 1/3/4/5 1968 – current (17 March 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

Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their aircraft Phillip J R Moyes Macdonald & Jane’s 1976

Coastal Support and Special Squ

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