No.52 Squadron

A lion rampant guardant holding in the 	forepaws a flash of lightning
A lion rampant guardant holding in the forepaws a flash of lightning
Sudore quam sanguine - By sweat other than through blood
15 May 1916
31 December 1969

No 52 Squadron was formed at Hounslow Heath on 15 May 1916 as a corps reconnaissance unit. It moved to France in November. The unit undertook artillery spotting, reconnaissance and light bombing activities until the end of the war. The squadron returned to the UK in February 1919 and disbanded on 31 October of the same year.

On 18 January 1937 the unit reformed at Abingdon as a light bomber squadron. In February 1939 it was designated a training squadron and on 8 April 1940 was absorbed into No 12 Operational Training Unit.

On 1 July 1941 the unit reformed at Habbaniya, Iraq as a maintenance unit. Although it had no aircrew the twenty-one Audaxes in its charge were occasionally flown by No 31 Squadron pilots. The unit was dispersed in December and it was not until October 1942 that the unit came back together. The Squadron undertook survey work over Iraq before moving to Egypt in February 1943. In June of that year it moved to Tunisia for maritime duties, before moving to Italy in November. The squadron disbanded on 31 March 1944, shortly after moving to Gibraltar.

On 1 July 1944 C & D Flights of No 353 Squadron were renumbered No 52 Squadron. Based at Dum Dum, India the unit operated as a transport squadron for the rest of the war. In 1947 the unit moved to Singapore. During the Malayan Emergency the squadron dropped supplies to Commonwealth ground forces operating in the jungle. On 25 April 1966 the unit disbanded.

On 1 December 1966 the squadron reformed at RAF Seletar for transport duties with the Far East Air Force. It disbanded for the last time on 31 December 1969.


BE2c/e 1916 – 1917
RE8 1916 – 1919
Hind 1937 - 1937
Battle 1937 - 1940
Anson I 1939 – 1940
Audax 1941 – 1942
Blenheim IV 1942 – 1943
Baltimore III/IV/V 1943 – 1944
Dakota I/III/IV 1944 – 1951
Liberator VI 1944 – 1945
Expeditor 1945 – 1945
Tiger Moth 1945 – 1945
Valetta 1951 – 1966
Andover 1 1966 – 1969

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 Squadrons of the RAF and their aircraft
John D R Rawlings Jane’s Publishing 1982

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