No.603 Squadron

On a rock, a triple towered castle, flying there from to the sinister a pennon
On a rock, a triple towered castle, flying there from to the sinister a pennon
Gin ye daur - If you dare
14 October 1925
10 March 1957

No 603 Squadron was formed at RAF Turnhouse on 14 October 1925 as the “City of Edinburgh” squadron of the Auxiliary Air Force. It began operating as a day bomber unit. On 24 October 1938 the squadron was redesignated a fighter unit. This squadron had the distinction of not only intercepting the first German air raid on the British Isles but destroying the first enemy aircraft over the United Kingdom on 16 October 1939.

In August 1940 the squadron moved south and took part in the latter stages of the Battle of Britain. During the next two years it moved between the south of England and Scotland before being posted to the Middle East in April 1942. The squadron’s aircraft were embarked on the USS Wasp and flown off on 20 April to reinforce Malta. After four months, what remained of the squadron’s aircraft and pilots were absorbed by No 229 Squadron. Meanwhile the ground echelon of the unit had arrived in Egypt and then moved to Cyprus. In early 1943 they moved back to Egypt and aircraft and aircrew joined them. The squadron then undertook anti- shipping strikes until December 1944 when it returned to the UK. From February it began fighter-bomber sweeps over the Low Countries and Germany. In April 1945 it moved back to Scotland and on 15 August 1945 the unit disbanded.

No 603 Squadron reformed on 10 May 1946. In May 1951 it became a jet fighter squadron until its disbandment on 10 March 1957.

On 1 October 1999 No 2 Maritime Headquarters Unit was re-roled and re-badged as No 603 Squadron. This is now a non-flying unit.


DH9A 1925 - 1930
Wapiti 1930 - 1934
Hart 1934 - 1938
Hind 1938 - 1939
Hector 1938 - 1939
Gladiator 1939 - 1939
Spitfire I/II/V 1939 - 1942
Beaufighter I/VI/X/XI 1943 - 1944
Spitfire XVI 1945 - 1945
Spitfire 16/22 1946 - 1951
Vampire 5 1951 - 1957

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

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