No.66 Squadron

A rattlesnake
A rattlesnake
Cavete praemonui - Beware, I have given warning
30 June 1916
20 March 1969

No 66 Squadron formed at Filton on 30 June 1916 as a fighter unit. In March 1917 it moved to France for fighter patrol duties. In November 1917 it moved to northern Italy. During one clash three of the unit’s Camels were en route to attack an Austrian airfield when five Albatros scouts attacked them. The unit’s leader Lt Alan Jerrard shot down one before going on to attack the airfield. A dogfight ensued with nineteen enemy aircraft. Each Camel pilot shot down one before Lt Jerrard fought a rearguard action to enable the other two to escape. He shot down another Albatros before he was brought down and made a prisoner of war. For this engagement he received the Victoria Cross. In March 1919 it returned to the UK and on 25 October 1919 disbanded.

On 20 July 1936 No 66 Squadron reformed at Duxford. In June 1940 it provided fighter cover over the Dunkirk beaches and was later involved in the Battle of Britain. For the next four years the squadron undertook low-level attacks and sweeps as well as fighter escort. Shortly after joining Second TAF it began fighter-bomber attacks across the Channel. It undertook similar duties in support of the 1944 Normandy landings. Just five days after the Allied invasion the unit began using forward airstrips in the Normandy beach-head. The unit moved to France in August and in September advanced through the Low Countries with the Allied forces. On 30 April 1945 the squadron disbanded.

On 1 September 1946 the unit reformed as a fighter squadron. It disbanded again on 30 September 1960. It reformed from the Belvedere Trials Unit on 16 September 1961. It moved to Singapore the following year to provide transport for the security forces in Malaysia during the Indonesian confrontation. Its final disbandment took place on 20 March 1969.


Various types 1916 - 1917
Pup 1917 - 1917
Camel 1917 - 1919
Gauntlet 1936 - 1938
Spitfire I/II/V/IX/XVI 1938 - 1946
Meteor 3/4/8 1946 - 1953
Sabre 1953 - 1956
Hunter 4/6 1956 - 1960
Belvedere 1961 – 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

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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