No.74 Squadron

A tiger’s face
A tiger’s face
I fear no man
01 July 1917
22 September 2000

No 74 Squadron was formed at Northolt on 1 July 1917 as a fighter unit. In March 1918 it moved to France. In February 1919 the unit returned to the UK and disbanded on 3 July 1919.

On 13 September 1935 the squadron reformed on board the transport Neuralia before sailing for Malta. For security reason the unit was known as ‘Demon Flights’ until 14 November 1935 when it was officially numbered No 74 Squadron. In July 1936 the unit began its return to the UK. No 74 Squadron re-assembled at RAF Hornchurch on 21 September 1936. At the beginning of the war the unit flew defensive patrols before providing air cover of the Dunkirk evacuation beaches in May/June 1940. The squadron was involved in the first and last parts of the Battle of Britain. In April 1942 the squadron moved to the Middle East but due to a lack of aircraft it did not function as an operational squadron until December 1942. In May 1943 it moved from Palestine to Egypt. In October of that year it took part in the abortive attempt by the British to occupy certain Aegean islands. It returned to the UK in April 1944.

In April 1944 the squadron began fighter sweeps over France. Later that year it became involved in fighter-bomber attacks of German targets in France and the Low Countries. In May 1945 it returned from its continental bases to convert to jet-fighters in the UK. The squadron remained a part of the UK air Defence forces until June 1967 when it was transferred to the Far East. The unit disbanded on 31 August 1971.

On 19 October 1984 the squadron reformed with F-4J/F3 Phantoms acquired from US Navy stocks. The unit disbanded on 1 October 1992. On 5 October 1992 the reserve number-plate was taken over by Hawk aircraft operating within No 4 Flying Training School. No 74 (Reserve) Squadron was laid up on 22 September 2000.


Various types 1917 - 1918
SE5A 1918 - 1919
Demon 1935 - 1937
Gauntlet 1937 - 1939
Spitfire I/II/V 1939 - 1942
Hurricane II 1942 - 1943
Spitfire V/IX/XVI 1943 - 1945
Meteor 3/4/8 1945 - 1957
Hunter 4/6 1957 - 1960
Lightning 1/3/6 1960 - 1971
Phantom 2/3 1984 - 1992
Hawk 1992 - 2000

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

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