No.8 Squadron

An Arabian dagger sheathed
An Arabian dagger sheathed
Uspiam et passim - Everywhere Unbounded
01 January 1915

Formed at Brooklands on 1 January 1915, No 8 Squadron immediately moved to Gosport and became the first RFC unit to be equipped from the start with one type of aircraft, the BE 2c. The squadron moved to France in April and undertook bombing and reconnaissance flights until designated a dedicated corps reconnaissance unit.

In 1918 the unit started to specialise in the spotting of anti-tank guns, being allocated to the Tank Corps in June 1918 for this purpose. It was after just such a sortie that Captain F M F West, the 'B' Flight Commander, was awarded the Victoria Cross for his outstanding dedication and bravery in pin-pointing enemy concentrations in the face of intense opposition and severe injury.

The Squadron moved to Germany as part of the occupation forces. This did not last long, with the Squadron returning to the UK in July l919 and disbanding on 20 January 1920.

The Squadron reformed at Helwan, Egypt on 18 October 1920, in the day bomber role for the policing of lraq and, from 1927, the Aden Protectorate. On the outbreak of war the unit went into action against the Italians in Somaliland. Following the capture of the Italian East Africa colonies the squadron undertook anti-submarine patrols and internal security operations in the immediate area. The Squadron disbanded on 1 May 1945.

On 15 May 1945 No 200 Squadron at RAF Jessore was renumbered No 8 Squadron. Almost immediately, the unit moved to Ceylon for 'special duties' in support of guerrilla forces in Malaya. On 15 November 1945, the Squadron again disbanded, only to re-form back in Aden on 1 September 1946 by re-numbering No 114 Squadron.

The unit spent time in Egypt other parts of southern Arabia. The unit moved to Muharraq in 1967 before disbanding on 21 December 1971.

On 1 January 1972, No 8 Squadron re-formed as an Airborne Early Warning (AEW) unit using Shackletons. Halved in size in 1981, the unit had to soldier on with these ageing and outdated aircraft because of delays in the introduction of the replacement Nimrod AEW 3s. After the Nimrod cancellation seven Sentry AEW 1 (Boeing E-3D AWACS) were ordered in December 1986 to replace the venerable Shackletons.

On 1 July 1991 No 8 Squadron was re-equipped at RAF Waddington. The Squadron has been in operation against former Yugoslavia, flying from bases in Hungary and Italy. In addition, No 8 Squadron has been involved in training exercises as far away as America, Canada, South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore, the Caribbean and Australia.

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.


Various types 1915 - 1915
BE2c/d/e/f 1915 - 1917
FK8 1917 - 1918
F2b 1918 - 1920
DH9A 1920 - 1928
Fairey IIIF 1928 - 1935
Vincent 1935 - 1942
Blenheim I/IV/V 1941 - 1944
Maryland 1940 - 1941
Hudson 1943 - 1944
Wellington XIII 1943 - 1945
Liberator VI 1945 - 1945
Mosquito 6 1946 - 1947
Tempest 6 1947 - 1950
Brigand 1949 - 1953
Vampire 9 1952 - 1953
Venom 1/4 1955 - 1960
Meteor 9 1958 - 1961
Hunter 9/10 1958 - 1967
Shackleton 2 1972 -1991
Sentry 1991 - current (30 June 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

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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