No.85 Squadron

On an ogress a hexagon voided
On an ogress a hexagon voided
Noctu diuque venamur - We hunt by day and night
01 August 1917
01 July 1991

No 85 Squadron was formed at Upavon on 1 August 1917 and moved to France in May of the following year. The unit flew fighter patrols and ground attack missions for the rest of the war. It returned to the UK in February 1919 and the squadron disbanded on 3 July 1919.

On 1 June 1938 A Flight, No 87 Squadron was renumbered No 87 Squadron. On the outbreak of war the unit moved to France as a part of the Air Component of the BEF. In May 1940 during the German Blitzkrieg it continued to give fighter cover to retreating Allied forces until it was forced to retreat back to the UK. The squadron took part in the first half of the Battle of Britain before being withdrawn to Yorkshire. In October 1940 it began night fighter patrols. March 1943 saw the squadron add intruder patrols to its nocturnal activities. On 1 May 1944 it transferred to No 100 Group and flew bomber support intruder missions for the rest of the war. The unit disbanded on 31 October 1958.

On 30 November 1958 the squadron reformed at RAF Stradishall as an all-weather fighter unit. It disbanded on the 31 March 1963. On 1 April 1963 the Target Facilities Squadron at RAF West Raynham was renumbered No 85 Squadron. The unit provided fighter interception training. On 19 December 1975 this unit disbanded but on the same day a new No 85 Squadron formed equipped with Ground to Air missiles. This unit disbanded on 1 July 1991.


SE5A 1917 - 1919
Gladiator 1938 – 1938
Hurricane 1938 – 1941
Defiant 1941 – 1941
Havoc 1941 – 1942
Mosquito II/XII/XIII/XV/XVII/30 1942 – 1946
Mosquito 36 1946 – 1951
Meteor 4/11/12/14 1951 – 1958
Javelin 2/6/8 1958 – 1963
Meteor 8 1963 – 1970
Canberra 2/4/11/19 1963 – 1975
Bloodhound 1975 - 1991

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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