No. 208 Squadron RAF
Overview
 
No 208 Squadron is at present a reserve unit of the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 based at RAF Valley
RAF Valley
RAF Valley is a Royal Air Force station on the island of Anglesey, Wales, and which is also used as Anglesey Airport. It provides fast-jet training using the BAE Hawk and provides training for aircrew working with Search and Rescue. Unofficially the motto for RAF Valley is 'One Valley, Training...

, Anglesey
Anglesey
Anglesey , also known by its Welsh name Ynys Môn , is an island and, as Isle of Anglesey, a county off the north west coast of Wales...

, Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

. It operates the BAe Hawk aircraft.
The squadron was established as part of the Royal Naval Air Service
Royal Naval Air Service
The Royal Naval Air Service or RNAS was the air arm of the Royal Navy until near the end of the First World War, when it merged with the British Army's Royal Flying Corps to form a new service , the Royal Air Force...

 on 25 October 1916 at Dunkirk as No. 8 (Naval) Squadron. In its earlier days, the unit flew Sopwith Pup
Sopwith Pup
The Sopwith Pup was a British single seater biplane fighter aircraft built by the Sopwith Aviation Company. It entered service with the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service in the autumn of 1916. With pleasant flying characteristics and good maneuverability, the aircraft proved very...

s, 1½ Strutters
Sopwith 1½ Strutter
The Sopwith 1½ Strutter was a British one or two-seat biplane multi-role aircraft of the First World War. It is significant as the first British-designed two seater tractor fighter, and the first British aircraft to enter service with a synchronised machine gun...

 and Nieuport Scouts
Nieuport 17
|-Specifications :-See also:-Bibliography:* Bruce, Jack. "Those Classic Nieuports". Air Enthusiast Quarterly. Number Two, 1976. Bromley, UK:Pilot Press. pp. 137–153....

. Later in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 it re-equipped with Sopwith Camel
Sopwith Camel
The Sopwith Camel was a British First World War single-seat biplane fighter introduced on the Western Front in 1917. Manufactured by Sopwith Aviation Company, it had a short-coupled fuselage, heavy, powerful rotary engine, and concentrated fire from twin synchronized machine guns. Though difficult...

s and was assigned to artillery spotting.
Encyclopedia
No 208 Squadron is at present a reserve unit of the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 based at RAF Valley
RAF Valley
RAF Valley is a Royal Air Force station on the island of Anglesey, Wales, and which is also used as Anglesey Airport. It provides fast-jet training using the BAE Hawk and provides training for aircrew working with Search and Rescue. Unofficially the motto for RAF Valley is 'One Valley, Training...

, Anglesey
Anglesey
Anglesey , also known by its Welsh name Ynys Môn , is an island and, as Isle of Anglesey, a county off the north west coast of Wales...

, Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

. It operates the BAe Hawk aircraft.

World War I

The squadron was established as part of the Royal Naval Air Service
Royal Naval Air Service
The Royal Naval Air Service or RNAS was the air arm of the Royal Navy until near the end of the First World War, when it merged with the British Army's Royal Flying Corps to form a new service , the Royal Air Force...

 on 25 October 1916 at Dunkirk as No. 8 (Naval) Squadron. In its earlier days, the unit flew Sopwith Pup
Sopwith Pup
The Sopwith Pup was a British single seater biplane fighter aircraft built by the Sopwith Aviation Company. It entered service with the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service in the autumn of 1916. With pleasant flying characteristics and good maneuverability, the aircraft proved very...

s, 1½ Strutters
Sopwith 1½ Strutter
The Sopwith 1½ Strutter was a British one or two-seat biplane multi-role aircraft of the First World War. It is significant as the first British-designed two seater tractor fighter, and the first British aircraft to enter service with a synchronised machine gun...

 and Nieuport Scouts
Nieuport 17
|-Specifications :-See also:-Bibliography:* Bruce, Jack. "Those Classic Nieuports". Air Enthusiast Quarterly. Number Two, 1976. Bromley, UK:Pilot Press. pp. 137–153....

. Later in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 it re-equipped with Sopwith Camel
Sopwith Camel
The Sopwith Camel was a British First World War single-seat biplane fighter introduced on the Western Front in 1917. Manufactured by Sopwith Aviation Company, it had a short-coupled fuselage, heavy, powerful rotary engine, and concentrated fire from twin synchronized machine guns. Though difficult...

s and was assigned to artillery spotting. The squadron returned to the UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 briefly before being sent back to France to face the German offensive. While in France a significant number of Camels belonging to the squadron were destroyed by the RAF to prevent the Germans capturing them during their advance. When the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 was formed on 1 April 1918, the unit was renumbered to No. 208 Squadron RAF. After the war ended 208 Squadron remained with the occupying forces until August 1919, when it again returned to the UK for disbandment on 7 November 1919 at Netheravon
Netheravon
Netheravon is a village and civil parish on the River Avon, about north of the town of Amesbury in Wiltshire.-Notable people:The writer Frank Sawyer , although born in Bulford, spent most of his life in Netheravon as river keeper River Avon and died on the banks of the river near the parish church...

.

During the war, the squadron claimed 298 victories. Twenty-five aces had served in the squadron. Notable among them were
Anthony Arnold
Anthony Arnold
Major Anthony Rex Arnold was a World War I flying ace credited with five aerial victories.-Early life:Arnold was born at Tattenhall, near Chester, the youngest of three children of Charles Lowther Arnold and Mary Delamere . His two older brothers were both killed in action during the war...

, Charles Dawson Booker
Charles Dawson Booker
Major Charles Dawson Booker DSC was a World War I fighter ace credited with 29 victories. He was promoted to high rank while relatively young as a result of his gallantry and unswerving dedication to his country.-Early life:Charles Dawson Booker was born to Joseph Dawson and Rachel C...

, Robert J. O. Compston
Robert J. O. Compston
Major Robert John Orton Compston DSC**, DFC was an English fighter pilot credited with 25 victories during World War I...

, Harold Day
Harold Day (aviator)
Flight Sub-Lieutenant Harold Day , DSC was a Welsh-born World War I flying ace credited with 11 confirmed aerial victories.-World War I:...

, Stanley Goble
Stanley Goble
Air Vice Marshal Stanley James Goble CBE, DSO, DSC was a senior commander in the Royal Australian Air Force . He served three terms as Chief of the Air Staff, alternating with Wing Commander Richard Williams...

,
Edward Grahame Johnstone
Edward Grahame Johnstone
Lieutenant Edward Grahame Johnstone was a World War I flying ace credited with 17 aerial victories. He joined the Royal Naval Air Service on his 18th birthday, 6 May 1917. After training with No. 12 Naval Squadron, he was assigned to fly Sopwith Camels for No. 8 Naval Squadron...

, William Lancelot Jordan
William Lancelot Jordan
Captain William Lancelot Jordan DSC & Bar, DFC was a South African World War I flying ace credited with 39 victories.-Early life:...

, Robert A. Little
Robert A. Little
Robert Alexander Little DSO & Bar, DSC & Bar is officially regarded as the most successful Australian flying ace of World War I, with a total of forty-seven aerial victories. Born in Victoria, he travelled to England in 1915 and learnt to fly at his own expense before joining the Royal Naval Air...

, William E. G. Mann, Richard Munday, Guy William Price
Guy William Price
Flight Commander Guy William Price was a Royal Naval Air Service flying ace during World War I. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and Bar within a 22 day period.-World War I:...

, George Simpson, Reginald Soar
Reginald Soar
Captain Reginald Rhys Soar was a British flying ace during World War I. He was credited with 12 official aerial victories won while serving in the Dardanelles and along the English Channel.-World War I:...

, Ronald Thornley, and James White.

Interbellum

The squadron reformed at RAF Ismailia
Al Ismailiyah Air Base
Al Ismailiyah Air Base is an Egyptian Air Force base, located approximately 4 km west-northwest of Ismailia; ; 116 km northeast of Cairo.-World War II:...

 in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 on 1 February 1920 by the renumbering of No. 113 Squadron RAF
No. 113 Squadron RAF
No. 113 Squadron was a unit of the Royal Air Force that served as a reconnaissance, army cooperation, bomber, fighter, transport and missile operation squadron during its existence.-Formation in World War I as reconnaissance unit:...

. It was at first equipped with RE8s and from November 1920 till May 1930 with Bristol Fighters
Bristol F.2 Fighter
The Bristol F.2 Fighter was a British two-seat biplane fighter and reconnaissance aircraft of the First World War flown by the Royal Flying Corps. It is often simply called the Bristol Fighter or popularly the "Brisfit" or "Biff". Despite being a two-seater, the F.2B proved to be an agile aircraft...

. The years between the wars were by no means quiet, in September 1922 the squadron was sent to Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 for a year during the Chanak crisis
Chanak Crisis
The Chanak Crisis, also called Chanak Affair in September 1922 was the threatened attack by Turkish troops on British and French troops stationed near Çanakkale to guard the Dardanelles neutral zone. The Turkish troops had recently defeated Greek forces and recaptured İzmir...

, being stationed at San Stefano
Yesilköy
Yeşilköy is a neighborhood of the Bakırköy municipality of Istanbul, Turkey.It is located along the Marmara Sea about 11 kilometers west of Istanbul's historic city center...

, a part of the Bakırköy
Bakirköy
This article is about a neighbourhood in IstanbulBakırköy is a neighborhood, municipality and district on the European side of İstanbul, Turkey. The quarter is densely populated, has a residential character and is inhabited by a middle class population...

 district of Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

, Turkey. After the conflict 208 Squadron went back to Egypt and in 1930 got Armstrong Whitworth Atlas
Armstrong Whitworth Atlas
|-See also:-External links:* *...

 aircraft to replace the old Bristol fighters. The Atlases in their turn were replaced five years later by Audaxes and for one flight by Demons. Just before the outbreak of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, in January 1939, these gave way for the Westland Lysander
Westland Lysander
The Westland Lysander was a British army co-operation and liaison aircraft produced by Westland Aircraft used immediately before and during the Second World War...

.

World War II

No.208 Squadron was still stationed in Egypt at the outbreak of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. It joined the war effort in mid-1940 flying Westland Lysander
Westland Lysander
The Westland Lysander was a British army co-operation and liaison aircraft produced by Westland Aircraft used immediately before and during the Second World War...

 reconnaissance aircraft and Hawker Hurricane
Hawker Hurricane
The Hawker Hurricane is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd for the Royal Air Force...

 fighters on army co-operation duties in the North African Campaign
North African campaign
During the Second World War, the North African Campaign took place in North Africa from 10 June 1940 to 13 May 1943. It included campaigns fought in the Libyan and Egyptian deserts and in Morocco and Algeria and Tunisia .The campaign was fought between the Allies and Axis powers, many of whom had...

 and the Greek Campaign of 1941. During the war it included a significant number of Royal Australian Air Force
Royal Australian Air Force
The Royal Australian Air Force is the air force branch of the Australian Defence Force. The RAAF was formed in March 1921. It continues the traditions of the Australian Flying Corps , which was formed on 22 October 1912. The RAAF has taken part in many of the 20th century's major conflicts...

 and South African Air Force
South African Air Force
The South African Air Force is the air force of South Africa, with headquarters in Pretoria. It is the world's second oldest independent air force, and its motto is Per Aspera Ad Astra...

 personnel, along with other nationalities. Amongst the members of the squadron at this time was Robert Leith-Macgregor
Robert Leith-Macgregor
Lieutenant Colonel Robert Leith-Macgregor MC DFC was a British Army officer and Royal Air Force pilot. He fought in World War II initially as an infantry officer in the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, then trained as a pilot and transferred to the Royal Air Force...

, shot down on more than one occasion, once ending up taxiing through a minefield, but managed not to trigger any mines.

The unit was later stationed in Palestine, before returning to North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

. It briefly converted to Curtiss Tomahawks
Curtiss P-40
The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk was an American single-engine, single-seat, all-metal fighter and ground attack aircraft that first flew in 1938. The P-40 design was a modification of the previous Curtiss P-36 Hawk which reduced development time and enabled a rapid entry into production and operational...

, but received Supermarine Spitfire
Supermarine Spitfire
The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries throughout the Second World War. The Spitfire continued to be used as a front line fighter and in secondary roles into the 1950s...

s in late 1943 and flew them for the remainder of the war. From 1944, it took part in the Italian Campaign
Italian Campaign (World War II)
The Italian Campaign of World War II was the name of Allied operations in and around Italy, from 1943 to the end of the war in Europe. Joint Allied Forces Headquarters AFHQ was operationally responsible for all Allied land forces in the Mediterranean theatre, and it planned and commanded the...

.

After World War II

Shortly after the war 208 Squadron moved back to Palestine where it was involved in operations against the Egyptian Air Force
Egyptian Air Force
The Egyptian Air Force, or EAF , is the aviation branch of the Egyptian Armed Forces. The EAF is headed by an Air Marshal . Currently, the commander of the Egyptian Air Force is Air Marshal Reda Mahmoud Hafez Mohamed...

. In 1948, the squadron moved to the Egyptian Canal Zone. It saw action in the Israeli War of Independence
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

, losing four Spitfires in combat with Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

 aircraft (which also included Spitfires).

The last officially recorded "Air to Air fighter pilot kill" (bullets only without guidance systems) occurred on 22 May 1948, at 09:30 two Egyptian Spitfire LF.9s decided to stage a third attack on Ramat David. This time Fg Off
Flying Officer
Flying officer is a junior commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence...

 Tim McElhaw and Fg Off Hully of 208 Squadron had taken over the standing patrol. Fg Off McElhaw, flying Spitfire FR.18 TZ228, managed to intercept and shoot down both LF.9s.

In 1951, the squadron relocated to RAF Fayid
RAF Fayid
RAF Fayid is a former military airfield in Egypt, located approximately 23 km south of Ismailia ; 69 miles 116 km northeast of Cairo...

 where its Spitfires were replaced with Gloster Meteor
Gloster Meteor
The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter and the Allies' first operational jet. It first flew in 1943 and commenced operations on 27 July 1944 with 616 Squadron of the Royal Air Force...

 jets. From there it moved to RAF Abu Sueir
Abu Suwayr Air Base
Abu Suwayr Air Base is an Egyptian Air Force base, located approximately 17 km west of Ismailia ; 116 km northeast of Cairo....

, relocating to RAF Takali, Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

, in August 1956, with interim spells earlier in the year at RAF Hal Far
RAF Hal Far
The RAF Hal Far airfield in Malta, titled HMS Falcon during the Royal Navy base, was constructed and opened on 1 April 1929, and was used by Royal Navy air crews. It was the first permanent airfield to be built in Malta. It was transferred to the Maltese Government and redeveloped as from January...

, Malta, and RAF Akrotiri
RAF Akrotiri
Royal Air Force Station Akrotiri, more commonly known as RAF Akrotiri , is a large Royal Air Force station, on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. It is located in the Western Sovereign Base Area, one of two areas which comprise Akrotiri and Dhekelia, a British Overseas Territory, administered as a...

, Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

. It disbanded at Takhali in January 1958, but it reformed the same month in the UK at RAF Tangmere from a nucleus of No. 34 Squadron RAF
No. 34 Squadron RAF
No. 34 Squadron RAF was a squadron of the Royal Air Force. During the First World War it operated as a reconnaissance and bomber squadron, and in the 1930s operated light bombers...

. Two months later it returned to the Middle East with de Havilland Vampire
De Havilland Vampire
The de Havilland DH.100 Vampire was a British jet-engine fighter commissioned by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. Following the Gloster Meteor, it was the second jet fighter to enter service with the RAF. Although it arrived too late to see combat during the war, the Vampire served...

s and subsequently Hawker Hunter
Hawker Hunter
The Hawker Hunter is a subsonic British jet aircraft developed in the 1950s. The single-seat Hunter entered service as a manoeuvrable fighter aircraft, and later operated in fighter-bomber and reconnaissance roles in numerous conflicts. Two-seat variants remained in use for training and secondary...

 FGA.9s. In 1958 and early 1959 it operated from RAF Nicosia
RAF Nicosia
The former Royal Air Force Station Nicosia, commonly known as RAF Nicosia, was a Royal Air Force airbase in Cyprus. RAF Nicosia was Headquarters Royal Air Force Cyprus from 8 June to 29 July 1941...

 and RAF Akrotiri with a detachment at Amman
Amman
Amman is the capital of Jordan. It is the country's political, cultural and commercial centre and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The Greater Amman area has a population of 2,842,629 as of 2010. The population of Amman is expected to jump from 2.8 million to almost...

, Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

. The squadron disbanded at RAF Akrotiri
RAF Akrotiri
Royal Air Force Station Akrotiri, more commonly known as RAF Akrotiri , is a large Royal Air Force station, on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. It is located in the Western Sovereign Base Area, one of two areas which comprise Akrotiri and Dhekelia, a British Overseas Territory, administered as a...

 on 31 March 1959.

The next day, 1 April 1959, it reformed at RAF Eastleigh, Nairobi
Nairobi
Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The city and its surrounding area also forms the Nairobi County. The name "Nairobi" comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to "the place of cool waters". However, it is popularly known as the "Green City in the Sun" and is...

, Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

, by the re-numbering of No. 142 Squadron RAF
No. 142 Squadron RAF
-History:No. 142 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps was formed at RFC Ismailia, Egypt in 1918, flying a mixed bag of reconnaissance and bomber aircraft. On the formation of the Royal Air Force, on 1 April 1918, 142 Squadron was at RFC Julis in Palestine, becoming No. 142 Squadron RAF...

 under Squadron Leader R. Ramirez. It operated from Eastleigh from April 1959 to March 1960, being redeployed home to RAF Stradishall
RAF Stradishall
RAF Stradishall was a Royal Air Force station in Suffolk, opened in 1938.The airfield closed in 1970 and is now the site of two category C prisons: HMP Highpoint North and HMP Highpoint South...

 from March to June 1960, but returning to Eastleigh in June, sending detachments to Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 and Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

 during the period. It was moved to RAF Khormaksar
RAF Khormaksar
RAF Khormaksar was a Royal Air Force station in Aden. Its motto was "Into the Remote Places". During the 1960s, it was the base for nine squadrons and became the RAF's busiest-ever station. It later became Aden International Airport.-History:...

 in Aden
Aden
Aden is a seaport city in Yemen, located by the eastern approach to the Red Sea , some 170 kilometres east of Bab-el-Mandeb. Its population is approximately 800,000. Aden's ancient, natural harbour lies in the crater of an extinct volcano which now forms a peninsula, joined to the mainland by a...

 in November 1961, under Air Forces Arabian Peninsula, which became Air Forces Middle East the same year. In June 1964 it moved to Muharraq
Muharraq
Muharraq , is Bahrain's third largest city, and served as its capital until 1923. The city is located on Muharraq Island and has long been a centre of religiosity...

 in Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

.The squadron remained in the Middle East until September 1971 when it was disbanded as a consequence of British drawdown of the armed forces from East of Suez
East of Suez
The phrase East of Suez is used in British military and political discussions in reference to imperial interests beyond the European theatre ....

.

Flying Buccaneers

208 Squadron reformed at RAF Honington
RAF Honington
RAF Honington is a Royal Air Force station located south of Thetford near Ixworth in Suffolk, England. Although used as a bomber station during the Second World War, RAF Honington is now the RAF Regiment depot and home to the Joint CBRN Regiment.-RAF use:...

 in 1974 with Blackburn Buccaneer S2s
Blackburn Buccaneer
The Blackburn Buccaneer was a British low-level subsonic strike aircraft with nuclear weapon delivery capability serving with the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force between 1962 and 1994, including service in the 1991 Gulf War...

, assigned to SACEUR operating in a low-level strike role. The squadron's twelve Buccaneers were declared operational to SACEUR from 1975 armed with twentyfour WE.177
WE.177
WE.177 was the last air-delivered tactical nuclear weapon of the British Armed Forces. There were three versions; WE.177A was a boosted fission weapon, while WE.177B and WE.177C were thermonuclear weapons...

 nuclear weapons. The squadron was tasked with supporting land forces resisting an advance by the Warsaw Pact into western Europe, by striking at enemy forces, logistics and infrastructure beyond the forward edge of the battlefield, initially with conventional munitions, and with nuclear weapons in the event of escalation. The allocation of the British-owned WE.177 weapon freed the squadron from the time-consuming burden, at a critical time, of using US-owned nuclear weapons held in US custody at a central location. The squadron continued in this role based at RAF Honington until late 1983, when it moved base to RAF Lossiemouth
RAF Lossiemouth
RAF Lossiemouth is a Royal Air Force station to the west of the town of Lossiemouth in Moray, Scotland. It is one of the RAF's biggest bases and is currently Britain's main base for Tornado GR4s. From 2013 the Northern QRA force of Typhoon F2 will relocate to Lossiemouth following the closure of...

 and was re-assigned to SACLANT for maritime strike duties. The squadron's allocation of WE.177 nuclear weapons was reduced to twelve, one per aircraft, although the Buccaneer was able to carry two in its internal bomb bay. The squadron continued in this role until late 1993 when it relinquished its nuclear weapons. The unit was one of the last squadrons to operate the Buccaneer before it went out of service in 1994, and after the type's retirement the squadron again disbanded on 31 March 1994.

Present role

208 Squadron reformed again on 1 April 1994 from 234 (Reserve) Squadron
No. 234 Squadron RAF
No. 234 Squadron RAF had a long career within the RAF, being operational on flying boats in World War I and on fighter aircraft in World War II. After the war it remained a fighter unit till 1957. In its last incarnation the squadron was in turn Operational Training Unit , Tactical Weapon Unit and...

, attached to No. 4 Flying Training School. It moved to RAF Valley
RAF Valley
RAF Valley is a Royal Air Force station on the island of Anglesey, Wales, and which is also used as Anglesey Airport. It provides fast-jet training using the BAE Hawk and provides training for aircrew working with Search and Rescue. Unofficially the motto for RAF Valley is 'One Valley, Training...

 operating the BAe Hawk
BAE Hawk
The BAE Systems Hawk is a British single-engine, advanced jet trainer aircraft. It first flew in 1974 as the Hawker Siddeley Hawk. The Hawk is used by the Royal Air Force, and other air forces, as either a trainer or a low-cost combat aircraft...

 that it continues to fly to this day. No.4 FTS
RAF Valley
RAF Valley is a Royal Air Force station on the island of Anglesey, Wales, and which is also used as Anglesey Airport. It provides fast-jet training using the BAE Hawk and provides training for aircrew working with Search and Rescue. Unofficially the motto for RAF Valley is 'One Valley, Training...

 is made up of two squadrons; 208 Squadron provides the advanced flying training, students then moving onto 19 Squadron to receive tactics and weapons training. The vast majority of sorties undertaken by 208 Squadron are flown to teach RAF ab-initio pilots the fundamental skills of flying a fast-jet, to prepare them for tactical weapons training and onwards towards front-line aircraft such as the Tornado, Harrier and Typhoon.
A summary of 208 Squadron's present tasks:

Advanced flying training
  • To train RAF, RN
    Royal Navy
    The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

     and some foreign ab-initio pilots as per the Personnel Training Command (HQPTC) Training Task Programme to Tactical Weapons Unit (TWU) entry standard.
  • To re-train RAF and RN multi-engine and rotary pilots as per the HQPTC training Task Programme to TWU entry standard.
  • To refresh Short Tucano
    Short Tucano
    |-See also:-External links:*...

     QFIs
    Qualified Flying Instructor
    Qualified Flying Instructor is a term mainly used in the UK and commonwealth Military, Army, Navy and Air Force for a person who has passed the appropriate course before being allowed to instruct in an aircraft. In the USA and elsewhere, the equivalent term is "IP"...

     as per the HQPTC Training Task Programme to TWU entry standard.


Instructor training
  • To train Hawk QFIs as per the HQPTC Training Task Programme to B2 standard in accordance with the current Central Flying School (CFS) syllabuses.
  • To upgrade Hawk QFIs to B1, A2 and A1 standard in accordance with the 208 Squadron staff training requirements and CFS syllabuses.
  • To train Hawk IREs in accordance with the current CFS syllabuses.
  • To convert Qualified Flying Instructors (Tactical Sequences) and Qualified Pilot Navigation Instructors into Hawk QFIs as per the Headquarters HQPTC training Task Programme to B2 standard in accordance with the current CFS syllabuses.


Conversion training
  • To provide a common conversion course for all qualified pilots re-roling to the Hawk.
  • To provide United Kingdom Orientation training for Foreign and Commonwealth pilots destined for fast-jet appointments.
  • To provide conversion training for pilots destined for the Royal Air Force Aerobatics Team
    Red Arrows
    The Red Arrows, officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, is the aerobatics display team of the Royal Air Force based at RAF Scampton, but due to move to RAF Waddington in 2011...

    .


On 20 April 2007, a BaE Hawk from the squadron crashed near RAF Mona
RAF Mona
RAF Mona is a Royal Air Force station on the island of Anglesey, Wales. It is primarily used as a relief landing ground for RAF Valley. Mona was opened as a Royal Naval Air Service airship base in 1915. During World War II it was used as an air gunnery school, flying Avro Ansons. Today, Mona is...

. The pilot was taken to hospital and discharged soon after. The accident was caused by a solo student stalling the aircraft on an overshoot.

Aircraft operated

Aircraft operated by No. 8 Squadron RNAS and no. 208 Squadron RAF, data from
From To Aircraft Version
October 1916 November 1916 Sopwith 1½ Strutter
Sopwith 1½ Strutter
The Sopwith 1½ Strutter was a British one or two-seat biplane multi-role aircraft of the First World War. It is significant as the first British-designed two seater tractor fighter, and the first British aircraft to enter service with a synchronised machine gun...

 
October 1916 December 1916 Nieuport Scout
Nieuport 17
|-Specifications :-See also:-Bibliography:* Bruce, Jack. "Those Classic Nieuports". Air Enthusiast Quarterly. Number Two, 1976. Bromley, UK:Pilot Press. pp. 137–153....

 
October 1916 February 1917 Sopwith Pup
Sopwith Pup
The Sopwith Pup was a British single seater biplane fighter aircraft built by the Sopwith Aviation Company. It entered service with the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service in the autumn of 1916. With pleasant flying characteristics and good maneuverability, the aircraft proved very...

 
February 1917 September 1917 Sopwith Triplane
Sopwith Triplane
The Sopwith Triplane was a British single seat fighter aircraft designed and manufactured by the Sopwith Aviation Company during the First World War. Pilots nicknamed it the Tripehound or simply the Tripe. The Triplane became operational with the Royal Naval Air Service in early 1917 and was...

 
September 1917 November 1918 Sopwith Camel
Sopwith Camel
The Sopwith Camel was a British First World War single-seat biplane fighter introduced on the Western Front in 1917. Manufactured by Sopwith Aviation Company, it had a short-coupled fuselage, heavy, powerful rotary engine, and concentrated fire from twin synchronized machine guns. Though difficult...

 
November 1918 September 1919 Sopwith Snipe
Sopwith Snipe
The Sopwith 7F.1 Snipe was a British single-seat biplane fighter of the Royal Air Force . It was designed and built by the Sopwith Aviation Company during the First World War, and came into squadron service a few weeks before the end of that conflict, in late 1918.The Snipe was not a fast aircraft...

 
February 1920 November 1920 Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8
Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8
The Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8 was a British two-seat biplane reconnaissance and bomber aircraft of the First World War designed by John Kenworthy. Intended as a replacement for the vulnerable B.E.2, the R.E.8 was more difficult to fly, and was regarded with great suspicion at first in the Royal...

 
November 1920 May 1930 Bristol F.2 Fighter
Bristol F.2 Fighter
The Bristol F.2 Fighter was a British two-seat biplane fighter and reconnaissance aircraft of the First World War flown by the Royal Flying Corps. It is often simply called the Bristol Fighter or popularly the "Brisfit" or "Biff". Despite being a two-seater, the F.2B proved to be an agile aircraft...

 
F.2b
May 1930 August 1935 Armstrong Whitworth Atlas
Armstrong Whitworth Atlas
|-See also:-External links:* *...

 
August 1935 January 1939 Hawker Audax 
September 1935 March 1936 Hawker Demon 
January 1939 May 1942 Westland Lysander
Westland Lysander
The Westland Lysander was a British army co-operation and liaison aircraft produced by Westland Aircraft used immediately before and during the Second World War...

 
Mks.I, II
November 1940 September 1942 Hawker Hurricane
Hawker Hurricane
The Hawker Hurricane is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd for the Royal Air Force...

 
Mk.I
May 1941 June 1941 Hawker Audax
May 1942 September 1942 Curtiss Tomahawk
Curtiss P-40
The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk was an American single-engine, single-seat, all-metal fighter and ground attack aircraft that first flew in 1938. The P-40 design was a modification of the previous Curtiss P-36 Hawk which reduced development time and enabled a rapid entry into production and operational...

 
Mk.IIb
May 1942 December 1943 Hawker Hurricane Mks.IIa, IIb, IIc
December 1943 July 1944 Supermarine Spitfire
Supermarine Spitfire
The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries throughout the Second World War. The Spitfire continued to be used as a front line fighter and in secondary roles into the 1950s...

 
Mk.Vc
March 1944 June 1947 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX
August 1944 October 1944 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VIII
August 1946 March 1957 Supermarine Spitfire FR.18
March 1951 January 1958 Gloster Meteor
Gloster Meteor
The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter and the Allies' first operational jet. It first flew in 1943 and commenced operations on 27 July 1944 with 616 Squadron of the Royal Air Force...

 
FR.9
January 1958 February 1958 Hawker Hunter
Hawker Hunter
The Hawker Hunter is a subsonic British jet aircraft developed in the 1950s. The single-seat Hunter entered service as a manoeuvrable fighter aircraft, and later operated in fighter-bomber and reconnaissance roles in numerous conflicts. Two-seat variants remained in use for training and secondary...

 
F.5
January 1958 March 1959 Hawker Hunter F.6
April 1959 March 1960 de Havilland Venom
De Havilland Venom
The de Havilland DH 112 Venom was a British postwar single-engined jet aircraft developed from the de Havilland Vampire. It served with the Royal Air Force as a single-seat fighter-bomber and two-seat night fighter....

 
FB.4
March 1960 September 1971 Hawker Hunter FGA.9
October 1974 March 1994 Blackburn Buccaneer
Blackburn Buccaneer
The Blackburn Buccaneer was a British low-level subsonic strike aircraft with nuclear weapon delivery capability serving with the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force between 1962 and 1994, including service in the 1991 Gulf War...

 
S.2A, S.2B
April 1994 Present BAe Hawk T.1, T1A

External links

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