No. 42 Squadron RAF
Overview
 
No. 42 Squadron 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...

 has served during 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...

 as an army co-operation squadron and during 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 various roles. In recent years, it was the Operational Conversion Unit
Operational Conversion Unit
An Operational Conversion Unit is a unit within an air force whose role is to support preparation for the operational missions of a specific aircraft type by providing trained personnel. OCUs teach pilots how to fly an aircraft and which tactics best exploit the performance of their aircraft and...

 (OCU) for the Nimrod MR.2, based at RAF Kinloss
RAF Kinloss
RAF Kinloss is a Royal Air Force station near Kinloss, on the Moray Firth in the north of Scotland. It opened on 1 April 1939 and served as an RAF training establishment during the Second World War. After the war it was handed over to Coastal Command to watch over Russian ships and submarines in...

, Moray
Moray
Moray is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland. It lies in the north-east of the country, with coastline on the Moray Firth, and borders the council areas of Aberdeenshire and Highland.- History :...

, until the Nimrod MR2's retirement in 2010.
Formed 1 April 1916 from crews of 19 Squadron Royal Flying Corps
Royal Flying Corps
The Royal Flying Corps was the over-land air arm of the British military during most of the First World War. During the early part of the war, the RFC's responsibilities were centred on support of the British Army, via artillery co-operation and photographic reconnaissance...

 at Filton
RAF Filton
RAF Filton was a World War II, Royal Air Force Sector Airfield situated at Filton Aerodrome about 5 miles north of the city centre of Bristol, England....

, 42 Squadron spent the First World War
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...

 flying reconnaissance
Reconnaissance
Reconnaissance is the military term for exploring beyond the area occupied by friendly forces to gain information about enemy forces or features of the environment....

 sorties.
Encyclopedia
No. 42 Squadron 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...

 has served during 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...

 as an army co-operation squadron and during 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 various roles. In recent years, it was the Operational Conversion Unit
Operational Conversion Unit
An Operational Conversion Unit is a unit within an air force whose role is to support preparation for the operational missions of a specific aircraft type by providing trained personnel. OCUs teach pilots how to fly an aircraft and which tactics best exploit the performance of their aircraft and...

 (OCU) for the Nimrod MR.2, based at RAF Kinloss
RAF Kinloss
RAF Kinloss is a Royal Air Force station near Kinloss, on the Moray Firth in the north of Scotland. It opened on 1 April 1939 and served as an RAF training establishment during the Second World War. After the war it was handed over to Coastal Command to watch over Russian ships and submarines in...

, Moray
Moray
Moray is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland. It lies in the north-east of the country, with coastline on the Moray Firth, and borders the council areas of Aberdeenshire and Highland.- History :...

, until the Nimrod MR2's retirement in 2010.

First World War

Formed 1 April 1916 from crews of 19 Squadron Royal Flying Corps
Royal Flying Corps
The Royal Flying Corps was the over-land air arm of the British military during most of the First World War. During the early part of the war, the RFC's responsibilities were centred on support of the British Army, via artillery co-operation and photographic reconnaissance...

 at Filton
RAF Filton
RAF Filton was a World War II, Royal Air Force Sector Airfield situated at Filton Aerodrome about 5 miles north of the city centre of Bristol, England....

, 42 Squadron spent the First World War
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...

 flying reconnaissance
Reconnaissance
Reconnaissance is the military term for exploring beyond the area occupied by friendly forces to gain information about enemy forces or features of the environment....

 sorties. Using BE2s
Royal Aircraft Factory BE.2
The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 was a British single-engine two-seat biplane which was in service with the Royal Flying Corps from 1912 until the end of World War I. The "Bleriot" in its designation refers to the fact that, like the Bleriot types it was of tractor configuration, with the...

 (and later RE8s
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...

), the squadron spent time on both the Western Front
Western Front (World War I)
Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by first invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne...

 and the Austro-Italian Front
Italian Campaign (World War I)
The Italian campaign refers to a series of battles fought between the armies of Austria-Hungary and Italy, along with their allies, in northern Italy between 1915 and 1918. Italy hoped that by joining the countries of the Triple Entente against the Central Powers it would gain Cisalpine Tyrol , the...

. On returning to England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 after the war, the squadron was disbanded at RAF Netheravon on 26 June 1919.

Second World War

On 14 December 1936 'B' flight of No. 22 Squadron RAF
No. 22 Squadron RAF
No. 22 Squadron of the Royal Air Force operates the Sea King HAR.3 and HAR.3A at three stations in the southern United Kingdom. The squadron was originally formed in 1915 as an aerial reconnaissance unit of the Royal Flying Corps serving on the Western Front during First World War...

 was expanded into a new No. 42 Squadron. In 1939 No. 42 Squadron was based at RAF Bircham Newton
RAF Bircham Newton
RAF Bircham Newton was a Royal Air Force airfield in the west of the county of Norfolk in the United Kingdom, eight miles west of Fakenham.-History:...

. Initially the unit was equipped with Vickers Vildebeest
Vickers Vildebeest
The Vickers Vildebeest and the similar Vickers Vincent were two very large two- to three-seat single-engined British biplanes designed and built by Vickers and used as a light bomber, torpedo bomber and in the army cooperation roles...

s before re-equipping with Bristol Beaufort
Bristol Beaufort
The Bristol Beaufort was a British twin-engined torpedo bomber designed by the Bristol Aeroplane Company, and developed from experience gained designing and building the earlier Blenheim light bomber....

s in January 1940. The squadron operated also a bomber unit in the Burma campaign
Burma Campaign
The Burma Campaign in the South-East Asian Theatre of World War II was fought primarily between British Commonwealth, Chinese and United States forces against the forces of the Empire of Japan, Thailand, and the Indian National Army. British Commonwealth land forces were drawn primarily from...

 flying Blenheims
Bristol Blenheim
The Bristol Blenheim was a British light bomber aircraft designed and built by the Bristol Aeroplane Company that was used extensively in the early days of the Second World War. It was adapted as an interim long-range and night fighter, pending the availability of the Beaufighter...

 during 1942 and as a fighter-bomber unit flying Hurricanes
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...

 during 1943. The squadron disbanded on 30 June 1945 but on the following day 146 squadron
No. 146 Squadron RAF
No. 146 Squadron RAF was a Royal Air Force Squadron formed as a fighter unit in India in World War II.-Formation and World War II:Plans for formation of the squadron in World War I never came to fruition. It was formed in on 15 October 1941 at Risalpur, India, then moved to Assam where it was...

 was renumbered to No. 42 Squadron and flew Thunderbolts
P-47 Thunderbolt
Republic Aviation's P-47 Thunderbolt, also known as the "Jug", was the largest, heaviest, and most expensive fighter aircraft in history to be powered by a single reciprocating engine. It was heavily armed with eight .50-caliber machine guns, four per wing. When fully loaded, the P-47 weighed up to...

. The squadron fought on with these until the Burma campaign ended and thereafter the squadron disbanded on 30 December 1945 at Meiktela.

Beaufighters

On 1 October 1946 254 Squadron
No. 254 Squadron RAF
No. 254 Squadron of the Royal Air Force was reformed in 1959 as one of 20 Strategic Missile squadrons associated with Project Emily. The squadron was equipped with three Thor Intermediate range ballistic missiles...

 at RAF Thorney Island was renumbered to No. 42 Squadron. Equipped with Bristol Beaufighter
Bristol Beaufighter
The Bristol Type 156 Beaufighter, often referred to as simply the Beau, was a British long-range heavy fighter modification of the Bristol Aeroplane Company's earlier Beaufort torpedo bomber design...

, it was a strike unit in RAF Coastal Command
RAF Coastal Command
RAF Coastal Command was a formation within the Royal Air Force . Founded in 1936, it was the RAF's premier maritime arm, after the Royal Navy's secondment of the Fleet Air Arm in 1937. Naval aviation was neglected in the inter-war period, 1919–1939, and as a consequence the service did not receive...

 until disbanded on 15 October 1947.

Shackletons

On 28 June 1952, No. 42 Squadron was reformed, flying Avro Shackleton
Avro Shackleton
The Avro Shackleton was a British long-range maritime patrol aircraft for use by the Royal Air Force. It was developed by Avro from the Avro Lincoln bomber with a new fuselage...

s in the maritime reconnaissance
Maritime patrol
Maritime patrol is the task of monitoring areas of water. Generally conducted by military and law enforcement agencies, maritime patrol is usually aimed at identifying human activities....

 role.
1955 midair collision

On 11 January 1955, Two Shackletons (WG531 and WL743) of the squadron departed on a routine exercise off Fastnet Rock
Fastnet Rock
Fastnet Rock is a small island in the Atlantic Ocean and the most southerly point of Ireland. It lies southwest of Cape Clear Island and from County Cork on the Irish mainland...

 on the southwest Irish coast. The two maritime patrol aircraft took off from RAF St Eval
RAF St Eval
RAF St Eval was a strategic airbase for the RAF Coastal Command in the Second World War . St Eval's primary role was to provided anti-submarine and anti-shipping patrols off the south west coast of England...

 at 10:14 and 10:20 respectively to carry out search exercises as part of their 15-hour patrol. Radio messages received from the two airplanes through 20:00 that night indicated that they were flying at the prescribed 85 mi (136.8 km) distance from one another, despite their having departed St. Eval with only six minutes' separation. From 20:58 all contact was lost. A three-day search was conducted, but both aircraft remained missing without a trace, leading to the assumption that there had been a mid-air collision
Mid-air collision
A mid-air collision is an aviation accident in which two or more aircraft come into contact during flight. Owing to the relatively high velocities involved and any subsequent impact on the ground or sea, very severe damage or the total destruction of at least one of the aircraft involved usually...

. In 1966, the starboard outer (#4) engine of WL743 was recovered about 75 miles north of where authorities had long assumed the collision had occurred.

Nimrods

The squadron converted to Nimrods in April 1971. Disbanded as a front-line unit in October 1992, it was later reformed as No. 42 (Reserve) Squadron at RAF Kinloss
RAF Kinloss
RAF Kinloss is a Royal Air Force station near Kinloss, on the Moray Firth in the north of Scotland. It opened on 1 April 1939 and served as an RAF training establishment during the Second World War. After the war it was handed over to Coastal Command to watch over Russian ships and submarines in...

, Moray
Moray
Moray is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland. It lies in the north-east of the country, with coastline on the Moray Firth, and borders the council areas of Aberdeenshire and Highland.- History :...

, taking over from No. 236 OCU as the Nimrod Operational Conversion Unit
Operational Conversion Unit
An Operational Conversion Unit is a unit within an air force whose role is to support preparation for the operational missions of a specific aircraft type by providing trained personnel. OCUs teach pilots how to fly an aircraft and which tactics best exploit the performance of their aircraft and...

 (OCU). The squadron flew its last Nimrod MR.2 flight on 30 March 2010, and was formally disbanded on 26 May 2011.

Aircraft operated

{|class="wikitable"
|+Aircraft operated by no. 42 Squadron RAF, data from
!From !! To !! Aircraft !! Version
|-
|April 1916 || August 1916 || B.E.2 || 2d
|-
|April 1916 || April 1917 || B.E.2 || 2e
|-
|April 1917 || February 1919 || 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...

 ||
|-
|December 1936 || December 1937 || Vickers Vildebeest
Vickers Vildebeest
The Vickers Vildebeest and the similar Vickers Vincent were two very large two- to three-seat single-engined British biplanes designed and built by Vickers and used as a light bomber, torpedo bomber and in the army cooperation roles...

 || Mk.III
|-
|January 1937 || March 1937 || Vickers Vildebeest || Mk.I
|-
|March 1937 || April 1940 || Vickers Vildebeest || Mk.IV
|-
|September 1939 || April 1940 || Vickers Vildebeest || Mk.III
|-
|April 1940 || January 1942 || Bristol Beaufort
Bristol Beaufort
The Bristol Beaufort was a British twin-engined torpedo bomber designed by the Bristol Aeroplane Company, and developed from experience gained designing and building the earlier Blenheim light bomber....

 || Mk.I
|-
|January 1942 || February 1943 || Bristol Beaufort || Mk.II
|-
|February 1943 || October 1943 || Bristol Blenheim
Bristol Blenheim
The Bristol Blenheim was a British light bomber aircraft designed and built by the Bristol Aeroplane Company that was used extensively in the early days of the Second World War. It was adapted as an interim long-range and night fighter, pending the availability of the Beaufighter...

 || Mk.V
|-
|October 1943 || June 1945 || 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.IV
|-
|September 1944 || December 1944 || Hawker Hurricane || Mk.IIc
|-
|April 1945 || June 1945 || Hawker Hurricane || Mk.IIc
|-
|July 1945 || December 1945 || Republic Thunderbolt
P-47 Thunderbolt
Republic Aviation's P-47 Thunderbolt, also known as the "Jug", was the largest, heaviest, and most expensive fighter aircraft in history to be powered by a single reciprocating engine. It was heavily armed with eight .50-caliber machine guns, four per wing. When fully loaded, the P-47 weighed up to...

 || Mk.II
|-
|October 1946 || October 1947 || Bristol Beaufighter
Bristol Beaufighter
The Bristol Type 156 Beaufighter, often referred to as simply the Beau, was a British long-range heavy fighter modification of the Bristol Aeroplane Company's earlier Beaufort torpedo bomber design...

 || TF.10
|-
|June 1952 || July 1954 || Avro Shackleton
Avro Shackleton
The Avro Shackleton was a British long-range maritime patrol aircraft for use by the Royal Air Force. It was developed by Avro from the Avro Lincoln bomber with a new fuselage...

 || MR.1/1A
|-
|January 1953 || January 1966 || Avro Shackleton
Avro Shackleton
The Avro Shackleton was a British long-range maritime patrol aircraft for use by the Royal Air Force. It was developed by Avro from the Avro Lincoln bomber with a new fuselage...

 || MR.2
|-
|November 1965 || September 1971 || Avro Shackleton
Avro Shackleton
The Avro Shackleton was a British long-range maritime patrol aircraft for use by the Royal Air Force. It was developed by Avro from the Avro Lincoln bomber with a new fuselage...

 || MR.3
|-
|August 1971 || August 1984 || Hawker Siddeley Nimrod || MR.1
|-
|August 1983 || April 2011 || Hawker Siddeley Nimrod || MR.2

See also

  • Other RAF Nimrod squadrons:
    • No. 120 Squadron
      No. 120 Squadron RAF
      No. 120 Squadron of the Royal Air Force operated the Nimrod MR2, based at RAF Kinloss, Moray, Scotland until the type's withdrawal in March 2010.-Formation in WWI:...

      , Nimrod MR.2
    • No. 201 Squadron
      No. 201 Squadron RAF
      No. 201 Squadron of the Royal Air Force, until March 2010, operated the Nimrod MR2, based at RAF Kinloss, Moray. It is the only squadron affiliated with Guernsey, in the Channel Islands. This affiliation started in 1935 and is commemorated in the museum on Castle Cornet. Its history goes even...

      , Nimrod MR.2
    • No. 51 Squadron
      No. 51 Squadron RAF
      No. 51 Squadron of the Royal Air Force most recently operated the Nimrod R1 from RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire until June 2011. Crews from No. 51 Squadron are currently training alongside the US Air Force on the Boeing RC-135, which is planned to enter service with the RAF over the next seven years...

      , Nimrod R.1

External links

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