No. 18 (Burma) Squadron

Badge: A Pegasus rampant.
The Pegasus was chosen to commemorate the unit being the forst to co-operate with the Cavalry Corps on the Somme in the First World War.
Motto: "Animo et Fide" ("With courage and faith").
Authority: King Edward VIII, May, 1936.
Unoffical W.W.2 name: "Gloucester's 'own' squadron".
Based at Upwood from: (May 1955 - January 1957)
Type of Aircraft: English Electric Canberra B.2.


No. 18 squadron R.F.C. was formed at Northolt, Middlesex, on the 11th May 1915. The squadron went to France in November equipped with Vickers F.B.5s for fighter- reconnaissance duties. The squadron re-equipped with F.E.2b's in April 1916 its employment then included artillery observation, day-and night-bombing and cavalry contact patrols. 18 squadron was the first squadron to get into direct communication with Army headquarters by wireless. During the summer of 1917 the squadron was again re-equipped with D.H.4's and began heavy day-bombing and long-distance reconnaissance. In October 1918 the squadron was re-equipped with the D.H.9A's The number of enemy aircraft claimed as destroyed by No. 18 squadron during its active service on the Western Front totalled over 200.The double drum for the Lewis gun was invented by members of the squadron armoury in December 1915, and that the Norman compensating foresight was invented by Capt. Norman while he was serving with the squadron.
After the Armistice the squadron operated a mail service between Cologne and Lympne. It returned to England in September 1919 and was disbanded at the end of the year.
In October 1931 the squadron reformed and resumed its day-bombing role and at first with Hawker Harts then replaced by Hinds in 1936. The war came again in 1939 and the squadron was equipped with Blenheims.
The Squadron went to France following the outbreak of war as part of the R.A.F. Air Component of the British Expeditionary Force and in the course of reconnaissance and bombing missions during the early stages of the blitzkrieg in May 1940. Due to the squadron suffering heavy losses it was withdrawn to England on 19th May.
On the 19th August, 1941 whilst en route to a target in Northern France, one of its Blenheims (R3843 "F-Freddy", Mk IV) dropped by parachute, to St. Omer airfield, a box containing a spare right artificial leg to Wing Commander Douglas Bader, the fighter ace who had been shot down 10 days earlier
In late 1942 the squadron was equipped with Blenheims Vs and operated in North Africa. Its commanding Officer, Wing Commander H.G. Malcolm, earned a posthumous Victoria Cross for a highly gallant operation. In May 1943, with no target left in North Africa, the squadron was stood down for a well-earned rest.
Between 1946 and 1950 No 18 squadron was disbanded and re-formed several times.
In 1953 the squadron reformed at RAF Scampton with Canberras. In May 1955 the squadron moved to RAF Upwood. Whilst at Upwood the squadron had Detachments to Cyprus (Nicosia) October 1955 to December 1955 and dispanded in January 1957. The squadron reformed again in December 1958 at RAF Finningley, equipped with Vickers Valiant.

Members of 18 squadron with their Canberra B.2's at Upwood

Canberra WH 919 served with 18 and 35 squadron at Upwood


Many thanks to Tony Bish for the use of these pictures from his collection.


Sean Edwards