103 Squadron RAF
September 1917 to August 1975
Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force - WW1 - WW2 - Indonesian Confrontation - Noli me Tangere
103 Squadron was prominent during the later stages of WW1, throughout WW2 and post war during the Indonesian Confrontation
The Squadron was formed at Beaulieu in Hampshire UK on 1st September 1917 as a day bomber squadron. In 1918 during the last stages of WW1 the Squadron was employed on day bombing and reconnaissance duties on the Western Front flying DH9 bi-plane bombers with conspicuous success.
Whilst in France 103 Squadron were based at mainly at Serny but also
Disbanded in 1919 103 Squadron was re-formed in August 1936, as No 103 (Bomber) Squadron with Hawker Hinds at RAF Andover and moved to RAF Usworth in Co Durham in Feb 1937.
During the Second World War No 103 Squadron was sent to France as part of the AASF. In May 1940 103 Squadron was based at Betheniville later withdrawing across France until recalled to England.
During the Battle of France 103 Squadron made short-range day and night-bombing attacks with Fairey Battle single engined bombers including attacks on the Meuse bridges at Sedan.
On return 103 Squadron became part of 1 Group RAF Bomber Command and was based at RAF Newton in Nottinghamshire and later RAF Elsham Wolds in Lincolnshire. Only one other Bomber Command Squadron had a longer association with one airfield during WW2 than 103 Squadron as it was stationed at RAF Elsham Wolds for 4 years until disbanding six months after VE Day.
From RAF Newton and RAF Elsham Wolds 103 Squadron took part in many medium and long range attacks against Germany and occupied Europe flying Vickers Wellington, Handley Page Halifax and finally Avro Lancaster bombers
Prominent amongst these attacks in August 1943, 103 Squadron contributed 24 Lancasters to the force of over 600 Bomber Command "heavies" which was sent to attack the German V-weapons experimental station at Peenemunde.
Another notable attack in which 103 Sqn participated was on the 25th April 1945 against Hitler’s Mountain Retreat at Berchtesgaden. This was the last WW2 bomber operation undertaken by the Squadron.
At the end of WW2 103 Squadron was active in the Operation Manna food drops to Dutch civilians. They also took part in the repatriation of POWs from Europe and Operation Dodge - the repatriation of service personnel from Italy.
103 Squadron was disbanded in Dec 1945 and reformed in 1954 flying English Electric Canberra jet bombers at RAF Gutersloh in Germany.
Disbanded in Aug 1956 they were reformed again in Aug 1959 in Cyprus at RAF Nicosia as a helicopter unit flying the Bristol Sycamore helicopter and were disbanded yet again in in July 1963. 103 Squadron was immediately reformed in Singapore flying Westland Whirlwind helicopters and later Westland Wessex helicopters.
From 1963 to 1969 103 Squadron was based at
RAF Seletar, and later RAF Changi and RAF Tengah.
Whilst in the Far East the Squadron played a very active part in the Indonesian Confrontation.
Prominent among the aircraft on the strength of the Squadron during WW2 was Lancaster ED888 - the top scoring heavy bomber that served with Bomber Command which enjoyed such a long and productive association with both 103 Squadron and 576 Squadron, all at RAF Elsham Wolds
103 Squadron played a significant roll in all the major Royal Air Force Bomber Command offensives in WW2
Invasion Ports, 1940
Fortress Europe, 1940-44
Biscay Ports, 1941-43
German Ports, 1941-45
The Thousand Bomber Raids 1942
The Battle of the Ruhr, 1943
The Battle of Berlin, 1943-44
France and Germany, 1944-45
103 Squadron was finally disbanded in Aug 1975 after a long, varied and distinguished service career.