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[RAF Elsham Wolds] [Squadrons of Elsham Wolds] [100 Squadron]

100 Squadron RAF.

WW1

Formed on 23 February 1917 at RFC Hingham, the squadron moved to France in March 1917 equipped with FE2bs in the night bomber role. It operated under the operational control of RFC HQ in the III Brigade area until May 1918 when it transferred to the 41st Wing in the Nancy Area. In June it became part of the Independent Air Force under the command of Sir Hugh Trenchard and continued in the strategic bombing role until the end of the war, having re-equipped with Handley Page O/400s in August.

FE2 with bombs

FE2b with bombs

Handley Page O400 Independant Air Force

Handley Page O/400 Independent Air Force

Interwar

Returning to the UK in September 1919, it absorbed the cadres of No's 117 and 141 Squadrons and began operations as a Army Co-operation unit in Ireland transferring to RAF Baldonnel, near Dublin and re-forming to full strength, re-equipping with Bristol F2 Fighters for army co-operation.

In early 1922 the squadron returned to the UK RAF Spittlegate on the formation of the Irish Free State and converted to the bombing role this time with Vickers Vimys and DH9As.

These were soon replaced by Fairey Fawns in 1924 and Hawker Horsleys in 1926. The Squadron then moved to  RAF Donibristle in Scotland in 1930 where it converted to the torpedo strike anti shipping role. Vickers Vildebeests were received two years later and a year after that the squadron was sent to Singapore to re-inforce the defences of the island.

Bristol Fighter F2B

Bristol Fighter F2B

Hawker Horsley

Hawker Horsley

Vickers Vildebeest on ground

Vickers Vildebeest

WW2

Plans were made to re-equip the squadron in 1941 with Australian built Beauforts but the Japanese attack took place before this could began and the squadron had to operate its obsolete aircraft in the face of more modem opposition. Losses were extremely heavy and by February 1942 most of the Squadron’s aircraft were lost and the remnants were absorbed into No 36 Squadron.

Later that year 100 Squadron was reformed at RAF Grimsby/Waltham in No 1 Group of Bomber Command.

Several prominent pilots from RAF Elsham Wolds served with 100 Squadron – OCs David Holford DSO DFC and John Dilworth DFC who were both killed flying with the 100 Squadron. Holford was an outstanding bomber pilot having served two tours, the second with 103 Squadron at RAF Elsham Wolds in 1941/42. He was killed when his aircraft crashed near Kelstern on return from an operation in bad weather on the 16 December 1943. John Dilworth, who for a short time was a flight commander with the newly formed 576 Squadron, took over as OC 100 Squadron from David Holford  and was in turn lost with his crew on the night of the 24/25 February 1944 on an operation to Schweinfurt.

100 Squadron Holford and Dilworth

L - David Holford. R - John Dilworth

Also both Stan Slater DSO DFC and Basil Templeman Rook DSO DFC  flew their first tours with 100 Squadron in 1943 and later were transferred to 576 Squadron in 1944 becoming Flight Commanders.

100 Squadron Templeman Rooke and Slater

L - Basil Templeman- Rooke. R - Stan Slater

100 Squadron were then transferred from RAF Waltham to RAF Elsham Wolds in April 1945 when the Waltham runways were deemed to be in a poor state of repair and no longer suitable for an operational bomber squadron. During this period the Squadron flew several bomber ops and also Manna and Dodge tasks. They left Elsham Wolds in Dec 1945 for RAF Scampton

Avro Lancaster 100 Squadron

Avro Lancaster 100 Squadron

Post War

The Avro Lancasters were replaced by Avro Lincolns in 1946 and some of these were used for as part of an official visit by the RAF (aircraft drawn from 83, 97 and 100 Squadrons) to Chile. In 1950 the Squadron began a six month detachment in Malaya as part of Operation Firedog. Another detachment took place in early 1954, this time to Kenya where it operated against the Mau Mau.

Returning to the UK, the squadron were equipped with the English Electric Canberra in April 1954, continuing to operate these in the bomber role until disbanding at RAF Wittering on 1 September 1959. The squadron reformed on 1 May 1962, again at Wittering, but now equipped with the Handley Page Victor B Mk 2 as part of the RAF V Bomber Force. It disbanded again on 30 September 1968.

100 Squadron was reformed on 1 February 1972 at RAF West Raynham in the Target Facilities role equipped with a variety of Canberra variants. It moved to RAF Marham in January 1976 and then to  RAF Wyton, in January 1982. In September 1991 the Canberras were replaced by BAE Systems Hawk T MK lAs. 100 Squadron then transferred to RAF Finningley in September 1993 and RAF Leeming in September 1995. The squadron disbanded on 31 March 2022.

Avro Lincoln RF355

Avro Lincoln

English Electric Canberra 100 Squadron

English Electric Canberra 100 Squadron

BAE Systems Hawk T lA 100 Squadron

BAE Systems Hawk T lA 100 Squadron

Compiled by David Fell with photos from my archive

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Bomber Command interest are the

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