12 Squadron
12 Squadron
History of 12 Squadron
Aircraft: Tornado GR1B Motto: Leads the Field - suggested by the use of the fox as the squadron emblem and its reputation for daylight bombing development. Badge: A fox's mask - approved by HRH King George VI in February 1937. Based on a suggestion when the squadron was equipped with the Fairey Fox, an aircraft of which they were proud and the sole operators. Battle Honours: Western Front 1915-1918, Loos*, Somme 1916, Arras, Cambrai 1917*, Somme 1918*, Hindenburg Line, France and Low Countries 1939-1940*, Meuse Bridges*, Fortress Europe 1940-1944, German Ports 1941-1945, Biscay Ports 1940-1945, Berlin 1941-1945*, Ruhr 1941-1945*, France and Germany 1944-1945, Rhine*, Gulf 1991*
No. 12 Squadron was formed on 14 February 1915 at Netheravon from a nucleus provided by No. 1 Sqn. In April 1916, the Squadron moved to St Omer, France equipped with BE2Cs primarily in the long-range reconnaissance role. By April 1918, No. 12 Sqn had added night bombing and strafing to its repertoire. After the Armistice, the Squadron moved to Germany as of the Army of Occupation and by November 1919 was the sole operational squadron in Germany until July 1922 when it was disbanded. The Squadron reformed in April 1923 with DH9As spending a short time at Northolt before moving to Andover where it became engaged in the development of bombing techniques. In 1926, the Squadron became the sole operator of the Fairey Fox, an aircraft that outpaced many contemporary fighters and revolutionised bomber tactics. In 1935, the Squadron moved to Abyssinia with Harts before returning home in 1936 and re-equipping with Hinds. At the start of World War II, No. 12 Sqn departed for France as part of the Advanced Air Striking Force equipped with Battles. In May 1940, Fg Off Garner and Sgt Gray, his observer, led a flight of aircraft in an attack on a vital bridge over the Albert Canal. All of the aircraft were shot down by fierce enemy groundfire, but one end of bridge was destroyed and both Garland and Gray were posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, the first of the War. After the British withdrawal from France in June 1940, the Squadron began night attacks on enemy shipping and re-equipped with Wellingtons. Two years later, Lancasters were taken on strength and these lasted until August 1946, when Lincolns replaced them. During 1952, No. 12 Sqn received Canberra jet-bombers, and these were used in support of Operations Firedog (Malaya) and Musketeer (Suez). In July 1961, the Squadron was disbanded but reformed a year later at Coningsby with Vulcans, but the Squadron once again disbanded in late 1967 before reforming again in October 1969 with Buccaneers. After a period of relative stability, No. 12 moved to Lossiemouth from Honington in 1980, and continued with Buccaneers until 1993 when Tornado GR1Bs replaced them. During December 1998, the Squadron took part in Operation Desert Fox, the four-day air campaign against Iraq.


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