No 111 SQUADRON Royal AirForce - 35th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain

No 111 SQUADRON Royal AirForce

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No 111 SQUADRON Royal AirForce - 35th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain

British Stamp Collection : RAF Stamp collection Cover

35th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain – 15th September 1975 – No 111 SQUADRON Royal Air Force – Special Cover

This cover was flown from RAF Coningsby in Phantom FGR2 XV478 on 15th September. The aircraft was scrambled to intercept a Canberra aircraft on No. 360 Squadron over the North Sea, on an Electronic Warfare mission.

Flight Time : 1 hr. 40 mins.

Pilot: Squadron Leader M.J. Bettell.

Navigator: Flight Lieutenant D.Trotter.


No 111 Squadron was first formed in Palestine on 1st August 1917 and equipped with a mixture of Bristol Fighters, Bristol Scouts and Vickers Bullets 11 was a Bristol Fighter which claimed the Squadron’s first kill, a German Albatross, in October 191 7. By the end ot 1918 ‘Treble One’, then equipped mainly with the SE5A, had destroyed 52 enemy aircraft. After a short period in Syria the Squadron was disbanded in February 1920.

The Squadron was reformed as a fighter Squadron in 1923 and became known as the “High Altitude” Squadron because of its extensive programme of research flying In 1931 the Squadron re-equipped with the Bristol Bulldoq and soon achieved an RAF record by flying more than 400 hours in one month. In 1938, with the clouds of the Second World War gathering on the horizon. “Treble One” was selected to be the first Squadron to re-equip with the Hawker Hurricane. One month after receiving the new aircraft the Squadron established a new Edinburgh to London airspeed record of 408 mph.

The early war years saw the Squadron fully committed: first in the Battle for France, and then in the Battle of Britain. “Treble One” Hurricanes acquitted themselves well and in 1940 the Squadron “score” of enemy aircraft was 94 destroyed, 18 probables and 59 damaged. In 1941 the faithful Hurricanes were replaced by the Supermarine Spitfire and in 1942 No 111 Squadron redeployed to North Africa. The Squadron operated in the tactical fighter role moving forward with the advanced allied armies through Sicily and Italy. The Squadron’s final tally of enemy aircraft was 209 destroyed, 52 probables and 161 damaged.

After a period of disbandment No 111 Squadron was reformed in 1953, initially with the Glosler Meteor Mk 8 which was soon to be replaced by Ihe Hawker Hunter F4 in 1955. 1t was not long before the Squadron broke the previous “Hawker” record by flying from Edinburgh to London at an average speed of 717 mph. In 1956 “Treble One” formed its first Hunter formation aerobatic team. This was soon to be selected as the RAF’s premier display team and became world famous as the ‘Black Arrows’. The Squadron carried the skills of formation acrobatic display flying to as yet unsu passed heights with a team of 22 aircraft, and retained that commitment until re-equipped with the English Electric Lightning Mk 1 in 1961. In 1965 the Mk 1 was superceded by the more advanced Mk 3 Lightning with which the Squadron was equipped until September 1974.

On 30th September 1974 the Squadron re-equipped with the Phantom FGR2 and moved to RAF Coningsby. This was another ‘First’ for Treble One, becoming the first Air Defense Squadron to become operational with the Phantom FGR2, an aircraft which is a generation ahead of the Lightning 3.

“Treble One” shares with other No 11 Group Squadrons responsibility for the maintenance of the Interceptor Alert Force of aircraft always at readiness to intercept, identify, and if it ever became necessary, destroy hostile aircraft approaching the United Kingdom. Regular participation in National and International exercises ensures the highest standards of operational efficiency, and periods of exchange with the other NATO air forces foster co-operation and helps maintain the strength of the Alliance.

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