No. 28 Squadron RAF

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No. 28 Squadron RAF
28 Squadron badge
Active 7 November 1915 – present
Role Battlefield Support Helicopter
Garrison/HQ RAF Benson, Oxfordshire
Motto Quicquid agas age Latin: "Whatsoever you may do, do"
Equipment Boeing Chinook HC.4
Westland Puma HC.2
Battle honours Italian Front and Adriatic 1917–1918, Piave, Vittoria Venito, Waziristan 1921–1925, North-West Frontier 1939, Burma 1942, Arakan 1943–1944, Manipur 1944, Burma 1944–1945.
Badge In front of a demi-Pegasus, a fasces[1]

No. 28 Squadron of the Royal Air Force operates the Puma and Chinook Helicopters from RAF Benson.


First World War

No. 28 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps was formed on 7 November 1915 at RAF Gosport. Initially a training squadron it became a fighter squadron equipped with the Sopwith Camel.[2] After the end of the First World War it had claimed 136 victories. It numbered eleven flying aces among its ranks, including: future Air Vice-Marshal Clifford MacKay McEwen, William George Barker, Harold B. Hudson, James Hart Mitchell, Stanley Stanger, Arthur Cooper, Percy Wilson, Thomas Frederic Williams, and Joseph E. Hallonquist.[3]

Inter war years

The squadron was disbanded on 20 January 1920 at RAF Eastleigh however on 1 April 1920 it was reformed at RAF Ambala with the Bristol F2b Fighter. During the 1920s and 30's it was moved to various bases within India and operated different aircraft including changing to the Westland Wapiti during September 1931 and the Hawker Audax during June 1936.[2]

Second World War

File:Hurricane recon plane 28 Sqn RAF being armed c1943.jpg
A 28 Squadron Hurricane IIC being armed, 1943.

Remaining in Asia, during the Second World War it flew the Westland Lysander from September 1941 and from December 1942 the Hawker Hurricane fighter-bomber. By 1943 the squadron was operating in Burma until July 1945 when it started to re-equip with the Supermarine Spitfire.[2]

Post War

After the Second World War the squadron operated as a fighter-reconnaissance unit as part of the Far East Air Force, moving to RAF Kai Tak, Hong Kong in 1949 still with Spitfires. From then on the squadron was regularly moved between Kai Tak and Sek Kong, and from January 1951 was re-equipped with the de Havilland Vampire, then the de Havilland Venom from February 1956. While at Kai Tak from May 1962 the squadron changed to flying Hawker Hunter FGA.9's, until 2 January 1967 when it was disbanded.[2]

A 28 Sqn Wessex HC2 takes off at Hong Kong in 1983.

The squadron was reformed on 1 March 1968 at Kai Tak from a detachment of No. 103 Squadron RAF operating Westland Whirlwind HC 10's. The Westland Wessex HC.2 was introduced to the squadron from January 1972 and the Whirlwind's operated until August 1972. On 17 May 1978 the squadron moved to RAF Sek Kong[2] and stayed until 1996. The squadron returned to Kai Tak from then until the British withdrawal in June 1997 and was the last RAF squadron to leave the territory.[citation needed]

The RAF ordered 22 Westland Merlin HC3 helicopters in March 1995, the first of which was received from GKNWestland, now AgustaWestland, on 7 March 2001. The squadron officially reformed on 17 July 2001 at RAF Benson, the first time in its recent history that the squadron had been stationed in the UK.[citation needed]

The squadron's first operational role with the Merlin was in support of SFOR at Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The aircraft and personnel deployed on 1 April 2003, the same day that an initial operational capability was declared for the Merlin. The detachment ceased on 31 March 2004 and the squadron then began to prepare for operations in Iraq.[citation needed]

The squadron's commitment to Operation TELIC began on 1 March 2005. Several aircraft and a mix of aircrew, engineers and support personnel from 28 (AC) Squadron and RAF Benson, deployed using the historic No. 1419 Flight RAF to replace the Chinook's of No. 1310 Flight RAF at Basrah Air Station, Iraq. In 2009 the squadron returned from Operation Telic and later on in the year deployed on Operation Herrick keeping the designation of 1419 Flight. The squadron returned during May 2013.

Current role

On 3 December 2007 the squadron was broken up to form the RAF Merlin Force which comprises 28 (AC) Squadron, the newly reallocated 78 Squadron and the Merlin Force Engineering Squadron. This followed the additional purchase of six Merlin HC3A from Denmark via AgustaWestland. The commensurate increase in aircrew and engineering personnel would have made a single Merlin squadron too unwieldy.

In July 2015, the squadron handed over its Merlin Helicopters to the Royal Navy/Commando Helicopter Force and re-roled as 28 Squadron OCU whose role is to train Chinook Mk4 and Puma Mk2 helicopters crews.[4] 28 Squadron OCU reached its Initial Operating Capability on 21 October 2015 upon the arrival of 4 Chinook Helicopters and associated crews and engineers to join the existing Puma training crews already based at Benson.

Commanding Officers

No 28 (A/C) Squadron Commanding Officers

Maj A.C.E. Marsh 12 Nov 1915

Capt K.P. Atkinson 22 Jan 1916

Capt L.A. Tilney 15 Feb 1916

Maj A Shekleton 29 Feb 1916

Capt R.D. Oxland 7 Jun 1917

Capt P.C. Campbell 30 Jun 1917

Maj H.F. Glanville 12 Jul 1917

Maj C.A. Ridley MC DFC 19 Mar 1918

Capt H.S. Paynter 8 Oct 1918

Maj W.J. Guilfoyle 1 Nov 1918

Capt J Gilmour 24 Feb 1918

Wg Cdr R.J.F. Barton OBE 1 Feb 1920

Sqn Ldr J.T. Whittaker MC 7 Mar 1922

Sqn Ldr A.W.F. Glenny MC DFC 1 Aug 1922

Sqn Ldr H.S. Powell MC 14 Sep 1923

Wg Cdr A.A. Walser MC DFC 23 Sep 1924

Sqn Ldr C.S. Wynne-Eyton DSO 23 Sep 1924

Sqn Ldr A.W. Mylne 15 Feb 1926

Sqn Ldr J.T. Whittaker MC 16 Sep 1927

Sqn Ldr A.F. Brooke 23 Feb 1928

Sqn Ldr F.W. Trott OBE MC 22 Nov 1931

Sqn Ldr F Fernihough MC 20 Mar 1932

Sqn Ldr C.J.S. Dearlove 22 Sep 1934

Flt Lt A.F. Hutton DFC 26 Jun 1936

Sqn Ldr E.L.S. Ward DFC 22 Feb 1938

Sqn Ldr G.E. Jackson DFC 7 Dec 1939

Sqn Ldr R.M. Coad AFC 14 Jan 1941

Sqn Ldr P.M. Jennings 25 Sep 1941

Sqn Ldr O.R.W. Hammerbeck 6 Mar 1942

Sqn Ldr A.S. Mann 30 Oct 1942

Sqn Ldr T.R. Pierce 5 Mar 1943

Sqn Ldr H.G.F. Larsen DFC 8 Aug 1943

Sqn Ldr E.G. Pannell 20 Feb 1945

Sqn Ldr A.E. Guymer AUS 1 May 1945

Sqn Ldr J Rhind 8 May 1945

Sqn Ldr G.T.A. Douglas DFC 1 Oct 1945

Sqn Ldr P.R.W. Wickham DSO DFC 25 May 1946

Sqn Ldr I.G. Broom DSO DFC 12 Dec 1946

Sqn Ldr R.D. Yule DSO DFC 15 Mar 1948

Sqn Ldr P.L. Arnott DFC 4 Sep 1950

Sqn Ldr J Welch DFC 7 Mar 1953

Sqn Ldr A Phillips 11 Aug 1955

Sqn Ldr D.W. Swart 22 Nov 1957

Sqn Ldr M.C.N. Smart AFC 2 Oct 1959

Sqn Ldr M.I. Stanway 2 Nov 1961

Sqn Ldr R.A. Edwards 4 Jun 1964

Sqn Ldr J.W. Canning 1 Apr 1968

Sqn Ldr K.R. Cawdron 25 Mar 1970

Sqn Ldr J.N. Puckering 7 Apr 1972

Sqn Ldr P.D. Raeburn 26 Apr 1974

Sqn Ldr R Kingston - May 1976

Sqn Ldr M.D. Pledger - Aug 1978

Sqn Ldr R.J. Sharp - Sep 1980

Sqn Ldr D.J. Baldwin - Feb 1983

Sqn Ldr M.C. Hulyer MBIM - Aug 1985

Sqn Ldr B.P. Simmonds Bsc MInst P - Apr 1986

Sqn Ldr G.R. Evans - Nov 1988

Sqn Ldr S.D. Murkin - Jul 1991

Sqn Ldr P.R. Barton - Jan 1994

28 (AC) Sqn Disbanded - Jun 1997

Reformed at RAF Benson as a Merlin Squadron - Jul 2001

Wg Cdr D.J. Stubbs - Jul 2001

Wg Cdr A.M. Turner OBE MSc BA MRAeS - Jan 2004

Wg Cdr R.K. Luck MA MCGI MRAeS RAF - Mar 2006

Wg Cdr S.A. Paterson Bsc MA RAF - Nov 2008

Wg Cdr J.L. Appleton MA RAF - Nov 2010

Wg Cdr I.J. Diggle BEng RAF - May 2013

Stood down at RAF Benson as a Merlin Squadron on 9 Jul 15 and immediately reformed as SH OCU

Wg Cdr M.D. Lock MA RAF - 9 Jul 2015

See also



  1. "XXVIII(AC) Squadron". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 16 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Jefford 1988, p. 34.
  3. "No. 28 Squadron". The Aerodrome. 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Dart, Fiona (9 July 2015). "Royal Air Force Merlin squadron handed over to the Royal Navy marking end of an era". Blackmore Vale Magazine. Retrieved 14 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • Jefford MBE, Wg Cdr C G (1988). RAF Squadrons. A comprehensive record of the movement and equipment of all RAF squadrons and their antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury: Airlife. ISBN 1-85310-053-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links