No. 30 Squadron RAF

No. 30 Squadron RAF
No. 30 Squadron RAF
30 Squadron badge
Active 24 March 1915 - 1 December 1946
November 1947 - September 1967
June 1968 - present[1]
Role Air transport
Garrison/HQ RAF Brize Norton
Motto Ventre a terre
French: "All out"
Equipment C-130 Hercules
Battle honours see below
A date palm tree

No. 30 Squadron of the Royal Air Force operates the second generation C-130J Hercules from RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire. The squadron operates alongside No. 24 Squadron and No. 47 Squadron all flying the Hercules.



No 30 Squadron was formed for service in Egypt in October 1914 at Farnborough, but was not allocated the squadron number 30 until 24 March 1915. Initially a single flight of BE2s at Ismailia Airfield, it was expanded when a second flight was added at Basra in April (formally becoming part of 30 squadron in August 1915). The squadron relocated to Iraq at the beginning of 1916 and in April carried out one of the earliest air supply mission when it air-dropped food and other supplies to the garrison at Kut-el-Amara which was being besieged by the Turks. It carried bombing and reconnaissance missions until the end of the war with a variety of aircraft including SPADs, DH-4s and RE.8s.

After the war the RAF had a policing role in Iraq, for which it was re-equipped with DH.9As but by 1929 these in turn had been replaced by Westland Wapitis followed by Hardy's in 1935 and Blenheim Is in 1938.

In August 1939, the squadron moved back to Egypt and carried out escort missions in the Western Desert and provided fighter defence of Alexandria. In November 1940, it was sent to Greece to operate its Blenheims in both the bomber and fighter roles, but in March 1941 the squadron was redesignated a fighter unit. After the fall of Greece and the Battle of Crete the squadron returned to Egypt and was re-equipped with Hurricanes and employed on night defence of Alexandria and then moved on to operations in the Western Desert.

When the situation in the Far East worsened the squadron was transferred to Colombo Racecourse Airstrip in Ceylon arriving on 6 March 1942, just in time to assist in resisting the Japanese carrier strike against the island in early April.

In February 1944 it moved to the Burma front flying escort and ground attack missions and in May 1944 was re-equipped with American Republic P-47 Thunderbolts, which it took back into action in October until May 1945. After the Japanese surrender the squadron remained in India and its Thunderbolts were replaced by Hawker Tempest F Mk 2s in March 1946. It was disbanded on 1 Dec 1946.

On 24 November 1947 the squadron was reformed at RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire in the transport role and remains so to the present day, flying a succession of aircraft from Dakotas to Vickers Valettas to Blackburn Beverleys. It temporarily disbanded in September 1967 but soon reformed at RAF Lyneham equipped with Lockheed Hercules transports.


The RAF transport fleet is in a period of flux and the Hercules C4/C5 fleet is a major part of this. The RAF ordered 25 of the aircraft with first deliveries in 1999. The first generation Hercules C1/C3 fleet is due to be replaced by 25 Airbus A400Ms at which time RAF Lyneham will close. This will see RAF's transport aircraft concentrated at RAF Brize Norton with the C-17 and tanker fleets.

Aircraft operated

Battle honours

On the squadron standard

Egypt, 1915: Mesopotamia, 1915-1918: Egypt & Libya, 1940-1942: Greece 1940-1941, Mediterranean, 1940–1941, Ceylon April, 1942: Arakan, 1944: Burma 1944-1945


Iraq, 1919-1920: North West Persia, 1920: Kurdistan, 1922-1924: Iraq, 1923-1925: Iraq, 1928-1929: Kurdistan, 1930-1931: Northern Kurdistan, 1932: Gulf, 1991


Memorial to members of 30 and 33 Squadrons RAF killed in battle of Crete

There is an Royal Air Force (RAF) memorial in Crete to the airmen of 30 and 33 Squadrons who died during the Battle of Crete. The memorial is located (35°31′31″N 23°49′43″E / 35.525363°N 23.828619°E / 35.525363; 23.828619) behind the roadside hedge between Maleme and Tavronitis overlooking the (35°31′36″N 23°49′32″E / 35.526625°N 23.825604°E / 35.526625; 23.825604[2]) Iron Bridge across the Tavronitis River and the end of Maleme Airport runway.


  • Hamlin, John F. Flatout - The Story of 30 Squadron Royal Air Force. Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 2002. ISBN 0-85130-308-0.
  • de Normann, Roderick. "Mespot Squadron: No 30 Squadron in Mespotamia 1916-1917". Air Enthusiast, No. 66, November - December 1996. Stamford, Lincs, UK: Key Publishing. ISSN 0143 5450.
  • "Sqn Histories 26-30". Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation. 

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