No. 214 Squadron R.A.F.
|Description of the Squadron's Badge||A nightjar volant affrontée. The nightjar was chosen because it is a bird which is active at night and is indicative of the role of the squadron|
|Squadron's Motto:||"Ultor in umbris" ("Avenging in the shadows")|
This squadron was originally formed at Coudekerque, near Dunkirk, on 28th July 1917, as No. 7A Squadron, RNAS, and from the outset its role was heavy night bombing. On 9th December 1917, it became No. 14 Squadron; RNAS, and on 1st April 1918, the day the Royal Air Force was formed, 200 was added to its number and it became No. 214 Squadron, RAF. Flying Handley Page twin-engined bombers from coastal airfields in France, the squadron was mainly employed on night attacks against naval and army targets in Belgium, but also bombed targets in France. At first it operated under the Dunkirk Naval Command, then from March to June in the 7th Brigade under the control of the Army, and finally, from 4th June to the Armistice in the 82nd Wing, again under the Naval Command. In April and May 1918, it co-operated in the Naval blocking operations at Zeebrugge and Ostend. Another highlight of its wartime career was the night of 24/25th July 1918, when it dropped the RAF's first 1,650-lb. bomb on the enemy.1 Posted to Egypt in 1919, No. 214 disbanded the following year and next appeared in 1935 at Boscombe Down, again as a bomber squadron. For the greater part of the Second World War the squadron served in No. 3 Group and during that time flew many missions against naval and industrial targets in Fortress Europe and played an active part in Gardening or minelaying operations. Beginning operations with Wellingtons in June 1940, it was given Stirlings in the early part of 1942 and continued with these until January 1944, when its tour of duty with No. 3 Group ended.2 Transferred to No.100 (Bomber Support) Group, it was subsequently re-equipped with American Flying Fortress aircraft and employed until May 1945, on radio counter-measures, i.e. the detection and jamming of enemy radio and radar equipment. 1 The aircraft that dropped the big bomb was an HP 0/400 piloted by Sergeant LA Dell and the target attacked was Middelkerque. The following account of the effect of the raid has been extracted from the records of the 5th Group, Dover Patrol: ". ..[The bomb] functioned successfully and all the lights in the town immediately went out and AA fire (which had been intense) stopped and was not renewed although a subsequent photograph showed that the bomb had dropped in a field about half a mile east of the town. The crater caused by the bomb had a diameter of over 50 feet and the spread of earth displaced covered an area over 100 yards in diameter." 2 It was during its tour with No.3 Group - in September 1941 - that the squadron was honoured by being adopted by the British Malayan Federation and had "Federated Malay States" officially incorporated in its title. On 27 July 1945, the squadron disbanded. On the same day, No.614 Squadron, a Liberator unit at Amendola Italy, was renumbered 37 Squadron and moved to Palestine in August where it began to convert to Lancasters before being renumbered 37 Squadron on 15 April 1946. On 4 November 1946, No.214 reformed at Upwood as part of post war bomber command and re-equipped with Lincolns in February 1950. A detachment of these was based in Kenya during the Mau-Mau uprising and the squadron disbanded again on 30 December 1954. On 15 June 1955, it was reformed at Laarbruch with Canberras for photographic reconnaissance duties but was renumbered 80 Squadron on 1 August 1955. On 21 January 1956, No.214 reformed at Marham to be a Valiant squadron of the V-bomber force and in September 1956 was detached to Malta for attacks on Egyptian airfields during the Suez campaign. In April 1962, it became a tanker squadron and was disbanded on 28 February 1965, with the grounding of the Valiant force. On 21 July 1966, the squadron reformed at Marham with Victor tankers which were used for refuelling both fighters and bombers during long-range moves and in maintaining fighter patrols beyond their normal range. It disbanded on 28 January 1977