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Thread: Squadron Designators

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    Default Squadron Designators

    Good Evening all,

    An interesting question arose at work today. It is one of those that sounds plausible but on the other hand maybe it is too convenient.

    No x(F) fighter squadron, where does the (F) come from?

    I thought that this was just a type designator, i.e if you are a fighter squadron you are an (F), bomber is (B), etc.

    Today I have been told that the (F) is only applied to Squadrons that have the Battle of Britain as one of the honours on their Squadron standard.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

    Thanks

    Jim

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    Hi Jim
    I don't know if this is the complete answer but look at http://www.griffon.clara.net/rafh/sqns.htm which seems to be an attempt to produce an archive of RAF Unit Badges by people connected to the College of Heralds, which body would have drawn up the originals for approval when the Badge was first created. The link is to the Squadrons section and you will see that Fighter, Bomber, GR etc may not always appear in the written designator but is frequently put on the blue circle that surrounds the Sqn emblem.The practice seems to go right back to the origins of RFC/RAF Badges
    Regards
    Dick

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    Reference to RFC in this context is somewhat misleading. The first officially approved RAF unit badges were not granted until May 1936.

    Under the 'Squadrons' section of the Feb 1928 Air Force List squadrons are headed as "No.1 (Fighter) Squadron", and so on. Units with listings of officers posted to same were first published in the AFL in 1920. The format may date back to that time.

    Errol

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    The (F) stands for Fighter. In the case of 41 Squadron, they were 41 (F) Squadron for most of their existence but changed to 41 (R) Squadron - R for Reserve - when they took over the badge of the Fast Jet and Weapons Operational Evaluation Unit (FJWOEU) on 1 April 2006. They are currently still operating as 41 (R) Squadron, although they have BoB Honours, and there was even some consternation last year when there was discussion around an Association being formed called "41 (F) Squadron Association", which many felt would stop anyone from the current 41 (R) Squadron participating, or fail to attract ex-41 Squadron pilots and ground crew who had been around during any of 41's non-fighter entities since 1945 such as when they were an Instrument Flying Training Squadron in the late 1940s and a Ground-to-Air missile unit in the early 1970s.

    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Some interesting thoughts there. Errol, if I may ask, is it always referred to as Fighter or does it ever appear as just F? Steve, just out of interest, do you have an affiliation to 41 for some reason?

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    Hi,

    I wonder if there has been some confusion with the F which appears after some Air Training Corps squadrons. My understanding is that the first fifty squadrons to form were granted the privilege of having F after their number signifying Founder squadron.

    Dave M

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    Jim,

    Same format still appears in the Mar 1938 AFL.

    By the Jun 1939 AFL postings of officers to units no longer appear. The squadrons listed simply as:

    No.1 Squadron
    No.2 Squadron
    etc
    (i.e. sans any reference to role)

    Harking back to the Jun 1939 edition, FAA units are also listed, as some RAF officers were posted to them. These appear in similar format to the 'Fighter' ones, e.g. "No.810 (Torpedo Spotter-Reconnaissance) Squadron".

    Errol

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    Hi Jim

    In reply to your query, my grandfather's brother flew with 41 Squadron in 1941, and I am compiling a history of the Squadron between 1916 and 1946. I am involved / working with today's 41 Squadron in an informal Squadron Historian role, and have been allowed access to their own records.

    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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