No. 2 Squadron RAF

No. II (AC) Squadron
Active 13 May 1912 (RFC)
Role Reconnaissance
Garrison/HQ RAF Lossiemouth[1]
Motto(s) "Hereward" (Guardian of the Army)
Equipment Eurofighter Typhoon[1]
Battle honours Western Front 1914–1918,
Neuve Chappelle,
Ypres 1915,
Somme 1916,
France and Low Countries 1939–1940,
Normandy 1944,
Gulf 1991,
Iraq 2003[2]
Commanding Officer Wing Commander Roger Elliott[1]
Jock Stirrup
Squadron badge heraldry The RAF roundel (three concentric circles) over all a Wake knot
Post 1950 squadron roundel

Not to be confused with No. 2 Squadron RAF Regiment

No. 2 Squadron, also known as No. II (AC) Squadron, is a squadron of the Royal Air Force. It is currently equipped with the Eurofighter Typhoon.

No. 2 Squadron's traditional Army Co-Operation role is reflected in the "AC" of its title, its motto Hereward (Guardian of the Army), and the symbol of a Wake knot on its crest. Its unofficial nickname is "Shiny Two".


Foundation until WWI Armistice

No. 2 Squadron was formed at Farnborough, Hampshire on 13 May 1912, on the founding of the Royal Flying Corps as one of the first three squadrons of the new force. It was formed from a detachment of No. 2 (Aeroplane) Company of the Royal Engineers Air Battalion. Both 2 Squadron and 3 Squadron were equipped with fixed wing aeroplanes, while 1 Squadron was equipped with airships. The squadron's first commander was Major C J Burke.[3][4] The squadron was equipped with a mixture of aircraft types, including the prototype Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2.[4]

From 26 February 1913 the squadron was based at Montrose, the first operational Royal Flying Corps base in the UK located just outside Montrose, Angus. This was established on the instructions of the First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill to protect the Royal Navy.[4][5] At Montrose the ghost story of Desmond Arthur spread around the flying corps.

The squadron was the first to fly the English Channel into France at the start of the First World War.[6] Starting a role which continues to this day, the squadron spent the war on reconnaissance duties in France flying, amongst other aircraft, the B.E.2.

Although its principal role was not air-to-air combat, it still had one flying ace among its ranks in Arthur William Hammond.[7] It also numbered the first aviation Victoria Cross winners in its ranks, in Second Lieutenant Rhodes-Moorhouse and Lieutenant Alan Arnett McLeod.[6]

Between the World Wars

The squadron gained the AC in its title in the inter-war years, flying Army Co-operation (AC) sorties during the troubles around the partition of Ireland in the early 1920s. After time in China during 1927 the squadron re-equipped with the Armstrong Whitworth Atlas again on Army Co-operation work.

Second World War

At the outbreak of the Second World War the unit was flying Westland Lysanders. In France until the Dunkirk evacuation, the squadron equipped with fighters – the Curtiss Tomahawk in 1940, the North American Mustang in 1942 and Supermarine Spitfire Mk 14s in 1944

In July 1944, assigned to the 2nd Tactical Air Force, II (AC) Sqn returned to France, and the reconnaissance role, with Spitfire PR Mk 11s.

Post Second World War

The squadron spent much of the Cold War in Germany as part of RAF Germany, flying various fighter types, including latterly Phantoms and then Jaguars. Elements of the squadron were deployed to the Gulf War. Along with much of the RAF, II (AC) Sqn withdrew from Germany after returning from the Gulf War – moving to RAF Marham in Norfolk with its Tornado GR1As. These were upgraded to the latest GR4 standard, with which the squadron deployed at part of Operation Telic over Iraq in 2003. The squadron has deployed on several occasions to maintain the Tornado GR4 detachment in Afghanistan, and saw action over Libya during Operation Ellamy/Operation Unified Protector. 2 Sqn. are currently operating eight aircraft from RAF Akrotiri as part of Operation Shader - The coalition strikes against the extremist group, ISIS.


In December 2013, it was announced that following the squadron's scheduled 2014 deployment to Afghanistan as part of Operation Herrick, it was to stand down on 31 March 2015 as a Tornado squadron at Marham, and reactivate the following day (1 April 2015) as a Typhoon squadron at RAF Lossiemouth.[8] However, in October 2014, Prime Minister David Cameron said that the Squadron's disbanding and reformation would be put on hold to allow the retention of Tornados supporting strikes against ISIL. As a consequence of this new plan, the new No. 2 Squadron formed at Lossiemouth on 12 January 2015, with the old No. 2 Squadron at Marham being renamed as 12 Squadron.[1][9]

Aircraft operated

2 Sqn. Mustang Is in 1942.
Swift FR5s of 2 Squadron in 1956.
No. 2 Sqn Jaguar GR.1s at RAF Wildenrath, Germany, in 1978.
Tornado GR4 in special markings for the 95th Anniversary of the squadron in 2007.


The following officers have had command of 2 Squadron:[10]


See also



  1. 1 2 3 4 "II(AC) Sqn re-role and reformation of 12(B) Sqn". Royal Air Force. 12 January 2015. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  2. "Battle and Theatre Honours". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Lords. 9 June 2005.
  3. Raleigh 1922, p. 217.
  4. 1 2 3 Heathcott 1998, p. 140.
  5. "Montrose air station, the UK's first airbase, marks centenary". BBC News. 23 February 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  6. 1 2 Retrieved 7 February 2010
  7. Retrieved 7 February 2010
  8. "New Typhoon squadron announced". GOV.UK. UK Government. 13 December 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  9. Ripley, Tim (4 December 2014). "Final UK Typhoon squadron to stand up". IHS Jane's 360. Jane's. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  10. Archived 2 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine.


  • Butcher, Percy Edwin. Skill and Devotion: A Personal Reminiscence of the Famous No. 2 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps. Hampton Hill, Middlesex, UK: Radio Modeller Book Division, 1971.
  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1918–1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Heathcott, John. "Unit Heritage: 'Second to None': 'Shiny Two', No. II (AC) Squadron, RAF". Wings of Fame. Volume 11, 1998. London: Aerospace Publishing. pp. 140–157. ISBN 1-86184-017-9. ISSN 1361-2034.
  • Jefford, Wing Commander C.G., MBE,BA,RAF (Retd). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury: Airlife Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • Onderwater, Hans. Second to None: the History of No. II (Army Co-operation) Squadron RAF, 1912–2002. second edition, Airlife Publishing, UK. ISBN 1-84037-408-X. A third, centennial edition is now researched and written by the author for publishing in May 2012.
  • Raleigh, Walter. The War in the Air: Being the Story of the part played in the Great War by The Royal Air Force: Vol I. Oxford: The Clarenden Press, 1922.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Coastal, Support and Special Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Jane's Publishing Company Ltd., 1982. ISBN 0-7106-0187-5.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1969 (new edition 1976, reprinted 1978). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.
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