Those who served with 73 Squadron are welcome to submit pictures and stories.
AIR FORCE AKROTIRI
THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE SOVEREIGN BASE AREAS OF AKROTIRl AND DHEKELIA
Chief Marshal Sir DENIS H.F. BARNETT
C.B.E., D.F.C., M.A.
FRIDAY 4th SEPTEMBER, 1964
Standard for Royal Air Force Squadrons was created by His late Majesty
King George VI, on 1st April, 1943 to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of
the formation of the Royal Air Force. It is awarded only to Squadrons of
twenty-five years' standing, or with a history of special outstanding
Majesty The Queen affirmed her father's decision and has been graciously
pleased to approve the award of a Standard to No. 73 Squadron to mark the
fact that on 1st April, 1960, the Squadron had been in existence for 25
Standard consists of a fringed and tasselled silken banner mounted on a
pike crowned by a golden eagle, Eight selected battle honours in scoll
surround the Squadron Badge, and the decorative border contains the rose,
leek, thistle and shamrock beautifully embroidery.
SHORT HISTORY OF No. 73 SQUADRON
No. 73 Squadron was
formed at Upavon on 1st July 1917. Early training was carried out on Avro 504's,
RE-FORMATION AND EARLY SECOND WORLD WAR DAYS
With the ascendancy
of the Third Reich and consequent expansion of the Royal Air Force in 1937,
No. 73 Squadron was re-formed out of 'B' Flight, No. 56 Squadron at North Weald and
moved to Mildenhall by 15th March, 1937. Equipped with Hawker Fury biplane fighters the
re-juvenated 73 rapidly made itself felt as a healthy addition to Fighter
Command. After a move to Debden in June on re-equipment with Gloster
Gladiators the Squadron took part in large air exercises; in November there was a further
move to Digby where, re-equipped with the latest Hawker Hurricanes, the
Squadron became a vital addition to the defence of Britain. The failure of Munich and the subsequent
actions by Hitler brought Europe to war an 3rd September, 1939. A day later,
No. 73 Squadron, forming part of the Advance Air Striking Force (A.A.S.F.),
moved to France.
En route to Alexandria aboard the cruiser H.M.S. 'Manchester' the Squadron airmen found themselves in the midst of a major naval engagement - Cape Matapan. This was no grandstand view. The airmen were employed in shuttling shells to the cruiser's hungry guns and it is reported that they comported themselves with courage in an alien element. The Italian Air Force first met No. 73 on 3rd January, 1941, when Sgt. Marshall shot down three SM 79 bombers of the Regia Aeronautica. Very soon, however, the Squadron's old adversary, the Luftwaffe, joined the Desert war and for many months 73 found themselves hard pressed against a formidable opponent. Twice the Squadron narrowly avoided capture in the Tobruk pocket, on one occasion actually watching the approach of Rommel's tanks. During this time the airmen on the Squadron found a dump of serviceable Italian motor-cycles and for a while the whole Squadron was mobile! In May 1941, six of the Squadron's Hurricanes flew to Crete to assist in the desperate fight for that Island. On their return to base in Egypt, astonished ground crews saw two pilots climbing out of one Hurricane! The pilot of the aircraft had flown from Crete sitting on the knees of another whose aircraft was destroyed. Among the colourful personalities on the Squadron at this time were Lt. Littolf, a Free French 'ace' who destroyed 14 enemy aircraft, and the C.0. of the Squadron, Sqn. Ldr. WykehamBarnes (now Air Marshal P. Wykeham, C.B., D.S.O., O.B.E., D.F.C, A.F.C.). There was also Sqn. Ldr. 'Monty' Ellis D.F.M., who early one morning shot down 3 JO 88's then returned to base to join the queue for an early but meagre breakfast. The advance of the Eighth Army through North Africa saw 73 well up with the front line, ground straffing and giving Montgomery's troops every assistance. In December, 1942 the Squadron recorded their 300th victory when F.S. Beard shot down a JO 88 over the sea of Benghazi. The defeat of Rommel's Afrika Corps sounded the death knell for Hitler's ambitions in Egypt. No. 73 Squadron moved across the Mediterranean to the toe of Italy - now equipped with Spitfires.
THE BALKAN WAR
After a short period of shipping patrols the Squadron were soon back on offensive sweeps, most of these being carried out against the enemy occupied islands off the Dalmatian coast. On 4th June, 1944, the Balkan Air Force was formed and No. 73 was transferred to that Command. With the B.A. F. their task was ground straffing and although highly successful the work proved extremely hazardous. In the first 14 days 50 locomotives were destroyed and 8 damaged. It was during this period that a section of Spitfires led by Fg. Off. Martin D.F.C., destroyed 29 locomotives during one sortie. Then came Greece - in December, 1944 No. 73 moved to Hassani where, once again, the Squadron was employed on ground attack work. The score in M.T. destroyed during the brief campaign exceeded 100. Taking off from their airfield with ground targets but a few hundred yards from the end of the runway, the Spitfires could be seen firing their cannons and machine guns into the enemy. It must have been gratifying for the overworked groundcrews to see, for the first time, 'their' ammunition being poured into enemy positions. The Greek Campaign finished, No. 73 returned to Italy and began offensive sweeps over Jugoslavia. The Squadron moved to Jugoslavia itself in April, 1945 where good results were obtained from operations. The partisans for whom the Squadron were fighting were sullen and reluctant to co-operate; the general impression was that the influx of red starred personnel into the Tito Army had begun. The Squadron was glad to leave Jugoslavia at the cessation of hostilities in Europe. A week after V.E. Day the Squadron was informed that it was to proceed to Brindisi for disbandment. Disbandment! How was it that Fighter Commands' top-scoring Squadron with 321 victories, famous in two World Wars, could be allowed to die? Fortunately this was not to be, and the Squadron eventually proceeded to Halfar, Malta where it remained until August, 1946. It then moved to Ta Kali and by this time was re-equipped with Spitfire F22's.
By 1949 Vampire jet fighters were being used and the Squadron took part in many flying displays, their aerobatic teams being a common sight over Malta. In September an amusing incident occurred after a serious crash in Italy. One of the Squadron pilot's was told by the C.A.S. Italian Air Force, "Now young man, you must go to St. Peter's and burn some candles". Although C. of E, the lucky pilot got the message. .The highlight of 1950 was a visit by Her Royal Highness, Princess Elizabeth. The Squadron naturally was on its best behaviour and after an inspection of personnel and aircraft, the Princess was treated to a display by the Squadron aerobatic team.
mid-fifties and early sixties saw many significant changes to 73
Squadron. After a period at Habbaniya, Iraq, the Squadron moved to
Nicosia, Cyprus in 1955 then two years later it settled at its present
base Akrotiri. Coincident with these deployments came aircraft
re-equipments, Firstly, the Venom F.B. and finally the biggest
innovation with the arrival of Canberra B. 2's from WestonZoyland,
where crews had been undergoing conversion to the new type. In 1962 the
Squadron returned to its regular trade of 'ground attack' with the
introduction of Canberra B. 15 which it flies today.
under the Command of Sqn. Ldr. H.D. Seymour, the Squadron serves on,
confident of its power and mindful of its traditions as an integral
part of the Akrotiri Strike Wing.
No. 73 SQUADRON
Captain B.P.T. HORSLEY, C.B.E., M.V.O., A.F.C.
Parade Commander and Officer Commanding Flying Wing
Commander A. VEALE
Officer Commanding No. 73 Squadron
Squadron Leader RD. SEYMOUR
Officer M.L BANKS
Officer Commanding No.1 Flight
Lieutenant A.S. LITTLE
Officer Commanding No.2 Flight
Lieutenant A.V. EWENS
Squadron - Officer Commanding - Squadron Leader C.F. PICKARD
Officer A.J.F. HUNT
Warrant Officer F.E. PEACOCK
The Consecration Service will be conducted by Chaplain-in-Chief
The Venerable F.W. COCKS, CB., Q.H.A, M.A.
REGIONAL BAND - ROYAL AIR FORCE
Leader V.H. HUTCHINSON, LAR.M., A.R.C.M.
Parade is to be formed up on the Reviewing Base with No. 73 Squadron in
line of Flights, supported by Nos. 6, 13 and 29 Squadrons.
of the Reviewing Officer
the approach of the Administrator of the Sovereign Base Areas of
Akrotiri and Dhekelia the Band will sound the Alert and Still.
(Spectators should stand on the approach of the Reviewing Officer.
Officers in uniform should salute as he passes).
the Administrator arrives at the Saluting Base he will be received with
a Royal Salute.
ROYAL AIR FORCE ROYAL SALUTE
should remain standing but do not salute or uncover)
of No. 73 Squadron will follow.
should be seated)
of the Standard
Standard will be uncased and draped on Piled Drums.
COMMANDER: Venerable Sir, on behalf of No. 73 Squadron we ask you to
We are ready to do so.
Who hath made heaven and earth.
CHAPLAIN-IN-CHIEF: The Lord be with you.
And with Thy spirit.
is called to attention)
To the Glory of God and as a symbol of our duty to Him and of our
service to our
Remember always that this Standard which we have here dedicated to God
represents unto us our bounden duty to our Queen and Country which is to
serve her, her realm and our fellow citizens to the utmost of our power,
to maintain as much as in us lies the gift of honour and the sanctity of
man's plighted word, to protect all those who pass to and fro upon their
lawful occasions, to preserve order and good government after the
example of our comrades who counted not their lives dear to themselves
so that others might live in peace.
Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done, on earth
0 God, the protector of all that trust in Thee, without whom nothing is
Save the Queen.
God be with you.
Go forth into the world in peace: Be of good courage: Hold fast that
which is good: Render to no man evil for evil: Strengthen the
fainthearted: Honour all men: Love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the
power of the Holy Spirit.
the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,
should be seated)
Administrator will present the Standard to No. 73 Squadron and will
address the parade. After the reply by the Squadron Commander the
Standard will be marched in slow time to the Squadron and will be
received with a Royal Salute. (Spectators should stand at the
Presentation. of the Standard and remain standing as it is marched to
be played and a formation of Canberra Aircraft of No. 249 Squadron and
Squadron will march past in close column by Flights and as a Squadron.
(Spectators should stand and salute or uncover individually as the
Advance in Review Order
73 Squadron having reformed on the Receiving Base the Parade will
advance in Review
should not join in the cheers for Her Majesty.)
should stand and salute or uncover.) Following a second Royal Salute The
Administrator will leave the Saluting Base. (Spectators still standing)
Parade Commander will order the march-off of the Queen's Colour.
Squadron Standards will then be marched-off. (Spectators should stand
and salute or uncover as the Queen's Colour and Squadron Standard's
march-off independently No. 73 Squadron leading.
are requested to remain seated until the Squadrons march-off the Parade
Le Blanc-Smith's Camel F. L
early Squadron Badge on fuselage)
ranks at time of appointment)
RF.A. GORDAN....... 5th
T. O'B. HUBBARD... 13th
R.H.FREEMAN....... 3rd July,
G.R. ELLIOT... lst August,
M. LEBLANC-SMITH, D.F.C. 8th
Leader E.S. FINCH... 19th
Leader B.W. KNOX.... lst
Leader J.W. MORE, D.F.C... 16th
Leader M.W.S. ROBINSON.. . . . . .6th September, 1940
Leader P. WYKEHAM-BARNES, D.S.O. D.F.C. .20th April, 1941
Squadron Leader D.H. WARD, D.F.C lst October, 1941
Leader G.R. JOHNSTONE, D.F.C.. .18th
Leader J.B. SELBY, D.S.O., D.F.C.... lst October, 1942
Leader R.V. ELLIS, D.F.M...........
.17th February, 1943
Leader E.L. JOYCE, D.F.M ..12th
Leader J.H. CHASE......... 20th
D.W. GOLDING, D.F.C. S.A.A.F. 6th
Leader J.N. ASHTON, D.F.C.. . . . 15th February, 1945
Leader A.V. SMITH, D.F.C...... lst
Leader J.A. JACKSON, D.F.C.............
16th February, 1947
Leader I.G. POTTS...............................
6th May, 1948
Leader R.W. OXSPRING, D.F.C. A.F.C..... .12th January, 1949
Leader C.H. SAUNDERS, D.F.C................
9th November, 1949
Leader M.C.S. SHEPERD.. .20th
Leader P.H.P. ROBERTS........ lst
Leader J.F. MANNING, A.F.C... . . . .lst February, 1955
Leader M.F. ALDERSMITH..... 23rd
Leader C.H. FOALE.... lst
Leader H.D. SEYMOUR...... lst
OF THE TALBOT HOUND AS No. 73's BADGE
Squadron was formed in Mid-1917 and crossed to France in January, 1918.
When the Squadron was re-formed in 1937, the old Badge was completely unsuitable as by now the Royal Air Force had adopted a Standard Crest. Discussion among the Squadron at this time resulted in the present Crest which shows a 'Mastiff Rampant' - a heraldic Talbot in blue. The Canadians of World War 1 are now remembered by a gold Maple Leaf. A modification of this badge surmounted on the Squadron's blue/yellow flash is carried on the Canberras which the Squadron fly today.
motto of No. 73 - Tutor et Ultor - is fitting as translated from the
Latin reads "Protector and Avenger"
|Pictures of 73 Sqn||Check Ray Walkers Entry|