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19 Squadron

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19 squadronMotto: Possunt quia posse videntur - 'They can because they think they can'.

No. 19 Squadron was formed from a nucleus provided by No. 5 Reserve Squadron at Castle Bromwich on 1 September 1915. It was almost a year later that the Squadron went to France, flying contact patrols with BE12s before re-equipping with French-built Spads. These were used to strafe ground troops during the battles at Arras, Messines Ridge and Ypres. Early in 1918, Sopwith Dolphins arrived and these were used in bomber escort duties.

A year after the end of the War, the Squadron was disbanded reforming on 1 April 1924 at Duxford. The Squadron remained at Duxford throughout the inter-war years with a succession of fighters: Siskins, Bulldogs and Gauntlets before the classic Spitfire arrived in August 1938. The Squadron remained in the UK after the outbreak of war, and was part of No. 12 Group, Fighter Command, during the Battle of Britain. Later versions of Spitfires were flown until the arrival of Mustangs for close-support duties in early 1944. After D-Day, No. 19 briefly went across the Channel before starting long-range escort duties with Coastal Command off the coast of Norway. In March 1946, Spitfires replaced the Mustangs, but the association was short-lived as Hornets began to arrive later that year. It wasn't until 1951 that the Squadron received its first jet aircraft, the Meteor. Hunters replaced these in 1956, before Lightnings arrived in late 1962 and the Squadron moved to Gutersloh, Germany. By 1977, the Lightnings had been traded in for Phantoms, and the Squadron moved to Wildenrath where it remained until the station closed, and the Squadron disbanded in January 1992. The numberplate was then assigned to one of the three Hawk squadrons at RAF Valley; No. 63 (Reserve) Squadron becoming No. 19 (Reserve) Squadron in September 1992.

Disbandment: As a consequence of the UK's Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2010, the Air Force Board decided in 2011 that 19 Squadron's training role with the Hawk T2 at RAF Valley should be transferred to a resurrected 4(R) Squadron. 19 Squadron, one of the last surviving Battle of Britain Squadrons, disbanded on 24 November 2011, 96 years after it was first formed.

The disbandment event, held at RAF Valley, was led by the Wg Cdr Kevin Marsh, the last Commanding Officer of 19 Squadron. In attendance were the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton KCB ADC BSc FRAeS CCMI RAF, former Air Chief Marshal Sir William Wratten, GBE, CB, AFC and Flt Lt Ken Wilkinson AE who flew Spitfires in the Battle of Britain on 19 Squadron.


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