23(F) Sqn (Falkland Isles)

RAF Stanley
30 Mar 1983 - 21 Apr 1986

RAF Mount Pleasant
21 Apr 1986 - 31 Oct 1988

23(F) Sqn

No. 23 Squadron formed at Fort Grange, Gosport on 1 Sep 1915 under the command of one of the RAF's most experienced operational pilots - Captain Louis Strange. After a brief period attempting to counter German airship flights over London, the Squadron moved to France with its FE2Bs initially employed on escort duties. By early 1917, Spad single-seaters had arrived, and were being used on offensive patrols. By the end of the War, the Squadron had converted to Dolphins, and flew these until disbanded at the end of 1919.

On 1 July 1925, No. 23 Squadron reformed at Henlow with Snipes, but these were replaced shortly after with Gloster Gamecocks. In 1931, the Squadron was tasked with carrying out trials on the new Hawker Hart two-seaters, taking the production version, known as Demons, on strength in 1933. It wasn't until late 1938 that the squadron received its first monoplanes in the form of Blenheims, and these were used as night-fighters in the early days of World War II whilst based at Wittering. In 1941, Havocs replaced the Blenheims, and these were used with great success in the intruder role, until themselves replaced by the Mosquito in mid-1942. At the end of the year, the squadron moved to Malta in support of allied operations in the Mediterranean before returning to the UK in 1944.

In September 1945, the Squadron had disbanded, reforming a year later at Wittering with Mosquito night-fighters. By late 1953, Venom night fighters had joined the Squadron, before Javelin all-weather supersonic fighters replaced these in 1957. In 1964, the Lightning replaced the Javelin, and it was with this classic aircraft that the squadron continued until Phantoms were received in late 1975, this coinciding with a moved to Wattisham in Suffolk. After the Falklands War in 1982, the Squadron occupied Port Stanley airfield until reduced to a Flight of four aircraft in 1988, reforming at Leeming with Tornado F3s. Defence cuts following the end of the Cold War saw the unit disbanded in March 1994. No. 23 Squadron was again reformed, this time as part of the Waddington AEW Wing in 1996, sharing not only the aircraft with the already established No. 8 Squadron, but operational duties in Europe and the Gulf.

The Squadron was officially disbanded on 2 Oct 2009.

  • 23(F) Sqn Crest

  • 23(F) Sqn Aircrew Ops Patch

  • 23(F) Sqn Montage

  • 23(F) Sqn Eagle Zap

  • 23(F) Sqn Falkland Islands Air Defence Patch.

  • 23(F) Sqn FI QRA Zap

  • An older version of the FIAD patch without Sqn number.

  • Wall art from the Tomb Tea Room.

  • An early shot of 23 at Stanley in 1983, still up on the middle pan. The Boss was Wg Cdr Langham (TLC).

    Supplied by John Lovegrove
  • An image from WimpDet from the summer of 1985.

    Supplied by Mark Lamont
  • 23 Sqn on a rainy day in 1986.
    (I don't have any info on this picture so if someone recognises it, please get in touch!)

  • A shot of 23 having moved to MPA with Sgn Ldr Merv Payne in charge. I spy a few rogues among the echelons.... .

    Supplied by Chris Bull
  • Oh what fun! Anyone remember pushing jets back at Stanley? Especially when it was icy? and having to put that last little "jink" in at the end for the "safe heading"!

    Supplied by Zip Nolan
  • A nice low hi-speed flypast at MPA. Sqn Ldr Buncher on his last trip before coming home in Nov 1986.

    Supplied by Guy Court
  • Desperation - XV466 taken in August 1990 in a housey at MPA after a bit of a birdstrike on the radome. Click on the pic to bring up more images.

    Supplied by Pete Atkin
  • A snowy scene on Wimp Det around 1983.

    Supplied by John Lovegrove
  • XV495 / C revving up for take off in May 1986

    Supplied by Steve Allan
  • A picture taken from the chase aircraft of a missile firing from 23's MPC in the Falklands in Oct/Nov 1983.

    Supplied by Michael Adams