74(F) Sqn

RAF Wattisham
19 Oct 1984 - 01 Oct 1992

74(F) Sqn

For the six months following its formation at London Colney on 1 July 1917, Number 74 Squadron was a training unit flying Avro 504Ks before commencing work-up as a fighter squadron with SE5As prior to moving to France in March 1918. After a short spell with the Army of Occupation, the Squadron returned to the UK in February 1919 and disbanded the following July. The Squadron was reformed in unusual circumstances on 3 September 1935 when separate detachments from Nos 3, 23, 32, 56, 65 and 601 Squadrons en-route to Malta aboard the troopship Neuralia where combined to form No 74 Squadron. Ten months later, the unit and its Demons returned to the UK to form part of the newly created Fighter Command and re-equipped with Gauntlets. In February 1939, the Squadron began converting to Spitfires and these were used to carry out defensive patrols over southern England following the declaration of War in September and later the unit joined the air battles over Dunkirk as the British forces were forced to evacuate from France. No 74 was part of No 12 Group during the Battle of Britain and these battles extracted a heavy toll on both pilots and aircraft, and the Squadron was sent North to regroup. Shortly after moving to the Middle East in April 1942, the Squadron received Hurricanes and these were employed on shipping patrols, before the unit reverted to Spitfires 6 months later. No 74 returned home just in time to take part in the D-Day landings in June 1944, using its aircraft as fighter-bombers supporting the Allied liberation of France, Belgium and the Netherlands. May 1945 saw the arrival of jet aircraft in the shape of the Meteor F3 and these survived until 1957 when Hunters replaced them. Following a move to Coltishall, the unit began working-up on the Lightning and these classic aircraft remained with the Squadron until disbanded on 25th August 1971, by which time the Squadron was based in Tengah, Singapore, Far East Air Force. The Disbandment Parade (Reviewing Officer – Air Commander, Far East Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal Nigel Maynard) included a fly-past of four Lightnings as the General Salute was given on the arrival of the Air Commander, and a single Lightning flew over the parade at dusk as the Squadron Standard was marched off the parade ground in slow time. Other Lightning jets were drawn up on the ground forming a backcloth to the parade in which RAF Regiment men of No. 63 Squadron also took part. Eleven single-seater Lightnings were then ferried from Singapore to Cyprus, with the first pair leaving on 2nd September.

Despite many rumours, No 74 was not reformed until 1984, remarkably with Phantoms, albeit the hybrid F4J(UK), and these were amongst the last of this classic aircraft to fly in RAF service until retirement in October 1992 and the numberplate passed on to one of the Hawk training squadrons at RAF Valley.

  • 74(F) Sqn Crest

  • 74(F) Sqn Aircrew Ops Patch

  • 74(F) Sqn Montage

  • 74 Sqn Engineers Zap

  • 74 Sqn Zap

    Supplied by Chris Turner
  • 74 Sqn Groundcrew Patch from 1984

    Supplied by Daz Talbot
  • 74 Sqn Groundcrew Patch from 1987

  • The Tiger Trail Patch from 1984

  • 1991 Air Tattoo zap

    Supplied by Mark Jones
  • The Display Team Patch from 1992 - the Phinal Year!

  • Patch from the Mini Tiger Meet in 1992.

    Supplied by Chris Turner
  • Tiger Sqn

    Supplied by Chris Turner
  • Painted by Nobby Clarke on the crewroom wall at Akrotiri on 74's first APC with the F4J (The "More Holes in a Polo Tour - 1985")

    Supplied by Ian Dennington
  • 74(F) Sqn Wall Art from the Line Hut at Decimommanu, Sardinia.

    Supplied by John Lovegrove
  • ZE352 of 74(F) Sqn, flown by S/L's Griffen and Bannister and taken by F/L Mike Parkin (an ex-rigger) over the Gulf of California in summer of 1984 before the F4J's got to UK.

    Supplied by Pete Williams
  • ZE353 of 74(F) Sqn landing at Akrotiri in 1985 during the infamous first F4J APC where 74 failed to hit the banner. APC song credits to Jim Boomer who wrote "74 - they can't hit the banner" to the tune of Mull of Kintyre!

    Supplied by Pete Williams
  • ZE354 of 74(F) Sqn flying on an airborne QRA mission in Spring of 1987. (Note - no Sgt Fletchers but the big centerline tank instead)

    Supplied by Pete Williams
  • An airborne shot of the 56 / 74 Sqn Flypast over London in 1992 - notice the Snoopy in the FCP of the bottom left jet!

    Supplied by Charlie Brown
  • A newly refurbished 74 Sqn F4J at North Island Air Base, Coronado near San Diego circa 1984. Terry Adamson far left, Dixie Deane 5th from left.

    Supplied by Terry Adamson
  • 74 Sqn's APC photo from 1988.

  • ZE364 "Z" from 74 Sqn on the pan at Wattisham