#1182 Tornado GR4A
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Squadron Prints Lithograph No. 1182 - Tornado GR4A, ZA398, II(AC) Squadron, RAF Marham, 100th Anniversary No II(AC) Squadron was formed at Farnborough on 13 May 1912 with BE prototypes as one of the squadrons of the Royal Flying Corps. After training on a number of types it moved to France in August 1914 as part of the British Expeditionary Force and later standardised on BE2s. Flying from many locations in France during WW1, the Squadron provided vital reconnaissance information needed by the ground troops. On 26 April 1915, 2Lt Rhodes-Moorhouse was wounded and subsequently awarded a VC, the first of the war for the RFC. In March 1918 the Squadron’s second VC was awarded to a Canadian, 2Lt MacLeod. It was here that a black triangle. later changed to white, was adopted as a marking to prevent friendly fire incidents. The Squadron re-equipped with FK 8s in April 1917, returned to the UK in February 1919 and disbanded on 20 January 1920. It reformed on 1 February 1920 for Army Cooperation duties in Ireland but returned to Digby in 1922 and operated from bases in England until April 1927 when it left for Shanghai in China. The Squadron returned to Manston in October and later moved to Hawkinge in late 1935. During this period it operated Bristol F2b Fighters, Atlas, Audax, Hector and eventually Lysander aircraft, which were used to insert troops into enemy territory in WW2. In August 1941 the Squadron took on the Tomahawk, and in April 1942, the Mustang. After D-Day, II(AC) Squadron moved to France and advanced with the Army into the Netherlands where it received Spitfire XIVs in November 1944. After the War, the Squadron remained in Europe as a fighter-reconnaissance unit, part of the Second Allied Tactical Air Force. From December 1950, Meteor FR9s replaced the Spitfires, later supplemented by PR10s in March 1951. In March 1956, the Squadron received Swift FR5s until Hunter FR10s replaced them in March 1961. Conversion to Phantom FGR2s took place at Brüggen in December 1970 and the Squadron moved to Laarbruch on 1 April 1971 to be re-equipped with Jaguar GR1s in April 1976. The Tornado GR1A, the reconnaissance variant of the aircraft, replaced the Jaguar in January 1989. Following lraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, 6 aircraft of II(AC) Squadron deployed to Dharan. Saudi Arabia, in January 1991 as part of a joint reconnaissance unit with 13 Squadron, where they completed 128 night low-level Scud-hunting missions. On 1 December 1991 the Squadron relocated to its present home of RAF Marham, continuing to deploy on operations over lraq, and in 1999 dropped its first wartime bomb since WW2. In 2001, II(AC) Squadron led into service the Tornado GR4/4A and the Goodrich RAPTOR reconnaissance pod. The Squadron’s involvement with Operation TELIC began during the conflict with lraq in 2003, and support missions continued until the withdrawal of all UK Forces during the summer of 2009. In 2010, II(AC) Squadron took over the close air support and reconnaissance role for Operation HERRICK in Afghanistan operating Tornado GR4s for four months from Kandahar Airfield. 2011 saw II(AC) Squadron deploy at very short notice to Gioia del Colle, Southern Italy as part of Operation ELLAMY, the UK contribution to NATO’s Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR. The Squadron was tasked to patrol the skies over Libya for almost five months, flying nearly 900 combat sorties, amassing over 4600 flying hours and successfully engaging around 700 targets. For leading II(AC) Squadron’s protection of Libyan civilians from attack, Wg Cdr Tucker-Lowe was awarded the DSO. In 2012, the squadron celebrates its 100th Anniversary, the first fixed-wing squadron in the world to do so, thereby upholding its unofficial but appropriate motto of ‘Second to None’.