SWEEPING THE SKY

Andrew Thomas examines the history of 40 Squadron – one of the most successful units during World War One

Hawker Hinds of 40 Squadron run up their engines at Tangmere before conducting bombing trials targeting the old battleship HMS ‘Centurion’.

Savage defence cuts in the late 1950s meant many famous RAF units were consigned pages of history. One such example was 40 Squadron, which had a most distinguished career through both world wars.The squadron first formed within the Royal Flying Corps at Gosport, Hampshire on February 26, 1916. Under Maj Robert Loraine it was equipped with F.E.8 ‘pusher’ scouts and moved to Treizennes, Belgium, as part of the 10th Wing during late August that year. Offensive patrols over the Arras (in northern France) area of the Western Front began, with 40’s first ‘kill’ coming on September 22 when Capt Dennis Mulholland in F.E.8 6384 shot down a Fokker monoplane.

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