No.50 Squadron was a squadron of the Royal Air Force. It was formed during the First World War as a home defence squadron, and operated as a bomber squadron during the Second World War. It disbanded for the last time in 1984, no.50 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps founded at Dover on 15 May 1916. It was equipped with a mixture of aircraft, including Royal Aircraft Factory B. E. 2s and Royal Aircraft Factory B. E. 12s in the defence role. It flew its first combat mission in August 1916, when its aircraft helped to repel a German Zeppelin, on 7 July 1917 a 50 Squadron Armstrong Whitworth F. K.8 shot down a German Gotha bomber off the North Foreland of Kent. In February 1918, it discarded its miscellany of aircraft to standardise on the more capable Sopwith Camel fighter, by October 1918, it was operating its Camels as night fighters. It was during this period that the squadron started using the running dogs device on squadron aircraft, the device arose from the radio call sign Dingo that the squadron was allocated as part of the Home Defence network. It disbanded on 13 June 1919, the last CO of the squadron before it disbanded was Major Arthur Harris later to become Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of RAF Bomber Command during the Second World War. No.50 Squadron reformed at RAF Waddington on 3 May 1937 and it started to convert to the Handley Page Hampden monoplane medium bomber in December 1938, discarding its last Hinds in January 1939. It was still equipped with Hampdens when the Second World War broke out, forming part of 5 Group and it flew its first bombing raid on 19 March 1940 against the seaplane base at Hörnum on the island of Sylt. After these losses, daylight attacks with Hampdens were abandoned,50 Squadron continued operations by night, taking part in the RAFs strategic bombing offensive against the Germans through the remainder of 1940 and 1941. It re-equipped with Avro Manchesters from April 1942, the Manchester was disappointing, however, with unreliable engines and had a lower ceiling than the Hampden it replaced. Despite these problems,50 Squadron continued in operations, contributing 17 Manchesters to Operation Milliennium the 1,000 aircraft raid against Cologne on 30/31 May 1942, the squadron flew 7,135 sorties during the war with a loss of 176 aircraft. It replaced its Lancasters with Avro Lincolns in 1946, disbanding at Waddington on 31 January 1951, no 50 Squadron re-formed at RAF Binbrook on 15 August 1952, equipped with the English Electric Canberra light jet bomber. It moved to RAF Upwood in January 1956, disbanding on 1 October 1959, the squadron reformed again at RAF Waddington on 1 August 1962 equipped with the Avro Vulcan V bomber, using ex-617 Squadron aircraft made surplus after 617 Squadron re-equipped with Vulcan B. 2s. No.50 Squadron was selected as the operator of the tankers, the Aeroplanes of the Royal Flying Corps. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force, jefford MBE, Wg Cdr C G. RAF Squadrons. A comprehensive record of the movement and equipment of all RAF squadrons, Squadron Histories, R. F. C, R. N. A. S and R. A. F
Photograph showing the destruction at Vallø after RAFs last major strategic raid
Avro Vulcan B.2 of No. 50 Squadron at RAF Mildenhall in 1976.