The articles include subjects related to RAF Heraldry, as well as broader RAF subjects. We are keen to hear from individuals who would like to contribute to this section of the site. You might want to:
- Send some details behind one of the unit badges, or your memories of serving with a unit
- Provide photographs of unit activities (ones we can use!)
- Share some particular favourite subject or research
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List of articles
- RAF Battle Honours – what are they and how are they awarded
- 171 Squadron: Norfolk’s Secret Squadron
- 600 Squadron’s Two Badges
- 607 Squadron – No Motto!
RAF BATTLE HONOURS
The RAF Heraldry record includes Battle Honours as part of the artwork. However, you will notice a number of Squadron records in the Badges Database where it says ‘Battle Honours: No Standard’, this means that the Squadron was not awarded a Standard and thus no official place to display the Battle Honours.
Whilst individuals, and in the unique case of Malta, islands, could receive various gallantry and campaign awards, RAF squadrons were entitled to place (emblazon) appropriate ‘Battle Honours’ upon their Standards. A Squadron could be awarded the Battle Honour with or without the right to emblazon.
Before we look at these in detail it is necessary to say a few words about the Standards themselves. The system was instituted on 1st April 1943 by King George VI to mark the 25th anniversary of the Royal Air Force. The basic requirement for a squadron to receive a Standard is completion of 25-year service; however, a Standard might also be granted to a squadron which “earned the Sovereign’s appreciation for especially outstanding operations.” … CLICK on image on right for more …..
607 Squadron Badge: The Badge with no Motto ….
No.607 County of Durham (F) Squadron
Awarded: November 1936
Blazon: A winged Lion salient the hind legs also winged Argent
Link: The winged lion was used prior to the badge’s authorisation.
Motto: No Motto
The unusual part is the NO MOTTO. Dave Walmsley provides some background: The Squadron Boss, Viscount Runciman, tried to get ‘UP’ from the college of heralds as the motto. They wouldn’t sanction it and suggested ‘Upwards’. He wouldn’t accept this – hence the blank. ‘UP’ had a Sqn link because of an obscure Sqn ‘in’ joke. They had their own way in a fashion – as they painted the fighter Sqn symbol (a spearhead which should have pointed forwards) pointing UPWARDS – Info from Bob Dixons book ‘Diary of a Hurricane Pilot’ – about Flt Lt Francis BLACKADDER.
If you have any information regarding stories behind the badge please pass them on!
Norfolk’s Secret Squadron: 171 Squadron
Ken Delve looks at an unusual aspect of one of Norfolk’s wartime RAF squadrons.
Sixty years ago a quiet corner of Norfolk was home to one of the Royal Air Force’s most secret airfields. Located in the northern part of the County, North Creake airfield was constructed during 1942-1943 and opened in November of the latter year as a base for aircraft of Bomber Command. The village of North Creake was typical of many that suddenly found themselves ‘in the war’ and a typical bomber airfield with three runways and associated taxiways, dispersals and buildings sprang up over what had once been quiet farmland.
The historical records of No. 171 Squadron, include a rare survival – the correspondence between the Squadron Commander, Wing Commander M W Renaut, and J D Heaton-Armstrong, the Chester Herald with responsibility for RAF heraldry, in this case the Badges adopted by RAF units. In the case of No 171 Squadron there is a poignant twist in the tale – but more of that later. … CLICK in image for more….
600 Squadron’s Two Badges
There is an interesting story behind the badge of 600 (City of London) Squadron, RAuxAF. In complete contrast to most units, there are in fact two official badges for this squadron, both properly authorised and registered by Chester Herald and signed by the King. One is much used, the other ignored. How could this have come about?
Soon after the squadron was formed in 1925, it created a badge, appropriately based on the City of London’s Cross of St George. This appeared on their silver and trophies, aircraft, writing paper etc. and even on a silk Standard long before official squadron Standards were introduced (after the War). When, years later, squadron badges were being introduced into the RAF, 600 asked the College of Arms to approve the ‘City’ badge and incorporate it into the the standard squadron wreath and crown with an appropriate motto. The College refused, partly because of the heraldic incorrectness of putting anything (in this case the RAF eagle) above the city badge.
CLICK badge on left image for full story