206 Squadron was originally formed in 1916 and served in France as a Fighter, Bomber and Reconnaissance Squadron. On 1st February 1920 with the end of the First World War, the squadron returned to England and was renumbered No. 47 Squadron. The expansion of the RAF in the mid 1930’s began to produce an increased flow of aircraft, and in June 1936, 206 Squadron reformed at RAF Manston as a General Reconnaissance Squadron flying Avro Ansons.
In August 1936 the Squadron was transferred to Coastal Command and in March 1938 presented with its emblem, the ‘Octopus’. At the time of the outbreak of the Second World War the Squadron consisted of 24 aircraft, consisting of the Anson and the Lockheed Hudson. By 1942 the Hudsons were starting to be replaced with the Boeing Fortress II and IIA. One of the last tasks for the Hudsons was to take part in the ‘1,000 Bomber Raids’ over Germany.
In April 1944 206 Squadron moved back to the UK. The crews converted to Consolidated Liberators which replaced the Fortress as it enabled the crews to conduct successful night sorties using radar against the German U-Boats. For the remainder of the Second World War the Squadron was tasked to carry out patrol duties over the Norwegian coastal areas. With the end of the war in Europe, 206 Squadron were tasked with the transport of freight to India and then returning home ex-POW’s from the Far East. This continued until April 1946 when the Squadron was disbanded. By the end of the war 206 Squadron had destroyed a total of 10, and assisted in the destruction of a further 2, U-Boats. 206 Squadron personnel had received 37 Distinguished Flying Crosses and 13 Distinguished Flying medals; sadly the Squadron had also lost a total of 274 personnel.
In late 1947 the Squadron reformed with Avro Yorks, but fell foul of military cutbacks at the end of August 1949. In September 1952, No 206 Squadron was reformed at St Eval, and equipped with Shackletons, providing reconnaissance and rescue patrols over the western approaches. In 1965 the Squadron was transferred to RAF Kinloss, where it saw the arrival of Nimrods in November 1970. The unit continued its maritime tasks and operational duties across the globe until being disbanded in a ceremony at RAF Kinloss on 1 April 2005.
On 1 April 2009, the Heavy Aircraft Test and Evaluation Squadron gained the 206 Squadron ‘numberplate’ as 206(Reserve) Squadron. The Squadron supports front line operations through the conduct of integrated test and evaluation across all of the heavy aircraft platforms and their associated systems.
Squadron Battle Honours
Western Front 1916-1918, Arras 1917, Lys, Channel and North Sea 1939-1945, Atlantic 1939 and 1941-1945, Dunkirk, Invasion Ports 1940, Fortress Europe 1940 and 1942, German Ports 1940 and 1942, Biscay 1941 and 1943-1944, Bismarck, Baltic 1945, South Atlantic 1982, Gulf 1991, Iraq 2003.
Tallow Chandlers Flight Test Award
Our first annual Flight Test Award was presented to Flt Lt Chris Phyo on 13 March 2015.