View Full Version : Looking for history of 34 Sqn during WW1

Chocks Wahay
11th Nov 2008, 17:22
My grandfather, long since passed on, served during WW1 with 34 Squadron. Like many he rarely spoke of his war service, and it was only after he died that we found his medals. I am interested in finding out about the history of the squadron (and of course anything relating to my grandfather). There is some information on the RAF website:

No. 34 Squadron was formed at Castle Bromwich on 7 January 1916 from a nucleus supplied by No. 19 Squadron. It was moved to France in July 1916 with B.E.2es as a reconnaissance unit, re-equipping with R.E.8s in January 1917. No. 34 was then sent to the Italian line and flew reconnaissance and bomber missions in Italy until the end of the war. It returned to the UK in May 1919 and was disbanded on 25 September 1919.

Thereafter the squadron was reformed several times in different guises until finally disbanding in 1967. Having never possessed further than space cadet / wannabee myself I am not sure how to proceed with tracing any information that may be available - any suggestions gratefully received. There may even be people here from the latter days of 34 when they had Meteors, Hunters and finally Beverleys.

11th Nov 2008, 17:44
I'm no student of RAF Squadron Histories, however there is a bit about 34 in Phil Moyes's "Bomber Squadrons of the RAF"
If you are that short of info do contact me by P.M. and I'll forward it.

11th Nov 2008, 19:17
You might want to post your request on Great War Forum (Powered by Invision Power Board) (http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/)

They have a specific forum for the war in the air and have some very knowledgable experts there.

Mike Read
11th Nov 2008, 19:40
Well, there is one here who was on 34 Sqn at Tangmere from when it reformed in Aug 1954. I was posted in Jan 1957 and I know of two or three other young chaps who were with me about that time. Started with Meteor F8's then from autumn 1955 Hunter F5's. The boss was Sqn Ldr Alistair Wilson DFC of Wilson Computer/Plotter fame used for "Broadcast Control Interception" - don't ask !!, A Flt Cdr Flt Lt Tony Satow, B Flt Cdr Flt Lt Chunky Davies. Chunky is still about. We had an excellent SNCO engineer, F/Sgt Carter. Several of the pilots on short service commissions ended up with either BEA or BOAC. Brian Lilleyman became a Flight Manager on Concorde but died prematurely in his early forties. In 1958 34 re-equipped with F6's and renumbered 208 Sqn and departed for the Middle East.

Chunky Davies had either served on or alongside 34 in the Far East during the war and could tell some tales of Hurricanes.

The Air Historical Branch or the RAF Museum should be able to fill in many gaps.

In 1966-7 when 34 was based at Seletar I was on the staff of HQ 224 Gp there and several times flew as pax with them in their Beverleys. One afternoon an old mate, by then a flight commander, let me flog one around the circuit for an hour or two. Great fun but not my kind of aircraft.

11th Nov 2008, 19:56

Info I have is:

11/11/18 San Luca Bristol F2B

16/11/18 Villaverla

26/2/19 Caldiero

3/5/19 Old Sarum

15/10/19 Disbanded

3/12/35 Bircham Newton Nucleus from 18 Sqn

1/36 Equipped with Hawker Hind

30/7/36 Abbotsinch

3/11/36 Lympne

12/7/38 Upper Heyford Equipped with Blenheim1

2/3/39 Watton

12/8/39 en-route to Tengah

Good Luck

Brian Abraham
12th Nov 2008, 04:36
From "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft", Aerospace Publishing Ltd.


Mike Read
12th Nov 2008, 15:41
Further to the above history, 1 Sqn re-equipped with Hunter F5's at Tangmere in the summer of 1955. 34 had to wait until after the Fighter Command annual exercise (Ex Beware) which ran in the last part of September - after B of B Day - as we needed to still be "operational". We began to get our first Hunters in mid October and were "operational" again by the New Year.

Operation Quicktrain was a deployent of the day fighter element of the Tangmere Wing to Cyprus and with the nationalisation of the Suez Canal we flew out to Akrotiri on 7th August. The base had few facilities - the end of the runway was partitioned off with a wall of sandbags making a dispersal for the Hunters - and to free up space with the planned arrival of French Air Force F84s the Tangmere Wing moved to Nicosia at the start of September. So it was nothing to do with an armanent practice camp. All the time at Nicosia the two squadrons worked alternate days from midday to midday flying any of the wing's aircraft and not until returning to Tangmere just before Christmas did they become truly separate units again.

The invasion stripes painted on in household distemper only lasted until flying through rain for the first time !

Chocks Wahay
16th Dec 2008, 20:36
Thanks to all who replied. We've been able to establish that my Grandfather was with 34 in France until March 1917 when he was sent back to England on a hospital ship in March 1917 shortly before the squadron moved to Italy. He served the rest of the war on balloons in Aldershot trying to repel Zeppelins.

I was able to locate a photo of an 34sqn RE8 in Italy, while my grandfather didn't go to Italy he may well have known the aircraft. I'm very interested in locating photos of 34sqn from the period - what would have happened to the squadron's archives when it disbanded finally in 1967?

Fascinating stuff, many thanks for all the information.