The Standard of Number 47 Squadron has been formally laid-up in the Rotunda of College Hall Officers’ Mess at RAF Cranwell.
Following the retirement of the Hercules in June 2023, it was directed that Number 47 Squadron should disband in September 2023, ready to be reformed at the first opportunity. As part of the disbandment process, the standard was laid up in a short ceremony involving members of Number 47 Squadron and the RAF College Standard party. The 47 Squadron standard bearer was Flt Lt Noble, and the ceremony was officiated by the RAF College Warrant Officer, WO Jim Dick. On disbandment, Number 47 Squadron will be the eighth most senior squadron in the Royal Air Force, having also been awarded more battle honours than any other fixed wing RAF squadron this century.
47 Squadron was formed at Beverley in Yorkshire on 1 March 1916 as an air defence unit, saw service in Russia in 1919, as a bomber squadron in Egypt and Sudan from 1920 to 1942, as a torpedo bomber squadron in the Mediterranean until 1944 and for ground attack in the Far East until 1946. Its role as an air transport unit began in Palestine in 1946, where it was equipped with the Halifax and later the Hastings. 47 Squadron flew more than 3000 missions in the Berlin Airlift. After being re-equipped with the Beverley in 1956, the Squadron began its association with the Hercules in 1968. Since this time, the Squadron has provided air mobility support to operations and disaster relief all over the world.
Significant events include disaster relief in Nepal, Ethiopia, Sudan and Turkey, operations in the Falklands, the Gulf, the Balkans (including almost 2000 sorties in the Sarajevo Airlift), and Iraq from 2003. In 2001, 47 Squadron Hercules were the first UK aircraft to land in Afghanistan, in 2014 Operation Shader began with a 47 Squadron airdrop to Mount Sinjar. In 2021 the last aircraft to leave Kabul during Operation Pitting was a 47 Squadron Hercules. In 2023 the Squadron supported disaster relief in Turkey, evacuated people from Sudan, and continued its commitment to Op Shader until 4 June 2023. The final formal task for the squadron was the King’s Birthday Flypast on 17 June 2023. The Squadron motto “Nili Nomen Roboris Omen” means the “The name of the Nile will be an omen of your strength” and was awarded in 1938 by King George VI, replacing an earlier unofficial motto: “Sans Peur”.
Officer Commanding Number 47 Squadron, Wing Commander Sjoberg said:
It was an honour to attend the laying-up ceremony of the 47 Squadron Standard. A superb ceremony by the RAF College team rounded off a period of fabulous celebrations of the Hercules and Number 47 Squadron. Whilst it was undoubtedly a sad moment to watch the standard being rested ahead of the Squadron’s formal disbandment in September, I am reassured that the Squadron will be re-instated to an appropriate role at the first opportunity. I’d like to offer my thanks once more to the amazing people of 47 Squadron, and their families, who have achieved so much over the long and proud history of Number 47 Squadron.