16 Squadron

Providing initial pilot training.

"Hidden things are revealed"


16 Squadron is stationed at RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire and trains students on the Grob 115E Tutor. In 1915 it was the first air unit to use wireless technology to report troop movements. Aircraft flown have included, the Canberra, Buccaneer and Tornado GR1. It was a Jaguar Operational Conversion Unit until 2005. The Squadron is one of the two RAF Elementary Flying Training squadrons. Students fly courses of up to 70 hours, learning basic aircraft handling, instrument flying, navigation, and formation skills before progressing to the fast-jet, multi-engine and rotary
streams for advanced flying training.


1915   No 16 Squadron was formed at St Omer and immediately began fighting in the First World War in Northern France, flying offensive patrol and tactical reconnaissance missions.

1918   Flew the Armistice Patrol on 11 November 1918.  The Squadron disbanded in Dec 1919.

1924 - 1942   Flew aircraft ranging from the Bristol Fighter, Hawker Audax, and Westland Lysander in Army Co-operation roles.

1942 -1945   The Squadron was equipped with the Mustang and Spitfire XI, mainly flying photographic reconnaissance sorties.

1958   Contributed to the Tactical Nuclear Strike role flying Canberra, Buccaneer, and Tornado GR1 aircraft.

1991   Gulf War, flying the Tornado GR1 from Tabuk in Saudi Arabia. The Squadron was disbanded as a front-line unit and subsequently operated as the Jaguar operational conversion unit until 2002. 

2008   No 16 Squadron was reformed as one of the Elementary Flying Training squadrons at RAF Cranwell, before moving to RAF Wittering in 2015.

Battle honours

1915-1918   Western Front

Neuve Chappelle


1916*   Somme


1917*   Ypres

1940   France and Low Countries


1943-1944   Fortress Europe

1944   France and Germany

1944*   Normandy

1944-1945*   Arnhem, Ruhr

1991   Gulf

Honours marked with an asterisk, are emblazoned on the Squadron Standard.