41 Squadron

Fast Jet Test & Evaluation Squadron, with a primary focus on Typhoon capability and tactics development.

Seek and destroy

A double-armed cross - approved by HM King George VI in February 1937. The badge originated from the Squadron's association with St Omer, France during World War I, the cross being part of the town's arms.


  • Based at RAF Coningsby, 41 Squadron is part of the Air & Space Warfare Centre, which is headquartered at RAF Waddington
  • 41 Squadron’s Flight Lieutenant Eric Lock was the highest-scoring RAF fighter pilot of the Battle of Britain
  • The squadron flew the Supermarine Spitfire throughout World War Two, while other types flown include the Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a, de Havilland Hornet, Hawker Hunter, Gloster Javelin, McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR2, SEPECAT Jaguar and Panavia Tornado F3
  • As the RAF’s Fast Jet Test & Evaluation Squadron, 41 Squadron’s primary focus is Typhoon capability and tactics development


1916 - 41 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, stood up in July, before deploying to France in October as a Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.8 operator

1917 - Began re-equipping with the Airco DH.5 in June, but was fully equipped with the superior S.E.5a by mid-November. Disbanded on 31 December 1919

1923 - Re-formed at Northolt on 1 April, flying the Sopwith Snipe. Re-equipped with the Armstrong Whitworth Siskin in 1924 and converted onto the Bristol Bulldog in 1931

1934 - Re-equipped with the Hawker Demon, before deploying to Aden for the Abyssinian Crisis in 1935. Returned to the UK in August 1936 and re-equipped with the Hawker Fury biplane fighter

1939 - Began converting onto the Spitfire Mk I in January. On 17 October, 41 Squadron claimed the first aircraft shot down (a Heinkel He 111) by Spitfires based in England

1940 - Operating out of Hornchurch, 41 Squadron flew top cover for the Dunkirk evacuation for 12 days from 28 May. The unit flew throughout the Battle of Britain and in November converted onto the Spitfire Mk IIA

1941 - Began flying the Spitfire Mk VB

1942 - Supported the Dieppe raid in August

1943 - Converted onto the Spitfire Mk XII in February, one of only two squadrons to use the variant

1944 - After D-Day, 41 Squadron’s focus switched from bomber escort to anti-flying bomb patrols. It destroyed 53 V-1 flying bombs in a nine-week period. By September it had transferred its attention to attacking V-2 launch sites, while re-equipping with the Spitfire Mk XIV. In December it moved to a forward base in Belgium, ending its war stationed in Germany

1946 - Disbanded on 31 March. Re-formed on 1 April, back in the UK, as a Spitfire F.Mk 21 operator. Re-equipped with the Hornet during August 1947 and became a Gloster Meteor unit in 1951

1958 - Disbanded on 15 January, but stood up again on the 16th by renumbering 141 Squadron, operating the Gloster Javelin. Disbanded on 31 December 1963

1965 - Re-formed on 1 September as a missile defence unit, equipped with the Bloodhound Mk 2 surface-to-air missile. Disbanded on 18 September 1970, but re-formed on 1 April 1972 as a Phantom FGR2 unit

1977 - Disbanded on 31 March, but re-formed next day on the Jaguar

1991 - Took part in Operation GRANBY in Iraq. Subsequent deployments in support of Operations WARDEN and RESINATE NORTH continued until 1993

1993 - Deployed to Italy in August for Operation DENY FLIGHT over Bosnia. The commitment continued until August 1995, during which time a 41 Squadron Jaguar became the first RAF aircraft to drop a bomb in anger over Europe since World War Two

2003 - Took part in Operation TELIC in Iraq, now flying the Jaguar GR3

2006 - Scheduled to disband in April, 41 Squadron instead became 41 (Reserve) Squadron as the new numberplate of the Fast Jet and Weapons Operational Evaluation Unit, operating the Harrier GR9 and Tornado GR4 and F3

2013 - By now designated 41(R) Test & Evaluation Squadron, the unit took its first Typhoon on strength

Battle honours

Western Front 1916-1918*

Somme 1916*

Arras, Cambrai 1917*

Somme 1918*




Battle of Britain 1940*

Home Defence 1940-1944*

Fortress Europe 1940-1944*


France and Germany 1944-1945*



Gulf 1991

(Honours marked with an asterisk, may be emblazoned on the Squadron Standard)


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