45 Squadron is stationed at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire as a component of the UK Military Flying Training System.

It is among the few RAF units to see World War Two combat against German, Italian, Vichy French and Japanese forces. Aircraft flown include the Sopwith Camel, Bristol Blenheim, Vultee Vengeance, Bristol Brigand Hawker Hunter FGA9, Panavia Tornado and Beechcraft King Air. 45 Squadron delivers multi-engine flying training to pilots and rear crew.

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1916   Formed at Gosport as a scout unit, flying the Sopwith 1½-Strutter in France, before re-equipping with the Camel in 1917. Subsequently sent to the Austro-Italian front, but returned to France late in 1918 for re-equipment with Sopwith Snipes for bomber escort, although the Armistice precluded operations. Disbanded in 1919.

1921   Re-formed and despatched to Helwan, Egypt as a Vickers Vernon bomber-transport unit. Moved to Iraq in 1922, fulfilling mostly policing and airmail duties. Moved back to Egypt in 1927 and remnants of unit taken over by 47 Squadron.

1927   Re-formed on the Airco DH.9A at Heliopolis. Subsequently flew the Fairey IIIF from 1929, Hawker Hart and Vickers Vincent (1935), Fairey Gordon (1936) and Vickers Wellesley (1937). A detachment served in Kenya from September 1935.

1939   Re-equipped with the Bristol Blenheim at Fuka, Egypt. Flew wartime missions over the Western Desert, Syria and Sudan, before moving to Calcutta and Burma in 1942. Almost wiped out in combat with Japanese forces.

1942   Re-formed in November. Returned to combat in June 1943, as a dive-bombing unit equipped with the Vultee Vengeance. Re-equipped with the de Havilland Mosquito from January 1944, returning to combat in September.

1946   Transferred to Ceylon and re-equipped with the Bristol Beaufighter.

1948   Aircraft despatched to Kuala Lumpur for Operation Firedog, the Malayan Emergency, in August. Full squadron deployed in 1949, with detachments in Malaya and Singapore. Re-equipped with the Bristol Brigand from late 1949. Exchanged Brigands for the de Havilland Hornet in 1952.

1955   Relocated to Malaysia for training on the Gloster Meteor and de Havilland Vampire, before re-equipping with the de Havilland Venom.

1957   Returned to Singapore and re-equipped with the English Electric Canberra B2. Disbanded in 1970.

1972   Re-formed at RAF West Raynham, Norfolk as a ground-attack training unit, flying the Hunter FGA9.  Within weeks the Squadron then moved to RAF Wittering.

1976   Squadron disbanded.

1984   Reformed as 45 (Reserve) Squadron, the Tornado Weapons Conversion Unit, at RAF Honington, but renumbered as XV (Reserve) Squadron in 1992.

1992   The Multi-Engine Training Squadron, flying the Handley Page Jetstream T1 at RAF Cranwell, was redesignated as 45 (Reserve) Squadron.

2003   Re-equipped with the Beechcraft King Air.

2006   Removal of reserve status. Re-designated as – 45 Squadron.

2018   Re-equipped with the Embraer Phenom.


1916 - 1917*   Western Front

1916   Somme

1917   Ypres 

1917 - 1918   Italian Front and Adriatic 

1917 - 1918   Piave

1918*   Independent Force and Germany 

1922 - 1924   Kurdistan 

1923 - 1925   Iraq

1940 - 1942*   Egypt and Libya 

1940*   East Africa 

1941   Syria 

1942*   Burma

1943 - 1944*   Arakan 

1944 - 1945*   Burma 

*Honours marked with an asterisk, may be emblazoned on the Squadron Standard.