XXII Squadron

No. 22 Squadron is the Operational Evaluation Unit of the Joint Helicopter Command.

"Valiant and brave"


No. 22 Squadron was formed at Fort Grange, Gosport, on 1 September 1915 and departed for France seven months later with twelve FE2B two-seat pusher biplanes. These outdated aircraft were used for a year on reconnaissance tasks before they transferred to a fighter unit with Bristol Fighters. The Squadron moved to Germany after the War as part of the Army of Occupation and returned to the UK in August 1919 prior to disbanding at the end of the year.

The Squadron reformed in 1923 to test every new aircraft, civilian and military, produced by the British aviation industry and as well as every foreign design to be used by the RAF.  Throughout WWII, the Squadron conducted mine-laying sorties and torpedo operations, where numerous individuals were commended for their brave actions, some posthumously.

In 1955, the Squadron began its long association with helicopters, first being equipped with Whirlwinds in the search and rescue role. No. 22 Squadron performed the search and rescue role with Sycamore, Whirlwind, Wessex and finally Sea King helicopters before disbanding in 2015 having conducted over 10,000 life-saving sorties.

In May 2020, the Squadron re-formed at RAF Benson as the Operational Evaluation Unit of the Joint Helicopter Command under the Air Warfare Branch.  They are responsible for testing all new equipment to be used on eight helicopter types used across the three Services.


1915   Formed at Fort Grange.

1941   Flying Officer K Campbell was awarded the VC.

1955   Reformed as SAR squadron.

2015   Disbanded as a SAR squadron.

2020   Reformed at RAF Benson as an Operational Evaluation Unit.

Battle honours

1916-1918*   Western Front

1916*   Somme

1917*   Ypres

1917   Cambrai

1918   Somme



Hindenburg Line*

1939-1941*   Channel and North Sea 

1940   France and Low Countries

1940   Invasion Ports 

1940-1941   Biscay Ports 

1942*   Mediterranean 

1942-1944*   Eastern Waters 

1944-1945*   Burma 

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