73 Sqdn

Those who served with 73 Squadron are welcome to submit pictures and stories.


of the






Air Chief Marshal Sir DENIS H.F. BARNETT

G.C.B., C.B.E., D.F.C., M.A.




The Standard for Royal Air Force Squadrons was created by His late Majesty King George VI, on 1st April, 1943 to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the formation of the Royal Air Force. It is awarded only to Squadrons of twenty-five years' standing, or with a history of special outstanding operations.

Her Majesty The Queen affirmed her father's decision and has been graciously pleased to approve the award of a Standard to No. 73 Squadron to mark the fact that on 1st April, 1960, the Squadron had been in existence for 25 years.

The Standard consists of a fringed and tasselled silken banner mounted on a pike crowned by a golden eagle, Eight selected battle honours in scoll surround the Squadron Badge, and the decorative border contains the rose, leek, thistle and shamrock beautifully embroidery.



No. 73 Squadron was formed at Upavon on 1st July 1917. Early training was carried out on Avro 504's,
Nieuports and Sopwith Pups, gradual conversion to Sopwith Camels being completed by the time the Squadron left for France in January, 1918.  Under the command .of Major T. O'B. Hubbard the Squadron soon adjusted to conditions on the Western Front and found that it was fully employed in supporting hard pressed allied infantry. In March, 1918 the Squadron was moved to the south of the British Front where it became engaged in the German offensive between Cambrai and St. Quentin where low straffing was carried out exclusively. Later in the year the Squadron began to meet the famous Richthofen's circus in aerial combat against whom many successes were claimed. In August the Squadron was attached to the Tank Corps for special duties in connection with anti-tank gun straffing and took part in a succession .of battles on the Third and Fourth Armies' Fronts. During this phase the Squadron expended 25,000 rounds of 20 m.m. ammunition and 160 by 25 lb. bombs in one day's flying, a not insignificant achievement! 
At the cessation of hostilities and the subsequent run-down of the Royal Air Force the Camels of No. 73 were disposed of and the personnel left war ravaged France for the peaceful Wiltshire countryside where, at Yates bury, the Squadron was disbanded. During their short but glorious career the pilots of the Squadron had destroyed or sent down out of control 132 enemy aircraft. 


With the ascendancy of the Third Reich and consequent expansion of the Royal Air Force in 1937, No. 73 Squadron was re-formed out of 'B' Flight, No. 56 Squadron at North Weald and moved to Mildenhall by 15th March, 1937.  Equipped with Hawker Fury biplane fighters the re-juvenated 73 rapidly made itself felt as a healthy addition to Fighter Command. After a move to Debden in June on re-equipment with Gloster Gladiators the Squadron took part in large air exercises; in November there was a further move to Digby where, re-equipped with the latest Hawker Hurricanes, the Squadron became a vital addition to the defence of Britain. The failure of Munich and the subsequent actions by Hitler brought Europe to war an 3rd September, 1939. A day later, No. 73 Squadron, forming part of the Advance Air Striking Force (A.A.S.F.), moved to France.
Early in the campaign the Squadron controlled the Cherbourg Peninsula. A move to Rouvres was made in October and very soon the Squadron found itself facing the might of Goering's Luftwaffe. One of the outstanding personalities on the Squadron at this time was Fg. Off. E.J. 'Cobber' Kain, D.F.C. who destroyed his first DO 17 at 27,000 feet. 'Cobber' was tragically killed in a flying accident an 7th June, 1940. Another 'ace' in the Squadron at this time was Fg. Off. 'Fanny' Ortan. Between them these two pilots destroyed no less than 35 enemy aircraft.
As the German Armies swept their way through France in those dark days, No. 73 retreated with the remnants of the A.A.S.F. and B.E.F. The Squadron was the last to leave France and on 18th June it embarked at La Rochelle with its aircraft carrying out patrols covering the evacuation, The Squadron re-assembled at Church Fenton sadly depleted of personnel lost in aerial combat and in the sinking of the ill-fated 'Lancastria' whilst ferrying the Squadron to England.  With little respite the Squadron found itself embroiled in the Battle of Britain. As the tempo of air fighting over Britain decreased, the Squadron received orders in November, 1940 to move overseas. This move began a long association with the Middle East which is continued today from Cyprus.

En route to Alexandria aboard the cruiser H.M.S. 'Manchester' the Squadron airmen found themselves in the midst of a major naval engagement - Cape Matapan. This was no grandstand view. The airmen were employed in shuttling shells to the cruiser's hungry guns and it is reported that they comported themselves with courage in an alien element.  The Italian Air Force first met No. 73 on 3rd January, 1941, when Sgt. Marshall shot down three SM 79 bombers of the Regia Aeronautica. Very soon, however, the Squadron's old adversary, the Luftwaffe, joined the Desert war and for many months 73 found themselves hard pressed against a formidable opponent.  Twice the Squadron narrowly avoided capture in the Tobruk pocket, on one occasion actually watching the approach of Rommel's tanks. During this time the airmen on the Squadron found a dump of serviceable Italian motor-cycles and for a while the whole Squadron was mobile!  In May 1941, six of the Squadron's Hurricanes flew to Crete to assist in the desperate fight for that Island. On their return to base in Egypt, astonished ground crews saw two pilots climbing out of one Hurricane! The pilot of the aircraft had flown from Crete sitting on the knees of another whose aircraft was destroyed.  Among the colourful personalities on the Squadron at this time were Lt. Littolf, a Free French 'ace' who destroyed 14 enemy aircraft, and the C.0. of the Squadron, Sqn. Ldr. Wykeham­Barnes (now Air Marshal P. Wykeham, C.B., D.S.O., O.B.E., D.F.C, A.F.C.). There was also Sqn. Ldr. 'Monty' Ellis D.F.M., who early one morning shot down 3 JO 88's then returned to base to join the queue for an early but meagre breakfast.  The advance of the Eighth Army through North Africa saw 73 well up with the front line, ground straffing and giving Montgomery's troops every assistance. In December, 1942 the Squadron recorded their 300th victory when F.S. Beard shot down a JO 88 over the sea of Benghazi.  The defeat of Rommel's Afrika Corps sounded the death knell for Hitler's ambitions in Egypt.   No. 73 Squadron moved across the Mediterranean to the toe of Italy - now equipped with Spitfires. 


After a short period of shipping patrols the Squadron were soon back on offensive sweeps, most of these being carried out against the enemy occupied islands off the Dalmatian coast. On 4th June, 1944, the Balkan Air Force was formed and No. 73 was transferred to that Command. With the B.A. F. their task was ground straffing and although highly successful the work proved extremely hazardous. In the first 14 days 50 locomotives were destroyed and 8 damaged. It was during this period that a section of Spitfires led by Fg. Off. Martin D.F.C., destroyed 29 locomotives during one sortie.  Then came Greece - in December, 1944 No. 73 moved to Hassani where, once again, the Squadron was employed on ground attack work. The score in M.T. destroyed during the brief campaign exceeded 100. Taking off from their airfield with ground targets but a few hundred yards from the end of the runway, the Spitfires could be seen firing their cannons and machine guns into the enemy. It must have been gratifying for the overworked groundcrews to see, for the first time, 'their' ammunition being poured into enemy positions.  The Greek Campaign finished, No. 73 returned to Italy and began offensive sweeps over Jugoslavia. The Squadron moved to Jugoslavia itself in April, 1945 where good results were obtained from operations. The partisans for whom the Squadron were fighting were sullen and reluctant to co-operate; the general impression was that the influx of red starred personnel into the Tito Army had begun. The Squadron was glad to leave Jugoslavia at the cessation of hostilities in Europe.  A week after V.E. Day the Squadron was informed that it was to proceed to Brindisi for disbandment. Disbandment!  How was it that Fighter Commands' top-scoring Squadron with 321 victories, famous in two World Wars, could be allowed to die? Fortunately this was not to be, and the Squadron eventually proceeded to Halfar, Malta where it remained until August, 1946. It then moved to Ta Kali and by this time was re-equipped with Spitfire F22's. 


By 1949 Vampire jet fighters were being used and the Squadron took part in many flying displays, their aerobatic teams being a common sight over Malta. In September an amusing incident occurred after a serious crash in Italy. One of the Squadron pilot's was told by the C.A.S. Italian Air Force, "Now young man, you must go to St. Peter's and burn some candles". Although C. of E, the lucky pilot got the message. .The highlight of 1950 was a visit by Her Royal Highness, Princess Elizabeth. The Squadron naturally was on its best behaviour and after an inspection of personnel and aircraft, the Princess was treated to a display by the Squadron aerobatic team.

The mid-fifties and early sixties saw many significant changes to 73 Squadron. After a period at Habbaniya, Iraq, the Squadron moved to Nicosia, Cyprus in 1955 then two years later it settled at its present base Akrotiri. Coincident with these deployments came aircraft re-equipments, Firstly, the Venom F.B. and finally the biggest innovation with the arrival of Canberra B. 2's from Weston­Zoyland, where crews had been undergoing conversion to the new type. In 1962 the Squadron returned to its regular trade of 'ground attack' with the introduction of Canberra B. 15 which it flies today.

Today under the Command of Sqn. Ldr. H.D. Seymour, the Squadron serves on, confident of its power and mindful of its traditions as an integral part of the Akrotiri Strike Wing.  



  Station Commander

Group Captain B.P.T. HORSLEY, C.B.E., M.V.O., A.F.C.

Parade Commander and Officer Commanding Flying Wing

Wing Commander A. VEALE

Officer Commanding No. 73 Squadron 

Squadron Leader RD. SEYMOUR

Squadron Adjutant

Flying Officer M.L BANKS

Officer Commanding No.1 Flight

Flight Lieutenant A.S. LITTLE

Officer Commanding No.2 Flight

Flight Lieutenant A.V. EWENS  


No.6 Squadron - Officer Commanding - Squadron Leader C.F. PICKARD
No. 13 Squadron-Officer Commanding - Squadron Leader J.H.D. DALY
No. 29 Squadron
- Officer Commanding - Wing Commander E.G.P. JEFFERY  


  Standard Bearer

Flying Officer A.J.F. HUNT

  Standard Warrant Officer

Warrant Officer F.E. PEACOCK


F/Sergeant TOMLINSON A.A.       Sergeant SZPAK A

The Consecration Service will be conducted by Chaplain-in-Chief

The Venerable F.W. COCKS, CB., Q.H.A, M.A.


  Director of Music

Squadron Leader V.H. HUTCHINSON, LAR.M., A.R.C.M.



The Parade is to be formed up on the Reviewing Base with No. 73 Squadron in line of Flights, supported by Nos. 6, 13 and 29 Squadrons.

Arrival of the Reviewing Officer

Upon the approach of the Administrator of the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia the Band will sound the Alert and Still. (Spectators should stand on the approach of the Reviewing Officer. Officers in uniform should salute as he passes).

When the Administrator arrives at the Saluting Base he will be received with a Royal Salute.


(Spectators should remain standing but do not salute or uncover)

Inspection of No. 73 Squadron will follow.

(Spectators should be seated)

Consecration of the Standard

The Standard will be uncased and draped on Piled Drums.
The Chaplain-in-Chief of the Royal Air Force will consecrate the Standard.

SQUADRON COMMANDER: Venerable Sir, on behalf of No. 73 Squadron we ask you to bid 
God's Blessing on this Standard.

(Spectators should stand)

CHAPLAIN-IN-CHIEF: We are ready to do so.
We are gathered here to consecrate this Standard, the solemn symbol of our loyalty, and with it ourselves, our service and our life. May this Standard never be unfurled save in the cause of justice, righteousness and truth.

Let us pray.
Our help is in the name of the Lord.

ALL: Who hath made heaven and earth.

CHAPLAIN-IN-CHIEF: The Lord be with you.

ALL: And with Thy spirit.

(Parade is called to attention)

CHAPLAIN-IN-CHIEF: To the Glory of God and as a symbol of our duty to Him and of our service to our 
Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth, we consecrate this Standard in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.


CHAPLAIN-IN-CHIEF: Remember always that this Standard which we have here dedicated to God represents unto us our bounden duty to our Queen and Country which is to serve her, her realm and our fellow citizens to the utmost of our power, to maintain as much as in us lies the gift of honour and the sanctity of man's plighted word, to protect all those who pass to and fro upon their lawful occasions, to preserve order and good government after the example of our comrades who counted not their lives dear to themselves so that others might live in peace.    

(Parade is stood at ease)

Let us pray.

ALL: Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth 
as it is in heaven: Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; For thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever: AMEN.

CHAPLAIN-IN-CHIEF: 0 God, the protector of all that trust in Thee, without whom nothing is strong, 
nothing is holy: increase and multiply upon us Thy mercy, that, Thou being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not the things eternal: Grant this, 0 heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ's sake, our Lord: AMEN.

God Save the Queen.


CHAPLAIN-IN-CHIEF: God be with you.


CHAPLAIN-IN-CHIEF: Go forth into the world in peace: Be of good courage: Hold fast that which is good: Render to no man evil for evil: Strengthen the fainthearted: Honour all men: Love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.

And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be upon you and remain with you always.


(Spectators should be seated)

The Presentation Ceremony

The Administrator will present the Standard to No. 73 Squadron and will address the parade. After the reply by the Squadron Commander the Standard will be marched in slow time to the Squadron and will be received with a Royal Salute. (Spectators should stand at the Presentation. of the Standard and remain standing as it is marched to the Squadron).


Will be played and a formation of Canberra Aircraft of No. 249 Squadron and Javelin Aircraft of No. 29 Squadron will fly past in Salute. (Spectators should salute or uncover)

The March Past

The Squadron will march past in close column by Flights and as a Squadron. (Spectators should stand and salute or uncover individually as the Standard passes)

The Advance in Review Order

No. 73 Squadron having reformed on the Receiving Base the Parade will advance in Review Order, and will give a Royal Salute followed by three cheers for Her Majesty The Queen.

(Spectators should not join in the cheers for Her Majesty.)


(Spectators should stand and salute or uncover.) Following a second Royal Salute The Administrator will leave the Saluting Base. (Spectators still standing)

The March-Off

The Parade Commander will order the march-off of the Queen's Colour. Squadron Standards will then be marched-off. (Spectators should stand and salute or uncover as the Queen's Colour and Squadron Standard's pass).

Squadrons march-off independently No. 73 Squadron leading.

(Spectators are requested to remain seated until the Squadrons march-off the Parade Ground.)



1st Word War

D.F.C 9
Bar to D.F.C 2
Military Cross 2
Legion D' Honneur 2
Croix de Guerre 3

2nd Word War

D.S.G 1
D.F.C 19
Bar to D.F.C 3
D.F.M 3
George Medal 2
Croix de Guerre 1

Major Le Blanc-Smith's Camel  F. L -  France, 1918

(Note early Squadron Badge on fuselage)



(With ranks at time of appointment)

Major RF.A. GORDAN....... 5th July, 1917

Major T. O'B. HUBBARD... 13th November, 1917

Major R.H.FREEMAN....... 3rd July, 1918

Major G.R. ELLIOT... lst August, 1918

Major M. LEBLANC-SMITH, D.F.C. 8th August, 1918

Squadron Leader E.S. FINCH... 19th April, 1937

Squadron Leader B.W. KNOX.... lst September, 1939

Squadron Leader J.W. MORE, D.F.C... 16th April, 1940

Squadron Leader M.W.S. ROBINSON.. . . . . .6th September, 1940

Squadron Leader A.D. MURRAY, D.F.C.............. 27th September, 1940

Squadron Leader P. WYKEHAM-BARNES, D.S.O. D.F.C. .20th April, 1941

Squadron Leader D.H. WARD, D.F.C lst October, 1941

Squadron Leader G.R. JOHNSTONE, D.F.C.. .18th June, 1942

Squadron Leader J.B. SELBY, D.S.O., D.F.C.... lst October, 1942

Squadron Leader R.V. ELLIS, D.F.M........... .17th February, 1943

Squadron Leader E.L. JOYCE, D.F.M ..12th July, 1943

Squadron Leader J.H. CHASE......... 20th November, 1943

Major D.W. GOLDING, D.F.C. S.A.A.F. 6th April, 1944

Squadron Leader J.N. ASHTON, D.F.C.. . . . 15th February, 1945

Squadron Leader P. FURNISS, D.F.C.. 20th April, 1945

Squadron Leader A.V. SMITH, D.F.C...... lst June, 1946

Squadron Leader J.A. JACKSON, D.F.C............. 16th February, 1947

Squadron Leader I.G. POTTS............................... 6th May, 1948

Squadron Leader R.W. OXSPRING, D.F.C. A.F.C..... .12th January, 1949

Squadron Leader C.H. SAUNDERS, D.F.C................ 9th November, 1949

Squadron Leader M.C.S. SHEPERD.. .20th November, 1950

Squadron Leader P.H.P. ROBERTS........ lst May, 1953

Squadron Leader J.F. MANNING, A.F.C... . . . .lst February, 1955

Squadron Leader R.D.A. SMITH, D.F.C...... .14th January, 1957

Squadron Leader M.F. ALDERSMITH..... 23rd February, 1959

Squadron Leader C.H. FOALE.... lst December, 1960

Squadron Leader H.D. SEYMOUR...... lst April, 1963



The Squadron was formed in Mid-1917 and crossed to France in January, 1918. The
Commanding Officer at this time was Major T. O'B. Hubbard. Major Hubbard apparently took his dog with him and the Squadron soon became known as 'Old Mother Hubbard's Squadron'. Major Hubbard gave the Squadron the inspiration for its early Badge. An allusion to his mythical ancestry helped with the decision for the Badge which showed a dog with its paws upraised looking into an empty cupboard with the whole illustration encircled by a large 'e' to commemorate the many Canadians who were serving with the Squadron at that time. This Badge was carried on the Sopwith Camel Fighters which the Squadron was flying, and it was also applied to the doors of the Squadron's transport which consisted of Leyland lorries and Crossley touring cars.

 When the Squadron was re-formed in 1937, the old Badge was completely unsuitable as by now the Royal Air Force had adopted a Standard Crest. Discussion among the Squadron at this time resulted in the present Crest which shows a 'Mastiff Rampant' - a heraldic Talbot in blue. The Canadians of World War 1 are now remembered by a gold Maple Leaf. A modification of this badge surmounted on the Squadron's blue/yellow flash is carried on the Canberras which the Squadron fly today.


The motto of No. 73 - Tutor et Ultor - is fitting as translated from the Latin reads "Protector and Avenger"


Pictures of 73 Sqn Check Ray Walkers Entry