Gloria finis

SQUADRON HISTORY

The squadron motto, Gloria Finis means "Glory is the end". No. 43 Squadron was a Royal Air Force aircraft squadron originally formed in 1916 as part of the Royal Flying Corps...

Royal Air Force Sopwith Camel

THE EARLY YEARS

No 43 Squadron formed at Stirling from a nucleus provided by No 19 Reserve Squadron, it took almost year to reach the Western Front in France. By this time their Sopwith 1½-Strutters were only suitable for reconnaissance work. Following re-equipment with Sopwith Camels in September 1917, the Squadron began to forge an excellent reputation for itself. This was typified by the events of 12 April 1918, when two of the Squadron's pilots, Captain JL Trollope and Captain HW Woollett, both scored six confirmed victories in a day. After the war, the Squadron moved to Germany briefly, returning to the UK in August 1919 prior to disbandment at the end of the year.

crown Gloster Gamecock

INTER-WAR YEARS

The squadron reformed on 1 July 1923 at Henlow, again it was a fighter squadron and initially it was equipped with its previous mount the Snipe. However, Gamecocks were received in March 1926 and conversion was complete by May. It was this aircraft that led the squadron to adopt the 'fighting cock' as its emblem resulting in its famous nickname. The squadron moved to Tangmere in December 1926 where Siskins replaced the Gamecocks in June 1928. Furies replaced these in May 1931. During the 1930s a healthy rivalry developed between Tangmere-based Nos 43 and 1 Squadrons, with the former gaining an outstanding reputation for formation aerobatics at the annual Hendon displays.

crown Tommy Leader by Robert Taylor

WORLD WAR TWO

By September 1939, the Squadron had received and converted to Hawker Hurricanes. Soon after the outbreak of World War Two, No 43 moved north for defensive duties, returning to Tangmere at the end of May 1940 for patrols over the Dunkirk beaches. After taking part in the first half of the Battle of Britain, the squadron was withdrawn to northern England to re-equip and rest after having been recognised for achieving 60 kills in the battle, including the destruction of the first enemy aircraft in World War 2 to be shot down and crash on English soil.

Our Tribute to the Few