Image courtesy of Peter Rolt
The Jet Age.
100 Squadron, based at Wittering, exchanged its Lincoln B2s for Canberra B2s in April 1954, and went on to assume the role of the Bomber Command Development Unit, assessing vital new equipment. To support this role its B2s were later joined by examples of the B6, B(I)8 and PR7. In May 1957, a detachment of 100 Squadron aircraft travelled to Christmas Island to assist in meteorological work in connection with the detonation of Britain’s first nuclear bomb, as well as photographing the detonation itself.
Images via Brian James
The squadron disbanded on 1 September 1959
100 Squadron, under Wg Cdr Mike Robinson, reformed at RAF Wittering on 1st May 1962, as the second, and last, squadron to be equipped with Handley Page Victor B Mk 2. Alongside 139(Jamaica) Sqn it formed the Wittering Wing's contribution to the UK’s Strategic Nuclear Deterrent Force, assigned to the NATO Retaliatory Strike Plan. The baseline alert level required one squadron in turn to provide 2 aircraft on Quick Reaction Alert. Continuing improvements in Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) performance increasingly made relying on high altitude and speed to evade interception non-viable. This led to the adoption of stand-off weapons delivered following low-level penetration. The squadron's first aircraft retro-fitted to carry the Blue Steel missile was delivered in March 1963 and all had been delivered by the end of the year. During 1964 the aircraft upper surface finish was changed from anti-flash white to a dark green/medium sea grey camouflage better suited to low level operations. For 6 years the squadron contributed to the nuclear deterrent but on 1st April 1968 the Royal Navy's Polaris missile armed nuclear submarines took over the principle part of the role. The RAF's remaining strategic bombing tasks were assigned to the Vulcan force.100 Sqn disbanded on 30th September 1968 and its aircraft were ferried to the Handley Page airfield at Radlett to await conversion to tankers.
Images Courtesy of Marham Heritage Centre
Image courtesy of Peter Rowlings
100 Squadron was reformed at RAF West Raynham on 1st February 1972, equipped with Canberra B2, T4 and T19 aircraft. This would be the second time the Squadron had flown the Canberra, and some of the roles the Squadron would undertake were Target towing, Practice interceptions with pairs of aircraft, and Playing ‘the enemy’ for fighter squadrons at home and abroad with many deployments and detachments. On 19 December 1975 the squadron absorbed the remaining aircraft and crews of 85 Sqn.
Image courtesy of Terry Senior
Image courtesy of Bob Archer
Image courtesy of Brian James
In January 1976 the Squadron moved to RAF Marham, and in February it absorbed the Canberra E15 aircraft and crews of 98 Squadron. Some of the detachments they took part in included, Dhahran in Saudi Arabia, towing banner targets for the Royal Saudi Air Force and detachments to Akrotiri in for target towing exercises with fighter crews.
Image courtesy of Brian James
In early 1982 100 Squadron was on the move again, this time to RAF Wyton near Huntingdon.
On a typical Wyton day, with low cloud and rain the aircraft arrived at Wyton and were parked along the disused runway with several TT18s, and PR7s which came from the recently disbanded 7 and 13 Squadrons.
Image courtesy of Jim Baker
Images courtesy of Peter Foster
These additional aircraft made 100 Squadron one of the largest Squadrons in the RAF. Most of these Canberra's carried on with 100 Squadron until 1991 when they were replaced with the Hawk T1. The exception to this was a handful of PR7s and E15s were taken on charge by 231 OCU and later 360 Squadron.
One TT18 escaped the scrap man, it was purchased by Mr Ron Mitchell and displayed around the Air show circuit for a number of years before moving onto Temora Aviation Museum in Australia where she is kept in flying condition.
Image courtesy of Chris Cannon
During the transition period the Squadron gradually built up its number of Hawks starting with three airframes, it took some time to get a full complement of aircraft.
Images courtesy of Peter Rolt
It was a short stay at Wyton for the Hawks, with 100 Squadron moving to RAF Finningley in south Yorks on the 31st August 1994. The squadron's stay at Finningley was also short, with Finningley itself closing, the Squadron was on the move again, this time to RAF Leeming. It remained based at Leeming until the end of March 2022 when 100 Squadron disbanded when all Hawk T1s, except those allocated to the Red Arrows, were withdrawn from service.