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No. 543 Squadron RAF

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Title: No. 543 Squadron RAF  
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Subject: Vickers Valiant, Handley Page Victor, RAF Coastal Command order of battle during World War II, List of Royal Air Force aircraft squadrons, List of Supermarine Spitfire operators
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No. 543 Squadron RAF

No. 543 Squadron RAF
Active 19 October 1942 – 18 October 1943
24 September 1955 – 24 May 1974
Country United Kingdom
Branch Royal Air Force
Role Photographic reconnaissance
Part of No. 16 Group, RAF Coastal Command (42–43)[1]
No. 3 Group, RAF Bomber Command (55–68)[2]
No. 1 Group, RAF Strike Command (68–74)[3]
Motto Valiant and Vigilant[4][5]
Squadron Badge heraldry A crane's head, the crane carrying an open padlock, with key, in its beak[4][5]
Squadron Codes No codes are known to have been carried[6][7]

No. 543 Squadron RAF was a photographic reconnaissance squadron of the Royal Air Force, active in two periods between 1942 and 1974.


  • History 1
  • Aircraft operated 2
  • Commanding officers 3
  • Squadron bases 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
    • Notes 6.1
    • Bibliography 6.2
  • External links 7


The squadron was formed on 19 October 1942[5] at RAF Benson as a photo-reconnaissance unit with the Supermarine Spitfire. A detachment was stationed at RAF St Eval, Cornwall to carry out reconnaissance flights over France. The rest of the squadron carried out operational training. On 18 October 1943 the squadron was disbanded.

On 24 September 1955 the squadron was reformed at RAF Gaydon to operate the Vickers Valiant for reconnaissance duties. It moved to RAF Wyton in November 1955. The squadron re-equipped with the Handley Page Victor in 1965. It was disbanded on 24 May 1974 at RAF Wyton.[8]

Aircraft operated

Aircraft operated by no. 543 Squadron RAF, data from[4][8][9]
From To Aircraft Version
October 1942 October 1943 Supermarine Spitfire Mks.IV & V
November 1942 October 1943 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX
June 1943 October 1943 de Havilland Mosquito PR.IV
June 1955 December 1964 Vickers Valiant B(PR).1
February 1956 December 1964 Vickers Valiant B(PR)K.1
May 1965 December 1965 Handley Page Victor B.1
January 1966 May 1974 Handley Page Victor B.2(SR)

Commanding officers

Officers commanding no. 543 Squadron RAF, data from[4]
From To Name
October 1942 October 1942 S/Ldr. A.E. Hill, DSO, DFC & Bar
October 1942 October 1943 S/Ldr. G.E. Hughes, DFC
August 1955 August 1957 W/Cdr. R.E. Havercroft, AFC
August 1957 W/Cdr. R. Berry, DSO, OBE, DFC
January 1962 December 1963 W/Cdr. B. Hamilton, CBE, DFC AFC
W/Cdr. C.G.St.D. Jeffries

Squadron bases

Bases and airfields used by no. 543 Squadron RAF, data from[4][8][9][10]
From To Base Remark
19 October 1942 18 October 1943 RAF Benson, Oxfordshire Detachments at RAF St Eval, Cornwall; RAF Mount Farm, Oxfordshire; Grasnaya and Vaenga, Russia
1 July 1955 18 November 1955 RAF Gaydon, Warwickshire
18 November 1955 23 March 1970 RAF Wyton, Cambridgeshire
23 March 1970 1 October 1970 RAF Honington, Suffolk
1 October 1970 24 May 1974 RAF Wyton, Cambridgeshire Disbanded here

See also



  1. ^ Delve 1994, p. 64.
  2. ^ Delve 1994, p. 88.
  3. ^ Delve 1994, p. 90.
  4. ^ a b c d e Rawlings 1982, p. 233.
  5. ^ a b c Halley 1988, p. 407.
  6. ^ Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 148.
  7. ^ Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 232.
  8. ^ a b c Jefford 2001, p. 98.
  9. ^ a b Halley 1988, p. 408.
  10. ^ Bases and airfields used on


  • Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • Delve, Ken. The Source Book of the RAF. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1994. ISBN 1-85310-451-5.
  • Flintham, Vic and Andrew Thomas. Combat Codes: A full explanation and listing of British, Commonwealth and Allied air force unit codes since 1938. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 2003. ISBN 1-84037-281-8.
  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth 1918–1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Jefford, Wing Commander C.G., MBE, BA, RAF (Retd.).RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1988 (second edition 2001). ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Coastal, Support and Special Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Jane's Publishing Company Ltd., 1982. ISBN 0-7106-0187-5.

External links

  • 543 Squadron Aircrew Association
  • Bases and airfields used on
  • Squadron histories for nos. 541–598 sqn on rafweb
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