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Globemaster tails
No. 2 Group (STC) / 99TH SQUADRON 
RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire ENGLAND


The 99th Squadrons Puma mascot can be seen high on their C-17 tails. 
Photo by kEVIN WACHTER                              kEVIN WACHTER-airliners.net 
RAF markings can be seen on C-17A ZZ174 in this May 20, 2002 photo.


 No. 99 Squadron 

No 99 Squadron was formed on 15 August 1927 at Yatesbury from a nucleus supplied by No. 13 Training Squadron. In April 1918 it received DH9s and moved at the end of the month to France as a day bomber Squadron. As a unit of No. 41 Wing, it joined the Independent Force on its formation in June and took part in attacks on German industrial targets for the rest of the war. Re-equipment with DH9As began in September 1918 and these were taken to India in May 1919, where the Squadron was renumbered 27 Squadron on 1 April 1920. 

On 1 April 1924, No. 99 reformed at Netheravon with Vimys, moving two months later to Bircham Newton where it re-equipped with Aldershots. These large single-engined bombers were replaced by Hyderabads at the end of 1925 and by its development, the Hinaidi, over a period of fifteen months from October 1929. Heyfords began to arrive in November 1933 and were flown until the Squadron converted to Wellingtons in October 1938. Leaflet-dropping flights were made over Germany from September 1939 and bombing raids began with the German invasion of Norway in April 1940. These continued until 14 January 1942, when the Squadron ceased operations in the UK and left for India. After being split up for a period, No. 99 reassembled at Ambala on 6 June 1942 and began night bombing raids on Japanese bases in Burma in November. In September 1944, the Squadron converted to Liberators for long-range attacks and in July 1945 moved to the Cocos Islands in preparation for the invasion of Malaya. 

After flying some anti-shipping strikes over the Dutch East Indies the Squadron was disbanded on 15 November 1945. On 17 November 1945, No. 99 reformed at Lyneham with Yorks as a transport Squadron and re-equipped with Hastings in August 1949. During the Suez operations, the Squadron dropped parachute troops on Port Said from bases in Cyprus and in the summer of 1959 it received Britannias. These were flown on the main routes of Transport Command and its successor, Air Support Command, around the world, until disbandment on 6 January 1976. 

The first of 4 Boeing C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft, leased to meet the Royal Air Force's short term strategic airlifter requirement, arrived in May 2001. No. 99 Squadron was reformed earlier in the year to operate the aircraft in the strategic airlift role at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.


Motto: Quisque Tenax - 'Each Tenacious'.
Badge: A Puma salient.
No. 2 Group 

Also known as the Air Combat Support Group, No. 2 Group controls the Strategic and Tactical air transport aircraft, the RAF Regiment and the RAF's Air to Air Refuelling aircraft.

Number 2 Group came into existence on the same day as the Royal Air Force - 1 April 1918 and had its headquarters in Oxford as part of No 1 Area which later became South Eastern Area. The following year the Group was retitled No 2 (Training) Group moving to Uxbridge at the same time to form part of Southern Area. The title was short-lived however, as the Group was reduced to a cadre within months and disbanded in March 1920.

The new structure of the RAF in 1936 saw the resurrection of No 2 Group, this time as a part of Bomber Command, and was with its headquarters at Abingdon. During the remainder of the year, the Group to control of various Hind squadrons including Nos 21 and 34 based at Abbotsinch and No 83 at Turnhouse. By the turn of the year had also added to Nos 98, 104 and 49 Squadrons with Hinds and Nos 35 and 207 Squadrons with Fairey Gordons. Further units continued to transfer to No 2 Group and the first Battles and Blenheims arrived during 1937 followed by the first Hampden heavy bombers a year later.

A Blenheim of No 139 Squadron carried out possibly the RAF's first operational sortie of World War II when, on 3 September 1939, it observed the German Navy fleet anchored at Schillig Roads. The crew unfortunately were unable to report their findings as their wireless had frozen up! The following day, fifteen Blenheims from Wattisham and Wyton carried out the RAF's first bombing attack of the war when they attacked German battleships. Unfortunately, the mission also saw two airmen captured as the first RAF prisoners of war. The Group then switched its focus to the north and its aircraft became in the campaign against Germany's invasion of Norway and the Low Countries. These actions ultimately proved unsuccessful and the Group switched to bombing the German invasion force massing in France.In 1941, the Group's first VC was awarded to Wing Commander Hughie Evans for his outstanding leadership of a formation of Blenheims during a raid on Bremen. One of the strangest missions flown by No 2 Group's aircraft was during August 1941, one aircraft of No 18 Squadron dropped a box over St Omer airfield containing an artificial leg. It was a spare for Wing Commander Douglas Bader. In the following year, the Group joined the 1,000-bomber raids with its Blenheims and Bostons and No 105 Squadron received the first Mosquitos.

With preparations for the invasion of Europe gathering pace, No 2 Group was earmarked to join the 2nd Tactical Air Force, and its intruder missions over France increased as D-Day drew close. During this time, Mosquitos of Nos 21, 464 and 3487 Squadron s carried out 'Operation Jericho' - a remarkable feat of precision bombing on Amiens prison. This was followed in 1944 by an equally daring, and successful, raid by No 613 Squadron on the German Gestapo Headquarters in the Hague. Flying at only fifty feet, two bombs entered the front doors and a further two entered through the windows on either side. The building, which held all the German records of the Dutch population was destroyed. Six months later, 25 aircraft from the same units repeated their achievement by bombing the Gestapo Headquarters in Aarhus in Denmark. One aircraft flew so low, that it deposited its tailwheel and half its tailplane in the roof of the building! By May 1945, the Group had flown 57,000 sorties for the loss of of 2,671 airmen killed or missing.

After the war, No 2 Group remained on the continent as part of the occupation forces until it was disbanded in May 1947 - only to reform 18 months later to control RAF aircraft involved in the Berlin Airlift . The following decade was spent in Germany and control of all squadrons in the country passed to 2 Group until November 1958 when the Group was disbanded. Following the RAF's run-down of its forces in Germany in the 1990s, No 2 Group was reactivated to take over from RAF Germany in April 1993. This reformation only lasted for three years when the Group was disbanded and its assets handed over to No 1 Group.

Motto: Vincemus - 'We will conquer'.

Badge: An eagle perched on a helmet with wings extended. The badge symbolises No 2 Group's co-operation and close alliance with the Army.

No. 2 Group Stations and their Squadrons
RAF Brize Norton
99th Squadron - (C-17)
101st Squadron (VC-10)
216th Squadron (K1,KC1, C2, C2A)
RAF Lyneham
24th Squadron (C-130)
30th Squadron (C-130)
47th Squadron (C-130)
LXX Squadron (C-130)
RAF Northolt
32nd Squadron (BAe125s, BAe146, HCC1)

2 Group also responsible for RAF Regiment, DNBCC Winterbourne Gunner & Air Combat Service Support Units lodged at various stations throughout UK.

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