Archive for the month of June 1993
The primary task of 303 Search And Rescue Squadron was to search for and rescue bailed out military pilots and crew members near the live firing range Vliehors, Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation (ACMI) range on the North Sea or the Temporary Reserved Air spaces (TRA) north of the Wadden islands.
World War II
During the first year of the Second World War, Dutch pilots escaped to France and the UK. Some of them ended up in 167 (Gold Coast) Squadron. When B-flight almost solely consisted of Dutch pilots, the squadron was re-designated 322 (Dutch) Squadron Royal Air Force on June 12, 1943, mostly at the initiative of His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard.
At that time, the squadron was stationed in Woodvale — near Liverpool — but the squadron operated from several other bases. British bases: Hawkinge, Acklington, Hartford Bridge, West Malling, Deanland, Biggin Hill, Dutch bases: Woensdrecht, Schijndel, Twenthe and German fields: Varrelbusch and Wunstorf.
At all locations, the squadron operated the same type of aircraft: the famous Spitfire. The operational tasks were not that one-sided: escorting bombers en route to France, intercepting V-1 rockets, supporting operations in France and supporting troops on the ground.
322 Squadron also participated in the Battle of Arnhem and the air fights in the corridor in the province of Brabant, Netherlands. In this period the squadron lost 18 members; their names are still mentioned on the squadron's list of honor.
On January 3, 1945, 322 Squadron was transferred to the Netherlands for the first time to Woensdrecht Air Base, in the already liberated part of the country.
In October 1945 322 Squadron was deactivated but after the war, in September 1947 the squadron — still operating the Spitfire — was sent to the Dutch Indies, to bases in Kalidjati and Kalibanteng. In October 1949 the squadron was moved back to the Netherlands and was again deactivated.
In 1951 322 Squadron was reactivated and moved to Twenthe Air Base, still operating the Spitfire. Later, the squadron was moved to Soesterberg Air Base. The Spitfire was replaced by the Gloster Meteor in July 1952 and the Hawker Hunter in January 1958.
Spitfire Mk.IX at Soesterberg
In October 1960 the squadron was moved to the tropics once again — to New Guinea — for air defense tasks. After its return to the Netherlands in 1962 the squadron was deactivated for the third time. In April 1964 322 Squadron was reactivated again and transferred to its current location Leeuwarden Air Base as an air defense squadron, operating the Lockheed F-104.
F-104G armed with AIM-9B missiles
With the decommissioning of the F-104, an era of almost 30 years of pure air defense came to an end. A few years after the last F-104 had left the squadron, 322 became operational on the Lockheed Martin F-16 on May 1, 1981, as the first F-16 operating squadron of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. The squadron's task was extended from sole air defense to ground attack as well as air defense.
During the conflict in the Balkans, 322 Squadron was part of the first units contributing to the effort to enforce compliance with UN resolution 816 banning all flights in the airspace of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The squadron crest of 322 Squadron consists of a red-tailed parrot on a white background. The parrot also is the squadron's mascot and is called Polly Grey V, currently in the rank of Sergeant-Major. The first parrot was brought from West Africa by one of the pilots and was soon integrated in the squadron crest, after Royal permission in March 1944, when the squadron crest with an image of the parrot was handed over by King George VI.
The first Polly Grey was — unlike most parrots — unable to imitate speech, which soon led to the motto Niet Praten, Maar Doen (don't talk, just act).
Photo: ©1993 STP
"50 years 322 Squadron." Aircraft J-215 in special color scheme during the squadron's 50th anniversary in June 1993.
|322 Squadron chronology|
|12Jun1943||Woodvale, UK||Spitfire Mk.Vb/Vc||167 RAF Sqn transferred from Westhampnett to
Woodvale and renamed to 322 Dutch Sqn RAF.
Squadron code VL adopted from 167 Sqn.
|27Dec1943||Hawkinge||,,||Transferred to first operational base.|
|10Mrt1944||Acklington||Spitfire Mk.XIV||Transferred to Acklington. Spitfire V replaced by XIV.|
|23Apr1944||Hartford Bridge||,,||Transferred to Hartford Bridge, Blackbushe, UK because of the invasion in Normandia.|
|20Jun1944||West Maling||,,||In connection with V-1 offensive transferred.|
|Aug1944||,,||Spitfire L.F. IXb||Spitfire XIV replaced by L.F. IXb in behalf of ground attack role.|
|10Oct1944||Fairford||,,||Dive bombing training at Fairwood Common.|
|30Oct1944||Biggin Hill||Spitfire L.F. XVIe||Transferred. Spitfire IX replaced by L.F. XVIe in behalf of dive bombing.|
|3Jan1945||Woensdrecht, NL||,,||Transferred to The Netherlands.|
|18Apr1945||Twenthe||,,||Transferred. Squadron code VL changed into 3W.|
|27Apr1945||Varrelbusch||,,||Last operational flight on May 7, 1945, from Varrelbusch.|
|6Oct1945||Lasham, UK||,,||Transferred. Unit disbanded.|
|27Sep1946||Twenthe, NL||Spitfire Mk.IX||Activation of 322 Jachtvliegtuigafdeling (JaVa, Fighter aircraft section).|
|17Feb1947||,,||,,||Name changed into 322 Squadron.|
|9Sep1947||-||-||Unit deployed to Dutch Indies.|
|6Nov1947||Semarang||Spitfire Mk.IX||Name changed into 322 Spitfire Squadron.|
|19Mar1948||,,||,,||All 20 aircraft combat ready.|
|1Sep1949||,,||,,||End of operational flights. Unit transferred to The Netherlands in October 1949.|
|1Feb1951||,,||,,||322 Spitfore Squadron designated as Maandvliegsqadron (Monthly Flying Squadron).|
|Jul1952||,,||Meteor F.Mk.4/T.Mk.7||Spitfires replaced by Meteor. Name changed into 322 Squadron (Interceptor Day Fighter).|
|Sep1953||,,||Meteor F.Mk.8/T.Mk.7||Squadron changed over to Mk.8.|
|1Jan1958||,,||Hunter F.Mk.4||Meteor replaced by Hunter.|
|21Nov1960||Biak, New Guinea||Hunter F.Mk.4/Alouette II||First flight of Hunter N-101 from Naval Air Station Boeroekoe.
Unit owned 12 Hunters and 2 Alouette's.
|Dec1961||,,||Hunter F.Mk.4/F.Mk.6/Al.II||Hunter F.Mk.4 supplemented by F.Mk.6.|
|5Oct1962||-||-||Transferred to The Netherlands.
On November 31 of that year, the aircraft were returned.
|1Apr1964||Leeuwarden, NL||(T)F-104G||Reactivated as 322 Squadron AWX (All Weather Interceptor).|
|1Jan1980||,,||,,||Phasing out of F-104G. Squadron not operational.|
|1May1981||,,||F-16A/B||Partially operational with F-16.|
|1Sep1981||,,||,,||All aircraft operational.|
|6Aug1992||,,||,,||Sqn completes 2000th RNLAF flight hour (J-251 - Block-10)|
|18Sep1997||,,||F-16AM/BM||Delivery of first upgraded F-16.|
|01Jul1998||,,||F-16AM/BM||Initial Operational Capability.|
Joint NATO / WEU Operation
NATO ships belonging to the Alliance's Standing Naval Force Mediterranean (STANAVFORMED), assisted by NATO Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA), began monitoring operations in the Adriatic in July 1992. These operations were undertaken in support of the UN arms embargo against all republics of the former Yugoslavia (according to United Nations Security Council Resolution 713) and the sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) according to United Nations Security Council Resolution 757.