(This article was written by Andrew Thomas and originally appeared in the magazine
Scale Aircraft Modeling March 1992. The copyright belongs to Andrew and the History must not
be downloaded or used without his written permission.)
Over recent years successive defence reviews and cutbacks have led to a continual reduction
in the size of the Royal Air Force. One set of defence cuts during the mid-1970s led to the
disbandment of many squadrons, particularly those flying in second line or support roles. As a
result many famous and long serving squadrons have been relegated to the pages of history. One
of these was No.98 Squadron which had a long and distinguished history dating back to World War 1.
No.98 Squadron formed at Harlaxton, Lincs on 30 August 1917 from a nucleus of No.44 Training
Squadron and moved to Old Sarum the following day. Under temporary command of Lieutenant D.V.D.
Marshall it was destined to be a day bombing unit but initially began working up with a variety of
Dh.4s, Be.2s and Fk.8s. Training continued through the winter under Major E.L.M. Gower and in
February 1918 the squadron's operational type, the Dh.9, began arriving. Under the new Commanding
Officer, Major H. MacD. O'Malley, it trained to an operational standard in spite of the unreliability
of the Dh.9s engines. The squadron mobilised in March and on 3 April 1918 moved to Clairmarais on
the Western Front as part of the 9th Brigade.
BATTLE OF THE LYS
The Battle of the Lys began on the 9th and two days later No.98 began operations when 15 aircraft
were detailed for a bombing attack on Wervicq. One crashed on take-off and two returned with engine
trouble but the remainder bombed successfully. The great German offensive was in full swing and the
following day it was busy attacking enemy lines of communications. However, on the evening of the
13th it was forced to withdraw to Alquines from where attacks on the advancing enemy continued,
mainly in the Armentiers and Bailleul area. Enemy opposition was often fierce and during an attack
on Gheluwe on 25 April the three Dh.9s were attacked by Pfalz scouts. One aircraft, C6079, was shot
down and Lieutenants Gillan and Duce were taken prisoner. This was the squadron's first loss to enemy
action. A further loss occurred on 15 May when C1169 flown by Lieutenant Lamont was shot down.
On 25 May the squadron moved north to Coudekerke near Dunkirk for attacks on the docks and U-boat
bases at Bruges and Ostend. This lasted until early June when on the 6th the new Commanding Officer,
Major Newton-Clare, led the squadron to Ruisseauville from where attacks on the enemy railway system
became the main activity. The junctions around the industrial towns of Courtrai and Tournai were
regularly attacked. These raids were usually strongly opposed by large formations of enemy scouts
and losses were steady. No.98's score was also mounting and on 11 July during a raid on the railway
junction at Don its Dh.9s were attacked by 14 enemy scouts. Second Lieutenant Witton and his observer,
Lieutenant Austin destroyed two, though the latter was killed in the action.
THE MARNE AND AMIENS
Three days after this action No.98 formed part of the RAF reinforcement sent to aid the French along
the Marne. Thus the squadron was moved to Chailly-en-Brie, some 30 miles east of Paris, once more part
of the 9th Brigade. No.98 went quickly into action as the French fought to contain a massive German
offensive in what became known as the Second Battle of the Marne. Low-level attacks were the order of
the day with bridges over the Marne important targets. Gradually the French stabilised their line and
began to wrest the initiative from the enemy and push them back. The fighting in the air was fierce and
a raid by `A' Flight on the afternoon of 28 July was attacked by 15 enemy aircraft resulting in Di717
being forced down. The following day eight more aircraft made attacks on the enemy line and another
flew a reconnaissance. These proved to be the squadron's final sorties over Champagne as on 3 August
it moved to Blangermont in the British sector. There on the 8th the Battle of Amiens began with No.98
initially attacking enemy airfields before switching in the evening to attacks on the railways. One
formation of three from 'B' Flight led by Captain Powell in D3078 attacked Peronne. Powell and his
observer, Captain Whitfield were attacked and forced down by two Fokker D.VIIs to become prisoners of war.
No.98's Dh.9s such as D3053/E and D7224/H wore the standard colours of khaki brown top surfaces and
doped linen undersides with six position roundels and striped rudders. Rudder serials were black whilst
the fuselage serial and aircraft letter were white. Some aircraft also wore a US style star on the nose
at one time.
Bombing raids continued through August against targets around Arras, Cambrai and St Quentin still in
the face of strong opposition. Late in the month Major P.C. Sherren assumed command. During one raid
against railway sidings at Cambrai on 3 September the Dh.9s were attacked by a group of Fokkers several
of which were driven down. However, one aircraft returned with a dead observer whilst another, flown
by Lieutenants Ingram and Denits, was shot down and they were killed. As Allied armies gradually
advanced so No.98 maintained its attacks on communications and airfields. To reduce the range to the
enemy, on 27 September it moved east to Abscon near Douai. For No.98, however, the 30th was a black
day. During a raid on Mons over 30 enemy scouts attacked the Dh.9s and their escort of No.19 Squadron's
Dolphins. No.98's gunners claimed four Fokkers but four Dh.9s went down and two more crashed on landing.
Bombing operations then tailed off in November, its final bombing raid being by six Dh.9s against a rail
junction near Mons on the 1st; one aircraft being lost. The squadron then flew on reconnaissance work
until the Armistice on the 11th halted all operations, its final war sorties being a reconnaissance by
two Dh.9s that morning.
No.98's period of operations had seen it heavily engaged in the final great battles on the Western
Front during which it had dropped some 84½ tons of bombs. It had also destroyed 40 enemy aircraft in
the air and claimed 35 driven out of control. Members of the squadron had won five DFCs, a DFM and an
MSM. However, 26 aircraft were lost with 41 aircrew killed or missing and 16 more taken prisoner - a
After the Armistice the squadron moved several times, ending up at Alquines in mid-January 1919.
There it acted as a holding unit for personnel of disbanding Dh.9 squadrons until March 1919. It then
returned to Shotwick as a cadre which was disbanded on 24 June.
No.98 was eventually reformed as part of the great expansion of the RAF during the mid-1930s on
17 February 1936 from a nucleus provided by No.15 Squadron. Based at Abingdon it was part of No.1
Group Bomber Command equipped with Hinds for the day bombing role. It initially had only two officers
and six aircraft but gradually expanded through the spring and summer. In May it had an armament camp
at North Coates but had its first accident there when K5378 crashed offshore. By the end of July it
was sufficiently worked up to participate in the large scale air exercises to test London's defences
and in late August it moved to Hucknall to No.2 Group. Squadron Leader Hume-Wright, the Commanding
Officer, arrived in September as No.98 completed its work-up and continued training with air exercises
and armament camps. The Hinds, such as K5380, K6613 and L7200, were silver overall with six position
Type `A' roundels, black serials and the squadron number in Flight colours on the fuselage.
Training and exercises continued through 1937, though it had a bad patch in the late spring
losing four aircraft in accidents. Squadron Leader R.H. Donkin assumed command at the beginning
of August and the squadron continued on its leisurely peacetime routine. The Hind was an interim
type and so in June 1938 No.98 re-equipped with more modern aircraft in the shape of the Fairey
Battle. These, such as K9199 and K9202, had dark earth and dark green camouflage with black
undersides. Fuselage and rudder serials were black, those under the wing being white whilst roundels
were Type 'A1'.
The squadron immediately began working up to an operational pitch, a process given new impetus
when the so-called `Munich Crisis' broke in September. It went on to a war footing, aircraft
markings were toned down and squadron codes added. No.98's were believed to be `QF' as on K9638/QF,
but photographic proof that they were worn is lacking. In April 1939 it was affiliated with the
City of Derby, an association which was to last many years.
Training and exercises continued through the summer but when war was declared in September 1939,
instead of moving to France with the AASF, No.98 was redesignated as a reserve squadron. Its task
was to provide operational training for crews destined for the front line Battle squadrons in France.
September also saw Wing Commander Dixon-Wright become CO but he was replaced in October by Wing
Commander D.F. Anderson, DFC, AFC. Under him the squadron continued its duties, providing a steady
flow of trained crews to the front line, a process not without incident; K9238 crashed near Stow on
the Wold on 7 November and K9467 crashing a month later.
98 Sqn personnel at Hucknall - September 1939 (Thanks to James Robinson.)
On the outbreak of war the squadron's code letters changed to 'VO' and they were worn in grey
as on K9202/VO-. To assist in its training task in November it received ten dual control Battle
(Trainers) like P6756 which it used alongside the Mk.IIs. During the winter the squadron had several
detachments, to Up-wood, Bassingbourn and to Old Sarum, the latter for smoke laying trials.
In March 1940 No.98 moved, via Scampton, to Finningley where on the 25th Wing Commander G.R.
Ashton, AFC, became CO. On 16 April he led the squadron to France where it was quickly established
at Chateau Bougon near Nantes. However, it was not destined for operations but over the next few
weeks received crews from England to complete their training in theatre. This task increased
following the heavy losses suffered by the Battle squadrons after the German attack which began
on 10 May. It is not believed that No.98 flew any operations itself before it was withdrawn to
the UK. Thus it moved to Gatwick in mid June to rebuild, leaving a number of its Battles including
K4201, K4202, K4218 and K9452 wrecked in France. The ground party was evacuated via St Nazaire on
the SS Lancastria. Tragically, she was bombed just outside the harbour with heavy loss of life,
including 90 of No.98's personnel.
After the disaster in France during June and July the squadron was rebuilt and re-equipped,
once again with Battles, for its next task. To prevent the enemy establishing bases there it
was decided to garrison Iceland and No.98 formed part of the force. It began moving at the end
of July and the groundcrew arrived by sea on the 31st. The aircraft only got as far as Wick where
they were delayed by bad weather. Eventually the first formation left on 27 August escorted by a
Sunderland and arrived safely at Kaldadarnes, some 30 miles south east of Reykjavik. The second
arrived in mid-September.
No.98 Squadron was the first based in Iceland and although trained as a bomber unit it would
mainly fly on coastal patrol and anti-submarine duties. Operations had begun in early September
but the harsh climate and often fierce weather sometimes prevented flying or led to losses;
L5343/VO-S was the first and went missing on the 13th. Interestingly many years later it was found,
restored and placed in the RAF Museum. By this stage the aircraft wore broad fin stripes but
otherwise the colours remained the same.
Anti-submarine patrols and convoy escorts were flown with the unsuitable Battles through the
winter into 1941 whenever weather permitted. Shipping and weather reconnaissances were also flown
and No.98 also exercised with the local anti-aircraft defences. With the spring came better weather
and its Battles were more able to fly effective sorties. Its first contact with the enemy came on
22 March when Flight Lieutenant Wilcox in L5547 spotted a U-boat but could not attack. Seven days
later Sergeant Talbot in L5063 sighted and attacked another but without result. At the end of the
month Flight Lieutenant Wilcox became the acting CO. By this time No.98 had detachments at Akureyri
on the north east coast to extend range. Patrols continued and on 26 May the squadron lost another
aircraft when P2330 went missing.
As the Battles were of little use against marauding enemy aircraft, on 8 June the first
Hurricane I arrived, Z4045 being one example. Operations with Battles continued and on the 26th
Pilot Officer Dyer found and attacked another U-boat, again without result. This was the squadron's
final fling, however, as shortly afterwards the Battles were shipped off to Canada and the Hurricanes
became No.1423 Flight. The squadron was disbanded on 15 July.
By mid-1942 there was a steady stream of American lend-lease aircraft flowing into Britain,
including the B-25 Mitchell medium bomber. No.98 was therefore reformed at West Raynham on 12
September 1942 as the first squadron to receive this aircraft which it would use for daylight bombing
and army support. Commanded by Wing Commander L.A. Lewer, the squadron came under No.2 Group and its
first three Mitchell Mk.IIs, Fl169, Fl178 and Fl179, were delivered on the 13th. By 28 September it
had 22 on strength and began a lengthy work up period along with No.180 Squadron, also with Mitchells.
On 15 October it moved to Foulsham and two days later suffered its first loss when Fw206 spun into the
ground. The squadron trained hard but was hampered by the muddy airfield at Foulsham and teething
troubles on the aircraft, particularly the gun turrets. It was finally declared operational in December
but was initially restricted to ASR searches.
The squadron's first bombing raid came on 22 January 1943 when it contributed six Mitchells, with
six from No.180, to an attack on an oil refinery and storage tanks at Terneuzen near Ghent. Led
by the CO in Fv186/VO-R, the aircraft took off at 1400 hrs but one returned early. As they approached
the target the Mitchells encountered accurate flak and Fl693/VO-O flown by Pilot Officer Woods, was hit
and blew up. As they egressed after bombing they were attacked by FW 190s and had a difficult time
before No.169 Squadron's Mustangs arrived to give cover. It was a disappointing start and until the
armament problems were resolved the squadron reverted to ASR work, flying the first on 3 February.
In March No.98 took part in Exercise `Spartan', a large tactical exercise and flew further ASR
sorties - 16 in April for example. It returned to medium level bombing operations on 13 May when six
aircraft hit the marshalling yards at Boulogne though Fl197 was lost. The squadron began flying
regular operations when conditions were suitable, usually under fighter escort, though in early June
most missions were aborted. Things picked up after the 13th with raids on Flushing, Rotterdam and
Brest. July saw eight raids with targets as varied as rail installations at Amiens and St Omer to the
Fokker works in Holland. Usually flying to `boxes' of six aircraft, No.98 flew nine raids in August
and on the 18th it moved to Dunsfold where Wing Commander A.M. Phillips took command.
No.98's Mitchell Tls such as Fl704/VO-S, Fv983/VO-B and Fw203/VO-T, wore dark green upper and
medium grey lower surfaces with Type `B' roundels above the wing and Type 'C1' on the fuselage.
Type `C' fin flashes were worn; serials were black while codes were red. The aircraft letter was
on the nose together with any personal decoration - Fv914/VO-A had the arms of the City of Derby for
The main threat to No.98's aircraft came from accurate enemy flak as the fighter escort usually
kept the Luftwaffe at bay. However, on 21 September, when being led to Hesdin by Pilot Officer
Cooke-Smith, enemy fighters broke through. FW 190s damaged Fw674 and Fv944 ditched in the Channel but
Fl683 went down with its crew. In November No.2 Group became part of the newly formed 2nd Tactical
Air Force in preparation for the invasion of Europe; No.98 formed part of No.139 Airfield (later Wing).
Launch sites for enemy V1 flying bombs had been discovered in northern France and these became priority
targets. They were small and well defended, No.98's first attack being on Mimoyecques near Calais on 5
November with Squadron Leader Bell-Irving leading. The Mitchells were fitted with Gee to aid navigation
but the attack was not successful and was repeated. On the 11th the CO in Fv938/VO-W led a raid on the
Todt labour organisation headquarters, which was struck again on the 25th. Attacks on V I sites,
codenamed `Noball' continued into 1944 with No.98 making its first attack of the year on 4 January
against Yvrench. These continued and in early February it successfully used the GeeH blind bombing
system during a raid on Livossart with Flight Lieutenant Chandler as the lead navigator.
Daylight raids, often in company with the rest of No.139 Wing - Nos.180 and 320 Squadrons -
continued into the spring, including a training period at Swanton Morley. However, in late March it
also began night training on flare dropping trials for Mosquito attacks on road traffic. Weather
occasionally interfered with operations, but preparations for the invasion 'continued and it flew its
first night sortie to a `Noball' target in mid-April, shortly after Wing Commander Bell-Irving assumed
command. He was replaced in May by Wing Commander G.J.C. Paul, DFC, however. Further night trials
were successfully flown and attacks deep into Belgium and France continued, mainly against
communications targets as the invasion approached.
Shortly before D-Day No.98's Mitchells had broad black and white AEAF stripes applied and thus
coloured they were tasked with bombing or illuminating targets behind the invasion area. Eleven
aircraft hit Caen on the night prior to the landings and on the night of 6-7 June the squadron hit
enemy positions at Villers Bocage and Falaise and continued this on succeeding days. These included
attacks on concentrations of armour around Chateau de la Caine and in the Foret de Grimbosq, but on
the latter Flight Lieutenant W E Dawes and crew were lost. Some flare dropping missions were also flown
but following V1 attacks on London the Mitchells were switched to attacks on `Noballs' once again. It
also participated in some of the heavy attacks on Caen in support of the Army.
July continued to be busy with attacks on fuel depots being a feature and whilst flak continued
to be a problem, enemy fighters were not. During a raid on Alenconc on the 17th Squadron Leader Eager
flew his 100th mission and on 23 July came a raid on the rail yards at Glos Monfort. The three `boxes'
led by the CO, Squadron Leader Paynter and Flight Lieutenant Brown, but as bombs fell from Fv985/VO-S
they exploded, the wreckage hitting FW 122/VO-R which fell in flames taking Flight Lieutenant Weekes
crew with it. Fl186/VO-G was also damaged but Flying Officer Berry crash-landed it in Normandy. The
explosion also damaged Fv931/VO-H which also crash-landed. It was a heavy blow for the squadron. The
climax to this critical period came a few days later with a large raid on a fuel dump at Fontainbleau
and a night raid on enemy positions near Caen.
August continued with more raids on fuel and munitions dumps and close support to the Army in the
heavy fighting around Caen. This demanded accurate bombing due to the proximity of friendly troops.
By the middle of the month the shattered German 7th Army was retreating across the Seine and a maximum
effort to destroy them around Falaise was made. In addition to bombing No.98 also engaged in flare
dropping at night for other bombers. However, as the retreat gathered speed there was a problem in
finding suitable targets so many of the enemy pockets by-passed in the Channel ports were attacked -
Boulogne on the night of 8-9 September for example. Two nights later No.98's Mitchells illuminated
the Breskens ferry for Mosquitos but FW 167 was lost to flak off Vlissingen [Flushing].
Then on 17 September came the Allied air-borne thrust into Holland - Operation `Market Garden'.
No.98 and the No.139 Wing squadrons attacked barracks at Ede, Nijmegen and Arnhem but due to subsequent
poor weather close support to the beleaguered paras at Arnhem proved difficult. Mortar and gun positions
were bombed on the 25th for which there was no close escort and the squadron lost two aircraft to FW 190s.
The following day it attacked Germany for the first time when it hit bridges at Kleve. The fortified
towns along the Rhine then became regular targets.
To reduce the range to targets in early October No.139 Wing began moving to the Continent and
No.98, now led by Wing Commander C.G. Hamer, moved to B.58 Brussels-Melsbroek on the 18th. Bad
weather prevented many operations initially however. The squadron also began receiving some Mitchell
IIIs, the first Hd371/VO-J arriving on 9 November. They wore similar colours to the Mk.IIs with
Hd372/VO-D and Kj644/ VO-B being examples, these being operated alongside the Mk.IIs.
Nos.98 and 180 Squadrons attacked and damaged the bridge at Zwolle on 29 November during which
the CO's aircraft was badly hit. He bombed and after baling out most of the crew brought Fw192/VO-Y
in to a safe landing. In December the weather worsened and under its cover on the 16th, the German
Ardennes offensive began. Initially the Allied Air Forces were grounded but when the weather cleared
on the 23rd heavy air attacks on enemy armour, communications and supply routes began. On the 24th
No.98 hit Kali and Gemunde whilst on Christmas Day Tondorff, Stadtkyll and Recht were attacked.
Fw262 was damaged over the latter and the navigator, Flight Sergeant Nichol mortally wounded.
New Year's Day 1945 began with No.98 launching 12 Mitchells on a Wing attack on the Ardennes
communications centre at Domburg. After they left, Melsbroek was hit by waves of enemy fighters as
part of the great Luftwaffe attack and five of the squadron's aircraft were wrecked; those airborne
diverted to Epinoy on return. During January the weather was appalling but when possible enemy troops
and support in the Ardennes was hit but by mid-January the enemy thrust was halted.
No.98 then began preparing the way for Operation `Veritable', the advance to the Rhine, with
some effective GR blind bombing. The offensive began on 8 February during which Bostons and Mitchells
hit Kranenburg just 100 yards ahead of the advancing Canadians. Other communications centres west of
the Rhine at Geldern, Xanten, Uedem and Weeze were successfully hit too. During Operation `Clarion',
a massive effort against enemy road and rail facilities, on the 22nd No.98 operated over Holland.
At the end of the month Wing Commander V.E. Marshall became CO. Support to the Anglo-American armies
clearing the enemy west of the Rhine continued into March, though poor weather restricted operations.
No.139 Wing had a rare encounter with the Luftwaffe on 12 March but No.98 escaped without loss, though
it did lose Hd376 against Bocholt on the 20th.
Operation `Varsity', the crossing of the Rhine at Wesel began on 24 March and support to the Army
continued as the 21st Army Group pushed deep into Germany as the Third Reich collapsed. The excellent
weather in April ensured that it was kept busy; however, the rapid advance to Bremen and the Weser meant
fewer targets. The Elbe was crossed on 29 April and the following day the squadron moved to B.110 Achmer
to catch up with the advance. There was little left to bomb, however and No.98 flew its final
operational missions on 2 May when six Mitchells bombed marshalling yards at Itzehoe.
In spite of the rapid post-war rundown No.98 was retained as part of the British Air Forces of
Occupation. Over the next few months its Mitchells, mainly Mk.llls, were engaged in ferrying, mail
duties and flying tours over bombed cities. The lend-lease Mitchells had to be returned so in September
the squadron returned to B.58 Melsbroek where it began to receive Mosquito B.XVIs, most of which came
from No.571 Squadron. The last Mitchell II, Fw229, left on 29 October.
Training occupied No.98 for the next few months but interspersed with which it ferried news reports
to Blackbushe during the Nuremburg war crimes trials. Having worked up on its Mosquitos, it moved under
Wing Commander Thornewill the new CO, to Wahn in March 1946. From there it continued on routine peacetime
training in the light bombing role and suffered Its first post war fatalities when Mm185/VO-E crashed on
23 September. The Mosquito B.XVIs such as Pf956/VO-T and Rv340/VO-M wore dark green/dark sea grey/medium
grey camouflage with Type 'C/C1' markings. Serials were black and codes red whilst the squadron badge
within a white disc, was carried on the fin.
With increasing tension over Berlin, in mid-1947 the squadron began mounting regular detachments to
Gatow and forward bases were manned in case of escalation. In November Squadron Leader P.W. Cook assumed
command and in August the following year he supervised the conversion to the Mosquito B.35. These, such
as Rs718/VO-W, Tj120/VO-Z and Vp181/VO-B wore the same markings as the B.16s but had Type 'D' markings
and black outlined codes. In September 1949 No.98 moved to Celle and shortly afterwards made a liaison
visit to the French Air Force at Orleans. With various Western Alliances formed the squadron was kept
busy on a regular series of exercises. One such was Exercises `Cupola' in August 1950 and in November
it moved once more, this time to Fassberg
There in February 1951 No.98 began disposing of the Mosquitos and re-equipped with Vampire FB.5s
for ground attack fighter duties. The following month Squadron Leader A.S.R. Strudwick, DFC, assumed
command as No.98 began working up on its jets which included regular periods at the armament camp at
Sylt. Life became a series of these camps, exercises and detachments as 2 TAF (as BAFO had become)
squadrons had to be highly mobile. During one APC at Sylt in August 1952 Wa367 was lost in a bizarre
accident it shot away the towed target flag which then wrapped around its air intakes forcing the
Vampire to crash land! The Vampire FB.5s such as Wa203/L-P, WA4I7/L-G and Wg832/L-F wore dark
green/dark sea grey/ PRU blue camouflage, black serials and Type `D' markings. The unit code letter
`L', aircraft letter and serials were black and the nose bore the Fassberg Wing red lightning flash.
In August 1953 No.98 became the second squadron of No.121 Wing at Fassberg to re-equip with the
Venom FB.1 and also received a new Commanding Officer when Squadron Leader Smith-Carrington took over.
As it worked up on its new mount so the number of exercises increased with the emphasis on mobility.
Occasionally the Venoms operated off stretches of autobahn with the squadron living under canvas.
One such exercise was `Battle Royal' in September 1954 when No.121 Wing flew as part of the `Northland'
force. Rocket and cannon firing were done on the ranges at Sylt and occasionally in Libya. It also
took part in the annual UK air defence exercises when the Venoms were used as high level intruders.
The Venom FB.1s like We366/L-R, We380/L-B and Wk413/L-Z wore the same colours as the Vampires had.
In April 1955 the squadron moved to Jever and immediately began re-equipping with the Hunter F.4
for day fighter duties; it being the first Hunter squadron in 2 TAF. Still part of No.121 Wing with
Nos.4, 93 and 118 Squadrons it soon converted to its potent and handsome new mount. Sessions of
practice interceptions became the routine with air-to-air firing still done at Sylt where 98
consistently achieved high scores.
The Hunter F.4s like Wt742/A, Ww649/E and Xe667/Z wore the usual dark green/dark grey/silver
colours with standard markings. No.98, however, introduced its attractive white zig-zag marking of
a red rectangle which flanked the roundels.
Squadron Leader D. Adamson assumed command in December 1955 and the squadron continued the
routine for a time. The 1957 Defence Review called for massive cuts in the RAF's manned fighter
force and No.98 was an early victim as it was disbanded at Jever on 15 July 1957.
Part of the rationale behind the 1957 Review was that missiles could do an aircraft's job more
effectively. One of the missile systems subsequently acquired by the RAF was the Thor intermediate range
ballistic missile which was deployed in squadrons of three. Several squadrons made up a Missile Wing.
Thus when No.98 reformed at Driffield on 1 August 1959 it was a return to the bomber role - albeit with
nuclear missiles. Part of No.1 Group Bomber Command it was commanded by Squadron Leader P.G. Coulson,
MBE, AFC and was the first squadron to be fully equipped. Its three missiles were numbers 31, 32 and 33.
The squadron had its first missile operationally ready on 7 June 1960, another `first' for No.98 which
began the unending routine of practice alerts and countdowns. Indeed, in 1961 the squadron achieved a
record 413 countdowns. May that year saw Squadron Leader S. Hudson become CO but due to its
vulnerability and lengthy warm up time, in 1962 it was decided to withdraw the Thor system. Thus at the
end of March 1963, No.98 stood down its missiles from alert and disbanded on 18 April.
The following day, however, No.98 was reformed at Tangmere when No.245 Squadron was renumbered.
Commanded by Squadron Leader A. Musker, the squadron now flew the Canberra B.2 as part of Signals Command
for the calibration and flight checking of navigation aids and ground radars. In addition to routine
tasks it inherited Operation `Energise' which gave its tasks in several NATO countries. As Tangmere was
due to close, at the end of September 1963 the squadron moved to Watton and was established there by 1
October. The `Energise' detachment had completed its work in Cyprus and Turkey and moved to Larissa in
Greece and in November to Aviano in Italy. The detachment returned to Watton in February 1964 and the
squadron was reduced in size slightly.
No.98's Canberra B.2s such as Wh670/E and Wh611/H were silver overall with black serials, aircraft
letter and Signals Command legend. Type `D' markings were worn and large areas of the aircraft had high
visibility dayglo stripes whilst the squadron badge on the nose was flanked by the red/white squadron marking.
On 30 September 1966 when under command of Squadron Leader P.W. Shaw, No.98 was presented with its
standard - a very proud moment. Shortly afterwards, Squadron Leader Wright became CO but he was replaced
by Squadron Leader A.E. Sadler in January 1967. The squadron continued on its undramatic but important
flight checking duties through the 1960s wherever the RAF operated. By the late 1960s the Canberra B.2s
had received dark grey/dark green camouflage but otherwise markings remained the same, Wk144 and Wk162
being examples. In 1968 Signals Command became No.90 (Signals) Group of Strike Command and the aircraft
then wore this legend. With Watton due for closure, in April 1969 No.98 moved to Cottesmore from where it
continued its duties and in August 1970 began receiving some long range Canberra E.15s. The following year
it retired its B.2s and then flew solely the E.15. These had grey/green/grey camouflage and did not wear
the dayglo patches but did carry a large squadron badge on the fin. Later, the No.90 Group legend was
deleted and a code number added to the fin whilst in 1973 the roundels were toned down, Wh964, Wh981/1 and
Wj756/6 being examples. No.98 remained flying on its calibration duties until following the reductions
required by the 1975 Defence Review it was finally disbanded at Cottesmore on 27 February 1976.