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No. 13 Squadron

Motto: Adjuvamus tuendo - We assist by watching.

No. 13, equipped with PR.9s, started operating from RAF Luqa in 1965, after its arrival from RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus. It remained here until January 72, when it again returned to RAF Akrotiri, until disagreement between the Maltese and British government, mainly on the amount to be paid as rent for the use of Maltese military facilities, were ironed out. Once this issue was settled, the squadron returned on 10 October 1972, this time with a mixed fleet of PR.7s and PR.9s, as well as a couple of T.4s. The first to return were PR.7s WH773, WJ815, WT530, WT532 and T.4s WJ872 & WT478. Additional aircraft returned a few days later.

The last PR.9, XH136, left in October 1976, leaving 13 Squadron with an-all PR.7 fleet, plus a T.4 for pilot training. It continued to operate from RAF Luqa until 29 September 1978, when it flew a nine-aircraft commemorative fly-past, bringing to an end both the Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the end of their operations from Malta. The squadron disbanded, and started departing for RAF Wyton, as from 3 October.

It continued to fly the Canberra until disbandment in 1982, reforming on the Tornado GR.1A at RAF Honington on 1 January 1990, moving to RAF Marham in 1994 and converting to the GR.4/4A. It was again disbanded in May 2011, but reformed in 2012, to operate the MQ-9 Reaper UAV pilotless aircraft, this time based at RAF Waddington.


Update – December 2021

From the RAF Waddington Facebook page.

At the end of November 2021 a small team from XIII Squadron laid up the Squadron’s old Standard in the RAF Chapel at the Anglican Cathedral in Valetta, Malta. This was in recognition of the time served by the Squadron in Malta, flying from Luqa, and the support from the amazing population of that unique Island.

XIII Squadron operated from RAF Luqa, Malta, in the 1960’s up until 1972 with three versions of the British-built English Electric Canberra. The Squadron had arrived from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus and remained on the island until just six months before the RAF base closed, where it then established its new home at RAF Wyton in the UK. With the Squadron’s motto of ‘Adjuvamus Tuendo’, which translates to ‘We assist by watching’, the Canberras from Malta flew hundreds of reconnaissance missions on an annual basis during the tense years of the Cold War.

Having relinquished its Canberras, the Squadron went on to operate the PANAVIA Tornado GR1, and after a brief period of inactivity, was reformed in 2012 operating the MQ-9 Reaper up to this current day.

XIII Squadron was presented with its new (3rd) Standard in July 2021.

WH773 PR.7 d/d 11.09.53, s.o.c. 09.06.81, to 8696M, to Wyton ATC 09.06.81, pres. Charlwood - Museum, Surrey.
WH775 PR.7 To 8128M/8868M, cockpit preserved Welshpool, Powys, Wales.
WH794 PR.7 d/d 23/06/1954, to 8652M 15.07.80, s.o.c. 22.03.83, to Catterick Fire School 01.84, since perished.
WJ815 PR.7 To 8729M at Coningsby, scr. circa 1992.
WJ821 PR.7 To 8668M.
WJ825 PR.7 To 8697M at Honington, to Catterick Fire School 24.10.85, since perished.
WT519 PR.7 To Wyton fire dump, scr. 14.02.06.
WT530 PR.7 This aircraft crashed on take-off (from RAF Luqa) on 07.12.78. (See Accidents page.) The pilot and navigator ejected, but a third airman, occupying the jump seat, perished with the aircraft. The PR.7 was departing for RAF Wyton, its new base, after having served with No.13. I have since received the following e-mail. "The fatality in the WT530 (Canberra) was a trainee navigator and was not in the jump seat but was in the old bomb aimers position...That’s if I remember correctly and I believe that I do."
WT532 PR.7 To 8728M, 8890M.
XH136 PR.9 d/d 1959, to 8782M 08.02.83.
XH166 PR.9 d/d 15.10.82 to FACh as 341
XH167 PR.9 d/d 15.10.82 to FACh as 342, w/o 05.83.
XH171 PR.9 d/d 1960.
XH173 PR.9 d/d 1960, d/d 15.10.1982 to FACh as 343.
XH174 PR.9 d/d 1960
WJ872/2 T.4 At one point in the early seventies, this aircraft served with the Transit Aircraft Servicing Flight. S.o.c. 18.05.76, to 8492M, fuselage to Foulness Island, since scr.
WT478/3 T.4 At one point in the early seventies, this aircraft served with the Transit Aircraft Servicing Flight. Scr. Wyton 07.92.
13 Squadron 37 Squadron 38 Squadron 39 Squadron 73 Squadron 185 Squadron 203 Squadron 222 Squadron 283 Squadron 1357 Meteorological Flight Malta Communications Flight
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