20 June 2024 Military Aviation » Malta-based » Royal AF »  39 Squadron  

No. 39 Squadron

Motto: Die noctuque - By day and night

39 Squadron moved to Malta in January 1955 equipped with Meteors, disbanding at Luqa on 30 June 1958. Another 39 Squadron appeared the next day when No 69 Squadron at Luqa was re-numbered. It operated Canberra PR Mk 3s in the photo-reconnaissance role from Malta until Oct 1962 when PR Mk 9s were received.

In September 1970 it returned to the Wyton were it continued to operate in the same role until disbanding on 1 June 1982. On 1 July 1992, No 1 PRU at Wyton was re-numbered 39, equipped with Canberra PR9s, and moving to RAF Marham in December 1993, adding PR7s to its fleet. The PR7s were gradually retired, as were the PR 9s, until only three remained operational. On 28 July 2006, the squadron was disbanded.

The squadron again reformed in early 2007, becoming the first RAF squadron to operate an unmanned reconnaissance/attack aircraft, the Reaper UAVs.

The following table lists a number of PR.3s that were in Malta in August 1962. These were taken from the article Two weeks in Malta.
WE135/P PR.3 d/d 05/11/1952, to Catterick Fire School 15/11/1972 and burnt.
WE137/A PR.3 Also seen were a/c coded F & J. Finished in overall silver. Tip tanks carried yellow and black arrow head on the tip tanks, in the centre of which was the black number 39. d/d 03/12/1952, to Catterick Fire School 15/11/1972, perished during 1974.
WE138/B PR.3 d/d 21/03/53, sold as scrap 16/12/67 at Lyneham to B A Taylor of West Bromwich, Birmingham.
WE139/C PR.3 d/d 03/02/53.
WE144/D PR.3 d/d 19/05/1953, to Rudloe Manor 16/06/1972, since scr.
WE168/E PR.3 To 8049M, to Manston 15/05/1969.
WE169/G PR.3 d/d 18/12/1953, to Manston Fire School 15/05/1969, since perished.
WE174/H PR.3 d/d 14/12/1953, to Manston Fire School 15/05/1969, since perished.
WF924/K PR.3 d/d 03/12/1953, to Tangmere fire dump 12/05/1969, since perished.
WF927/0 PR.3 d/d 24/02/1954, s.o.c. 16/05/1969 to Cottesmore fire dump, since perished.
_____/F PR.3  
_____/J PR.3  
WT481/L T.4 Finished in colours similar to PR.3s, but with the addition of yellow training bands. Aircraft written off on 02.06.65.
WH796 PR.7 According to the Luqa Airport Movements, these three a/c were logged in Malta in March 71 with 39 squadron badge.
WJ825 PR.7  
WT532 PR.7  
XH131 PR.9  
XH133 PR.9  
XH135 PR.9  
XH137 PR.9  
XH165 PR.9  
XH167 PR.9 d/d 15/10/1982 to FACh as 342, w/o 05/1983.
XH168 PR.9 First PR.9 to land at RAF Luqa since 39 sqdn left Malta.
XH169 PR.9  
XH175 PR.9  
XH176 PR.9  
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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