|No. 1 Group|
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
|Part of||RAF Air Command|
|Garrison/HQ||RAF High Wycombe|
|Motto(s)||"Swift to attack"|
|Air Officer Commanding||Air Vice-Marshal Harvey Smyth|
|Group badge||A panther's head, erased, sable.|
The badge was authorised in 1941 and the black panther's head reflected the fact that Panther was the group's callsign in the early part of the Second World War
No. 1 Group of the Royal Air Force is one of the two operations groups in Air Command, the other being the No. 2 Group. Today, the group is referred to as the Air Combat Group, as it controls the RAF's combat fast-jet aircraft and has airfields in the UK, as well as RAF Support Unit Goose Bay in Canada. The group headquarters is located alongside Headquarters Air Command at RAF High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. The current Air officer commanding No 1 Group is Air Vice-Marshal Harvey Smyth.
The following stations and squadrons are under the command of No 1 Group:
- RAF Coningsby
- RAF Leeming
- RAF Lossiemouth
- No. 1 Squadron RAF with Typhoon FGR4
- No. 2 Squadron RAF with Typhoon FGR4
- No. 6 Squadron RAF with Typhoon FGR4
- No. 9 Squadron RAF with Typhoon FGR4
- No. 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron (Royal Auxiliary Air Force) - Moray Flight
- RAF Marham
- RAF Waddington
- No. 5 Squadron RAF (Army Cooperation) with Sentinel R1
- No. 8 Squadron RAF with Sentry AEW1
- No. 13 Squadron RAF with MQ-9 Reaper
- No. 14 Squadron RAF with Shadow R1
- No. 39 Squadron RAF with MQ-9 Reaper
- No. 51 Squadron RAF with RC-135W Airseeker
- No. 54 Squadron RAF ISTAR crews Operational Conversion Unit (OCU)
First World War
The Group was renumbered as No. 6 Group on 19 May 1924 at RAF Kenley, and was reformed on the same day at RAF Kidbrooke. Two years later on 12 April 1926 the Group disappeared from the order of battle by being renumbered as No. 21 Group.
The next year the Group was reformed on 25 August 1927 by the renaming of Air Defence Group. This designation lasted until 1936 when it became No. 6 Group again. As in 1924 the Group was reformed the same day, this time as a bomber formation.
Second World War
On receipt of orders to move to France in 1939, Headquarters No. 1 Group became Headquarters Advanced Air Striking Force and the station headquarters and associated squadrons became Nos. 71, 72, 74, 75 and 76 Wings respectively. The Group re-emerged a few days later within Bomber Command on 12 September, but only lasted just over three months, being dropped on 22 December 1939.
It was reformed at RAF Bawtry on 22 June 1940 where No. 1 Group was based for 44 years and has been continuously active in the RAF ever since inception. During the Second World War, 1 Group was primarily based at airfields in north Lincolnshire, like RAF Swinderby.
- Vickers Wellington: 166 & 199 Sqns RAF, and 300 Polish, 301 Polish & 305 Polish Sqns.
- Avro Lancaster: 12, 100, 101 & 103 Sqns RAF, and 460 Sqn RAAF.
All of the Wellington squadrons subsequently converted to Lancasters. No. 1 Group was later augmented with other units, including 304 Polish Squadron.
During Bomber Command's Second World War campaign, No. 1 Group dropped a higher tonnage of bombs per aircraft than any other group, this was mainly due to Air Commodore Edward Rice who was determined to maximise bomb loads, though it was a policy which contributed in no small measure to No. 1 Group having higher than average losses. Rice would later be involved in the development of the Rose turret, sometimes known as the "Rose-Rice turret".
By June 1948 1 Group consisted of:
- 9 Sqn, RAF Binbrook, Avro Lincoln B.2
- 12 Sqn, RAF Binbrook, Lincoln B.2
- 101 Sqn, RAF Binbrook, Lincoln B.2
- 617 Sqn, RAF Binbrook, Lincoln B.2
- 83 Sqn, RAF Hemswell, Lincoln B.2
- 97 Sqn, RAF Hemswell, Lincoln B.2
- 100 Sqn, RAF Hemswell, Lincoln B.2
- 50 Sqn, RAF Waddington, Lincoln B.2
- 57 Sqn, RAF Waddington, Lincoln B.2
- 61 Sqn, RAF Waddington, Lincoln B.2
- 109 Sqn, RAF Coningsby, de Havilland Mosquito B.35
- 139 Sqn, RAF Coningsby, Mosquito B.35
During the cold war, No. 1 Group also operated the Thor ballistic missile between 1958 and August 1963, with ten squadrons each with three missiles being equipped with the weapon. When Bomber Command was subsumed into the new Strike Command on 1 April 1968, No. 1 Group took on the old role of the command, holding the bomber and strike aircraft of Strike Command. In around 1984, Headquarters No. 1 Group moved from RAF Bawtry in South Yorkshire to RAF Upavon in Wiltshire.
On 1 April 1996 No. 2 Group RAF was disbanded by being absorbed into No. 1 Group.
In January 2000 the RAF was restructured and the Group took on its present role. The Group is responsible for UK air defence operations through QRA North at RAF Lossiemouth and QRA South at RAF Coningsby. However, since the disestablishment of Combined Air Operations Centre 9 at RAF High Wycombe, actual control of the fighters is now carried out from a NATO Combined Air Operations Centre in Denmark, CAOC 1 at Finderup. However, High Wycombe retains an air defence direction capability, and the UK Representative there could take back control over QRA South if it was necessary to respond to a terrorist threat from the air. No. 1 Group also has responsibility for the UK's Carrier Strike capability, with the joint RN/RAF Lightning Force, eventually planned to consist of two squadrons from the RAF and two from the Fleet Air Arm, which will be based at RAF Marham when not operating from the UK's Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.
Air Officer Commanding
Air Officers Commanding have included:
- 1 April 1918 unknown
- 29 February 1920 Group Captain H C T Dowding
- 27 February 1922 Group Captain E L Gerrard
- 1 January 1923 Air Commodore E L Gerrard
- 21 July 1924 Group Captain R Gordon
- 31 December 1924 Group Captain P L W Herbert
- 12 April 1926 ��� 25 August 1927 group disbanded
- 9 August 1927 Air Commodore E L Gerrard
- 11 November 1929 Air Commodore W F M Foster
- 2 January 1934 Air Commodore J E A Baldwin
- 12 August 1935 Air Commodore J C Quinnell
- 1 May 1936 Air Commodore O T Boyd
- 7 January 1937 Air Commodore S W Smith
- 17 February 1938 Air Vice-Marshal P H L Playfair
- 24 August 1939 – 12 September 1939 No. 1 Group Renamed Advanced Air Striking Force
- 3 September 1939 Air Vice-Marshal A C Wright
- 22 December 1939 – 22 June 1940 group disbanded
- 27 June 1940 Air Commodore J J Breen
- 27 November 1940 Air Vice-Marshal R. D. Oxland
- 24 February 1943 Air Vice-Marshal E A B Rice
- 12 February 1945 Air Vice-Marshal R S Blucke
- 15 January 1947 Air Vice-Marshal C E N Guest
- 24 January 1949 Air Vice-Marshal G H Mills
- 8 August 1950 Air Vice-Marshal E C Hudleston
- 5 April 1951 Air Vice-Marshal D A Boyle
- 27 April 1953 Air Vice-Marshal J R Whitley
- 3 October 1956 Air Vice-Marshal G A Walker
- 14 June 1959 Air Vice-Marshal J G Davis
- 1 December 1961 Air Vice-Marshal P H Dunn
- 1 May 1964 Air Vice-Marshal D C Stapleton
- 1 June 1966 Air Vice-Marshal M H Le Bas
- 23 December 1968 Air Vice-Marshal R L Wade
- 8 February 1971 Air Vice-Marshal B P T Horsley
- 3 March 1973 Air Vice-Marshal D G Evans
- 29 November 1975 Air Vice-Marshal P J Lagesen
- 5 July 1978 Air Vice-Marshal D B Craig
- 11 April 1980 Air Vice-Marshal M W P Knight
- 18 December 1982 Air Vice-Marshal D Parry-Evans
- 17 September 1983 Air Commodore H S Carver
- 1 April 1984 Air Vice-Marshal M G Simmons
- 19 February 1987 Air Vice-Marshal C J Thomson
- 24 February 1989 Air Vice-Marshal R A F Wilson
- 1991–1993 Air Vice-Marshal R E Johns
- 1993–1994 Air Vice-Marshal P T Squire
- 1994–1997 Air Vice-Marshal J R Day
- 1997–1998 Air Vice-Marshal G E Stirrup
- 1998–2000 Air Vice-Marshal J H Thompson
- 2000–2001 Air Vice-Marshal P V Harris
- 2001–2003 Air Vice-Marshal G L Torpy
- 2003–2005 Air Vice-Marshal C H Moran
- 2005–2007 Air Vice-Marshal D Walker
- 2007–2009 Air Vice-Marshal C N Harper
- 2009-2011 Air Vice-Marshal G J Bagwell
- 2011-2014 Air Vice-Marshal S Atha
- 2014–2016 Air Vice-Marshal G M Waterfall
- 2016-2018 Air Vice Marshal G M D Mayhew
- 2018-Present Air Vice Marshal Harvey Smyth
- Pine, L.G. (1983). A dictionary of mottoes (1 ed.). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 227. ISBN 0-7100-9339-X.
- Delve, Ken (2005). Bomber Command 1939-1945 : a reference to the men - aircraft & operational history. Barnsley: Pen & Sword Aviation. p. 147. ISBN 1-84415-183-2.
- "RAF Air Command". Armed Forces.
- "UK transfers Defender and Islander special mission aircraft from AAC to RAF". IHS Janes. 2 April 2019. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
- Bomber Command, accessed November 2008
- Airfields of Lincolnshire - Patrick Otter - p15).
- Król, Wacław (1982). Polskie dywizjony lotnicze w Wielkiej Brytanii (in Polish). Warsaw: Wydawnictwo MON. pp. 86, 104, 191. ISBN 83-11-07695-2.
- Airfield of Lincolnshire - Patrick Otter- p20/21.
- Rawlings 1985, p. 187.
- Martin Powell, "The Douglas Thor in Royal Air Force Service", Rossendale Aviation Society – Article, accessed 2 June 2008
- Andrew Brooks, UK AIR DEFENCE,Air Forces Monthly – October 2008
- "Senior RAF Commanders" (PDF). Retrieved 16 August 2014.