Real-Life No 56 Sqn in the First World War

“Number 56 Squadron is one of the oldest and most successful squadrons of the Royal Air Force, with battle honours from many of the significant air campaigns of both World War I and World War II. As 56 (Reserve) Squadron it is now an Air Command and Control Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Operational Evaluation Unit (AIR C2ISR OEU).

“The squadron was formed on 8 June 1916 and was posted to France in April 1917 as part of the Royal Flying Corps. The squadron was equipped with the then brand new S.E.5 fighter. Its arrival at the front with the latest fighter, combined with the unusually high proportion of experienced pilots in its ranks, led to rumours among its German opponents the squadron was specifically the 'Anti-Richthofen Squadron', dedicated to the removal of the Red Baron. Although there was no truth in these rumours, the squadron did shoot down and kill Richthofen's nearest 1917 rival Leutnant Werner Voss in an epic dogfight.

“By the end of the war 56 Squadron had scored 402 victories (as 'destroyed', 'out of control' or 'driven down'), and many famous fighter aces served with the unit, such as James McCudden, Reginald Hoidge, Gerald Constable Maxwell, Arthur Rhys Davids, Geoffrey Hilton Bowman, Richard Maybery, Leonard Monteagle Barlow, Henry Burden, Cyril Crowe, Maurice Mealing, Albert Ball, William Roy Irwin, Edric Broadberry, Kenneth William Junor, Cecil Lewis, Keith Muspratt, Harold Walkerdine, William Spurrett Fielding-Johnson, William Otway Boger, Charles Jeffs, Harold Molyneux, and Duncan Grinnell-Milne, the latter of whom became the unit's last Commanding Officer before the squadron was disbanded. During the course of the war, forty of the squadron's pilots were killed in action, twenty wounded and thirty-one taken prisoner.

“The squadron was disbanded and reformed several times between the wars.”

The above history is reprinted from the Wikipedia article, “No. 56 Squadron RAF”. Accessed on 10 Mar 2018. See also
the history page on the website of the 56 Squadron Association.

Virtual Squadron History

Number 56 (Virtual) Squadron was created on 8 Jun 2016, exactly 100 years to the day after the original No 56 Sqn was formed in 1916. The idea for the group was hatched then by Maj. Alex “56Sqn_Badger” though it was officially announced on the Rise of Flight forums only in Oct 2016. After a brief hiatus, the Squadron was re-activated in Mar 2018 and has been actively participating in the Rise of Flight community since then. Of course the real history of our virtual Squadron is yet to be written as the group takes shape and new friendships emerge.