|The role of No. 1 Squadron was ground attack and air defence.
The unit was established in 1951 to
operate Spitfires being delivered to Rhodesia. Initially operating from
Cranborne, it moved to New Sarum (south of Salisbury) in October 1952,
then onwards to Gwelo in 1962. January 1956 saw the squadron
reequipped with the Vampire FB 9, which were soon (in 1958) to be taken
on their first overseas deployment to RAF Khormkasar, then an RAF base
in Aden. During that period, RAF Khormkasar was the busiest station in
the RAF, with nine squadrons based there. This was the first overseas
deployment, which would then continue until 1963.
In 1963 the Vampires were transferred to
No 2 Squadron, having only recently (December 1962) been re-equipped
with Hawker Hunter F9As.
Now working on airborne internal
security, the squadron carried out trials with rocket projectiles. In
return, the squadron became the first in Rhodesia known to have had
rockets fired back at it, when a SAM-7 Strela (known by NATO forces as
the Grail) was fired at them over Mozambique. Whilst this first attack
was to miss, as the insurgents became more proficient a number of
helicopters and civil aircraft were later to be downed.
Post Zimbabwe Independence
During 1981 the squadron had received
four Hawker Hunter FGA aircraft and a T81 training aircraft. In the 1982
attack on the Gweru airbase, seven Hunters, a Hawk and a Cessna spotter
plane were to be destroyed. For more information, Cole
Sabotage and Torture