543 Squadron History
XM716 - 50 years
The sad loss of this aircraft and it's crew is poignantly documented at The Victor Association
MAY 2016 IMAGES
A great resource here, history of all the airframes including the 543 aircaft
Credit image MillionMonkeyTheatre
Another good history page for the Valiant at http://www.spyflight.co.uk/val.htm for whom thank you for the front page image
MAY 2012 IMAGES
JULY 2011 UPDATE
A Wikiedia Squadron page exists at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._543_Squadron_RAF
The article is within the scope of the Military history WikiProject.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:No._543_Squadron_RAF
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Wikipedia page for the Valiant http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vickers_Valiant
Wikipedia page for the Victor at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handley_Page_Victor
Wikipedia page for the Spitfire http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supermarine_Spitfire
An informative web site about RAF History http://www.rafweb.org/Sqn541-598.htm
The Victor Association - A museum and restoration web site for XL160 http://www.thevictorassociation.org.uk/
No. 543 Squadron was formed at RAF Benson on 19 October 1942 as one of 5 Squadrons (Nos. 540-544) using aircraft from the then PRU. It was initially equipped with Spitfires PR Mk IV; the Squadron received some Mk PR XI aircraft in April 1943.
Spitfire PR MK IV BP888 at Benson Copyright V Flintham
"A" Flight was based at St.Eval and used for shipping recce over the Cherbourg Peninsula and SW approaches. "B" Flight was based at Mount Farm, a satellite of Benson and undertook some high profile specialist recce sorties in Europe, including the assessment of the attacks on the Ruhr dams and of the midget submarine attacks on the Tirpitz in Altenfjord in North Norway. In the latter operation, the Spitfires were detached to Russian bases near Murmansk. The Squadron was disbanded on 18 October 1943.
Spitfire PR MK XI Copyright © 1996, DeltaWeb International Ltd
The Squadron reformed at Gaydon in April 1955 and moved to Wyton on 1 November 1955, after equipping with Valiants. It provided the strategic reconnaissance element to the RAF's "V" Force and undertook intelligence and survey photography, and radar reconnaissance around the globe including the Arctic, the South Atlantic (Tristan da Cunha) , East Africa, and the Pacific and Far East.
Follow this link to an Air Clues article written by Arthur Creighton and Ray Norman on Operation Pontiflex, the survey of the Rhodesias and Bechuanaland in 1964
Valiant BK(PR)1 at Butterworth Operation Segment1961
photo© 2003 Derek Hickman
With the phasing out of the Valiants at the end of 1964, some Victor B.1s were used to bridge the gap until the arrival of the Victor SR.2s.
Follow this link to an Air Clues article written by Arthur Creighton in 1966 on the Victor SR2
The Squadron was disbanded on 24 May 1974.
Victor SR.2 on disbandment flypast
photo© 1974 Graham Thomas
For a fuller history of 543 Squadron follow this link to the booklet written by Flight Sergeant R. W Elliott to commemorate the 25th Anniversary. The booklet is in .pdf format and may be downloaded and opened with Acrobat reader.
goto list of Squadron CO's