48 Squadron was formed at Netheravon on the 15th April 1916; the first unit of the then Royal Flying Corps to be equipped with the Bristol B.F.2 aircraft.  Posted to France on the 8th March 1917, the Squadron accounted for three hundred and seventeen kills during the First World War, and possessed no fewer than thirty-two aces.

After the Armistice was declared in November 1918, 48 Squadron was posted to India, and on the 1st April 1920 it was renamed 5 Squadron.

48 Squadron was reformed on the 29th November 1935.  Only a matter of days before war was finally declared a year later, the Squadron relocated to Thorney Island, and were involved in coastal patrols for enemy shipping and submarines.  In May 1940, with the withdrawal from Dunkirk well underway, the Squadron’s aircraft patrolled the area in an effort to dissuade German E-Boats, from attacking British shipping involved in the evacuation.  Whilst part of transport command it took part in both the D-Day attacks and the landings at Arnhem.

A Bass Connection

We recently discovered a collection of letters and press cuttings in the archives which refer to 48 Squadron of the Royal Air Force and its connection with Bass.

The Squadron’s badge was presented to them by Air Vice Marshall RLG Marix, DSO on 22nd February 1940.  The badge consisted of a stormy petrel enclosed within a red triangle. “The red triangle was used”, says the official squadron history, “because it was the Squadron’s practice to stick a Bass label on an aircraft after a successful sortie”.  They also submitted a motto of ‘Always Over The Drink’, however this was felt to be too beery, and subsequently changed to ‘Forte et Fidele’ (Strong and Faithful).

“it was the Squadron’s practice to stick a Bass label on an aircraft after a successful sortie”. 

Further correspondence in the files from the RAF Changi Association confirmed the relationship between Bass and 48 Squadron continued into the late 1960s, when the Squadron was based in Singapore.  This included members of the squadron visiting the brewery on a number of occasions in the 1970s.

The Squadron finally returned to the UK in 1971 and was disbanded in 1976.

If any members of your family have a connection to 48 Squadron we would love to hear their story, please email us at jenny.procter@breweryheritage.com

If you enjoyed this story you may want to read Brewery Men Remembered