Motto: In futurum videre – To see into the future.
Badge: A sun in splendour divided per bend by a flash of lightning – approved by HRH King Edward VIII in May 1936. The red and black segmented sun suggests round-the-clock operations, while the lightning flash is a reference to the units early use of wireless telephony for artillery co-operation.
Battle Honours: Western Front 1914-1918, Mons, Neuve Chapelle, Somme 1916, Ypres 1917, Lys, Somme 1918, France and Low Countries 1939-1940, Fortress Europe 1942-1944, France and Germany 1944-1945, Normandy 1944, Arnhem, Rhine, Iraq 2003
Honours, marked with an asterisk, are emblazoned on the Squadron Standard
Formed at Farnborough in September 1912, the Squadron flew the usual varied selection of types. It deployed to France in August 1914 on reconnaissance tasks as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) – a role that occupied the Squadron for the whole of the War. The Squadron standardised on BE2Cs and the then RE8s before returning to the UK in early 1919. During the Chanak crisis in 1922, the Squadron deployed to Turkey aboard HMS Ark Royal and then HMS Argus with FE2Bs. Back at Farnborough a year later, the unit settled into Army co-operation duties and received dedicated Atlas and then Audaxes in 1931. A move to Odiham in 1937 was followed by re-equipment with Lysanders with which the unit returned to France in October 1939.
After the failed attempt to stem the German advance, No 4 Sqn returned home in May 1942, and switched to coastal patrol and air-sea rescue duties. A switch to reconnaissance tasks in 1942 saw the Lysander exchanged for Mustang aircraft. No 4 Squadron joined the Second Tactical Air Force in 1943 and received Mosquito and Spitfire reconnaissance versions for work in connection with the forthcoming invasion of Europe.
The Mosquitoes remained with the Squadron until 1950 when they were replaced firstly by Vampires then Sabres and Hunters. In late 1969 the Squadron moved to Wildenrath, Germany, with the unique Harrier jump-jet. After a lengthy period at Gutersloh, the Squadron re-equipped with second-generation Harrier GR7s and moved to Laarbruch, before moving to Cottesmore with its sister squadron, No. 3, during April 1999.
Despite the disruption of relocating, the Squadron continued to maintain their commitment to Op DELIBERATE FORGE on a rotational basis with the other 2 GR7 squadrons, until they were tasked with the draw down from Gioia del Colle in April 2001. The Squadron then focused on a period of training until they were deployed to Kuwait in support of Op TELIC (IRAQI FREEDOM) in February 2003, where they were employed in the close air support and reconnaissance role.
The Squadron returned from Op TELIC in April 2003 and rapidly rebuilt skill sets for the European theatre. However, the desert beckoned again and Joint Force Harrier (JFH) was soon on the move. In August 2004, the Force deployed to Kandahar Airfield to support NATO troops in Afghanistan for Op HERRICK. In March 2005, whilst deployed to HMS INVINCIBLE for Ex MAGIC CARPET, No IV(AC) Squadron conducted the UK’s first strike mission from an aircraft carrier into Kandahar Airfield. The Squadron’s primary role in Afghanistan remains close air support (CAS) and reconaissance with a secondary commitment of training NATO Forward Air Controllers.
In March 2010 the Squadron was disbanded at RAF Cottesmore and reformed the next day at RAF Wittering as IV(Reserve) Sqn, the Harrier Operational Conversion Unit.