Aircraft Markings

Each aircraft carried a number of markings, firstly to identify it as being on charge of the RAF and secondly to indicate the squadron (or station) that was utilising it at that particular time.

RAF markings consisted of various forms of the RAF Roundel, Fin Flashes and Serial Numbers, with squadron markings ranging from letters, numbers or symbols.

The following summarises the types of markings utilised on No. 35 Squadron aircraft.


World War One

The RFC / RAF markings during WWI consisted of:

  • a Fin Flash
  • a Serial Number
  • a RAF Roundel (after April 1918)

No. 35 Squadron markings during WWI were as follows:

  • 03/02/1917 to 22/03/1918 (*)
    • a squadron aircraft number (1 – 18 for its FK8s, 19 upwards for its Bristol Fighters
    • a white band along the centre of the fuselage
  • From 22/03/1918
    • Squadron Markings not carried (for security reasons)

(*) Source: ‘British Aviation Squadron Markings of World War 1’ by Les Rogers. It is worth noting that No 13 and No 66 Squadrons also used these markings)

AW FK8 [Source White Family].jpg

The fin flash, serial number, RAF roundel and squadron marking (aircraft number 8 and white line) on Armstrong-Whitworth FK8 C3549

In addition to the standard markings, some aircraft, known as “presentation aircraft” carried the name of the community that had contributed to the purchase of the aircraft – read more –

It is worth adding that markings and/or streamers were also used to identify when an aircraft was on a Contact Patrol.


Inter War Years

The RAF markings during the inter war years consisted of:

  • a Fin Flash
  • a Serial Number
  • a RAF Roundel

No. 35 Squadron markings during the inter war years were as follows:

  • Up to April 1939
    • The number “35”, plus a squadron aircraft number
  • April 1939 to September 1939
    • The letters “WT”, plus a squadron aircraft letter
gordonk1776400

The fin flash, serial number, RAF roundel and squadron marking (“35” and aircraft number 3) on Fairey Gordon K1776


World War Two

The RAF markings during WWII consisted of:

  • a Fin Flash
  • a Serial Number
  • a RAF Roundel

No. 35 Squadron markings during WWII consisted were as follows:

  • From November 1940
    • The letters “TL”, plus a squadron aircraft letter (initially in grey paint then in dull red)
halifax-w7699-iwm

The fin flash, serial number, RAF roundel and squadron marking (TL-F) on Handley Page Halifax W7699

In addition to the standard markings, some aircraft, known as “presentation aircraft” carried the name of the community that had contributed to the purchase of the aircraft – read more –


Post War Era

The RAF markings during the post war years consisted of:

  • Varying Fin Flashes
  • a Serial Number
  • Varying RAF Roundels

No. 35 Squadron markings during the post war years were as follows:

  • Up until February 1950
    • The letters “TL”, plus a squadron aircraft letter
  • From February 1950 to March 1954?
    • The letters “FB”, plus a squadron aircraft letter [Used on Washington Conversion Unit Aircraft]
  • From April 1954 to October 1956
    • a Winged Horse’s Head

WH920 with the roundel, serial number, fin flash and winged horse’s head on the tailplane
[With kind permission of George Trussell]

  • From October 1956 to 1958
    • No markings shown on the tailplane as the aircraft came from a station pool
  • From 1958 to 1961
    • a Winged Horse’s Head

WH916 with the winged horse’s head shown on the tailplane and tip tanks [Courtesy of John Sheehan]

  • From 1962 to March 1964
    • a Winged Horse’s Head and the squadron badge on the nose

XM607 RAF Luqa 1964 with the winged horse’s head on the tailpane and squadron badge on the nose
[With kind permission of Jim Simpson]

  • March 1964 to 1968
    • No markings shown on the tailplane as the aircraft came from a station pool
  • 1969 to 1975
    • No markings shown on the tailplane as the aircraft came from the station pool at RAF Akrotiri.

The squadron badge was shown on the entrance door, along with the station badge and the badges of the other squadrons that were stationed there

1975 to 1982

  • “Sky Hook” (a conjoined 35, designed by KI Watson) was shown on the aircraft tailplane

Conjoined 35 (Skyhook)

The first aircraft (XL446) to carry the conjoined 35 (Skyhook) on is tailplane arriving at RAF Scampton from Akrotiri 16th January 1975)

The story behind the Conjoined 35

None of the planes in Cyprus had squadron markings on their tail fins (as they were all allocated from the Akrotiri Station Pool) and Ken Watson (Officer Commanding) decided that they should have them for their return to the UK in 1975. With his knowledge of insignia, he knew that it had to be a simple design and he came up with the idea of the conjoined 35 (which later became referred to as the “Skyhook”). A sample was made up and it was placed on the side of a NAAFI wagon for everyone to pass comment on. Having gained approval, it was painted onto his Vulcan (XL446), which he flew back to Scampton on 16th January 1975. On arrival at Scampton, he was met by the Station Commander who obviously noticed the new insignia…and heartily approved.

The fin flash, serial number and squadron marking (conjoined 35) on the tail of Avro Vulcan XL446 [With kind permission of Russ Smith]