So why does 134 (Bedford) Squadron's crest feature a red gauntlet?
The quick answer is that both the red gauntlet and moto "Per Ardua
shall fly through hardships") were both borrowed (with permission) from
the crest of 134 Squadron RAF.
But that's clearly not the full story. Why did 134 Squadron RAF use a
Lets go back to the formation of 134 Squadron RAF. The unit number
was briefly issued in 1918 during World War I, but it never became an
operational unit and was never assigned any personnel. So the first
formation of the Squadron was on 31st July 1941 at RAF Leconfield in
East Riding Of
At the start it was formed of:
Squadron Leader A. G. Miller - Commanding Officer
Flying Officer S. R. Palmer - Adjutant
Flying Officer W. L. Blackbourn - Intelligence Officer
Two flights each with nine pilots
102 ground personnel
Flight Lieutenant V. W Berg
Pilot Officer J.F.D Elkington
Pilot Officer N.E Sheldon
Pilot Officer R.H. Furneaux
Sergeant S. McClarke
Sergeant B.J Campbell
Sergeant R.P.F Kirvan
Sergeant H Keil
Flight Lieutenant J.R Ross
Pilot Officer N Cameron
Pilot Officer K.W Wollaston
Flight Sergeant L.J. Barnes
Flight Sergeant T.A McCann
Sergeant R. Griffiths
Sergeant S.R. Fry
Sergeant P. Knapton
Sergeant J. G. I. Douglas
As far as our search for the red gauntlet goes these personnel are
significant. Most of the inaugral staff and crew of 134 Squadron RAF
were transferred in from 17 Squadron RAF.
A Squadron who importantly in the years before Wold War II had flown the Gloster
17 Squadron RAF had taken the gauntlet to the heart of their unit. As a symbol it
was very powerful. They chose a blue/grey open gauntlet to feature in their Squadron crest.
So when a large number of 17 Squadron RAF
assigned to a brand new squadron, they would have taken with them great
the image of the gauntlet.
The first operational duty of the newly formed 134 Squadron RAF was to
travel with 81 Squadron RAF to Murmansk in the extreeme North West part of Russia with what would eventually be 40
Hawker Hurricane aircraft.
They had two objectives; to provide air support to
the Russian Naval Air Service and train their pilots in the operation
of the Hurricanes. -
These aircraft were later to be handed over to the Russians to operate
before the Squadron returned to Britain.
The two Squadrons were only in Russia for around 5 weeks, but flew over
350 sorties with their Russian counterparts. In this time 134 Squadron
ground staff (Aircraftman Second Class Ridley and Thomas) and one pilot
was injured Flt Lt Berg all in one accident rushing to get an aircraft
airbourne during a German air raid.
The earliest forms of the Squadron crest had the same grey/blue gauntlet
borrowed from 17 Squadron RAF, but modified to be a clenched fist, as
this was a standard Russian sign of solidarity which they would have
often seen between Russian military personnel.
When their mission was complete, the Russian's were extremely grateful for
the assistance from 134 Squadron and 81 Squadrons.
The Supreme Soviet of the USSR awarded the Order of Lenin to Wing Commander
Ramsbottom-Isherwood DFC AFC, Squadron Leader A.G. Miller DFC of 134
Squadron RAF, Sqn Leader Rook DFC from 81 Squadron and Flt Sgt Haw also from 81 Squadron and who had
shot down the most German Aircraft. They were the only none Russians to ever be awarded this honour.
81 and 134 Squadrons RAF, each adjusted their Squadron crests in recognition of their
time in Russia.
134 Squadron coloured their gauntlet red whilst 81 Squadron adopted
the Russian red star at the centre of theirs.