Although the Gloster Meteor remained in RAF service from 1944 until 1961, it saw very little active service. The majority of Meteors were based in Germany or in Britain, where they made up an important part of Britain’s Cold War armoury, but thankfully this was a non-combat role. As a result the Meteor F Mk.4 saw no combat in British hands, and the only F Mk.8s to see action were two aircraft detached to No.45 Squadron in 1955. The Meteor actually saw most combat with the RAAF, serving in Korea.
Suez, autumn of 1956
Two RAF squadrons used the Meteor during the Suez crisis in the autumn of 1956, but neither of them operated over Egypt. No.39 Squadron, based on Cyprus, used its NF Mk.13s to fly night patrols over Cyprus to prevent any Egyptian raids on the island, while No.208 Squadron, based on Malta, used its FR Mk.9s to fly armed reconnaissance patrols over the waters between Malta and Egypt looking for Egyptian shipping or stray enemy aircraft.
In 1955 No.81 Squadron received Meteor PR Mk.10s to replace their Mosquito reconnaissance aircraft. Over the next five years these aircraft were used to fly reconnaissance missions to support the British troops fighting in Malaya. The Malayan emergency also saw the only combat use of the F Mk.8 in RAF service, when two aircraft were detached to the area during 1955.
Two Meteor PR Mk.10s were used during the Mau May Emergency to provide photographic reconnaissance of areas about to be raided by the army. The aircraft were deploying to Kenya in 1954, and remained there until late 1955.
Meteor FR.9s of No.208 Squadron were used against the EOKA terrorist organisation on Cyprus, flying armed reconnaissance missions against their mountain strongholds during 1956. After a brief pause during the Suez crisis, the campaign against EOKA was resumed, this time with both the FR.9s of No.208 squadron and the NF.13s of No.39 Squadron.
A detachment of Meteor FR Mk.9s from No.208 Squadron was deployed to Aden in 1956, where they carried out armed reconnaissance duties against both rebel tribesman and raiding parties from the Yemen. The detachment was withdrawn during the Suez crisis, but a small number of FR Mk.9s returned to the area between 1958 and 1960, operating with No.1417 flight.