Guide First in the Field: 651 Squadron Army Air Corps

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Forgotten password Use the form below to recover your username and password. New details will be emailed to you. Simply reserve online and pay at the counter when you collect. Much farmland in the area was bought by the War Office around for military training. Along with nearby Upavon and Larkhill , the airfield was part of the formative phase of military flying; the Royal Flying Corps was established in April The Netheravon site near Choulston Farm was selected towards the end of , at first was called Choulston Camp.

The airfield used a road which extended from Netheravon across farmland, to serve two 19th-century groups of farm buildings; until the site was ready, service personnel were housed in tents or at the former cavalry school at Netheravon House, south of Netheravon village. Standardised designs and prefabricated methods helped construction to proceed and No. Known as the Netheravon Concentration Camp , the exercise was designed to test mobilisation and improve the RFC's public reputation, as well as providing training.

Flight magazine reported "upwards of officers and men" and published photographs showing lines of tents for the visiting squadrons. In August, following the declaration of war, 3 and 4 squadrons left for France to support the British Expeditionary Force. They were replaced by No. Netheravon became a forming-up point for new squadrons, it was the home of No. After the war, now a station of the newly formed Royal Air Force , Netheravon was used for disbandment of squadrons.

From until it was the home of No. Training resumed in under No. In the war, Netheravon saw short stays by various squadrons, while training activities continued. Squadrons based at Netheravon included , and In the airfield was used to prepare gliders for their role in the invasion of Normandy.

After the war, the site was used including RAF Police training. Additional married quarters were built at Airfield Camp in the s, c.

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The site became AAC Netheravon. By the s 7 Regiment was here. For some years until , the headquarters of the Brigade of Gurkhas was housed at Airfield Camp; the airfield is used by the Joint Services Parachute Centre, part of the Army's "Adventurous Training" programme for serving and injured personnel, is home to the Army Parachute Association, a charity which supports sports parachuting for serving and retired personnel.

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Construction is softwood framing with asbestos-cement panels, their joints covered with painted wood strips, under a tiled roof. Historic England describe the group of buildings as "of outstanding historical interest, of striking architectural form, comprising some of the earliest extant buildings erected for the RFC".

First in the Field: 651 Squadron Army Air Corps Aug 18, 2011 Warner, Guy

Six further buildings from the same phase, a range of five linked hangars from , are Grade II listed. At the site near the airfield, the Main Depot Offices, in the same style as the Camp buildings, are Grade II; the following units have been based at Netheravon. In , the Special Air Service was temporarily based at Merebrook Camp in Malvern, Worcestershire a former emergency military hospital that had remained unused since The move was completed in May On 30 September , the official opening ceremony was held for the new Stirling Lines with the clock tower re-erected on the new parade ground; the Hereford site was sold to a property developer in March In the late s the squadron's numerical was transferred to the AAC and since its formation in , it has operated as a British Army unit flying various types of battlefield helicopters; the squadron has been disbanded on a number of occasions.

The squadron is based at RAF Shawbury where it forms part of the Defence Helicopter Flying School , but it has been deployed operationally to Northern Ireland , Hong Kong and Brunei throughout its existence; the squadron's numerical designation was first used by No. Its duties and squadron number were transferred to the AAC upon the corps' formation on 1 September A Scout Flight was swapped with No.

The squadron was assigned to 3 Regiment Army Air Corps. On 1 April , the squadron was re-designated as No. That same year, No. It provided anti-smuggling and immigration-control capabilities and supported Army exercises, being involved in stemming the flood of illegal-immigrants from the People's Republic of China. In , the squadron had a complement of 80 men; the Army Air Corps in the Far East had been centralised in when various flights and Gurkha air platoons were amalgamated, resulting in the re-formation of No. One Gurkha air platoon, based with the Gurkha battalion at Seria, remained as an air platoon for a while and became C Flight Sqn Brunei Detachment Sqn in C Flight Sqn in ; the reorganization and increase in unit size required the squadron to be housed at Sek Kong.

In the spring of , the Sioux helicopters were supplemented by Scouts; the Siouxs were phased out, with their last flights in Hong Kong being undertaken towards the end of when they were replaced by Gazelles. By the end of the Gazelle had been found unsuitable for Hong Kong, they were returned to the UK, leaving the squadron with just its Scout helicopters.

The squadron, 50 years old at the time, was believed to be the last overseas unit using Scout helicopters. The Defence Helicopter Flying School concept was born during the Defence Cost Study of , leading to the selection of a single site for basic helicopter training using contractor-owned aircraft and a proportion of civilian flying instructors; the squadron was reformed again in April , as one of two single-engine rotary-wing squadrons of the tri-service Defence Helicopter Flying School , based at RAF Shawbury. At RAF Shawbury, Cobham is responsible for the majority of the base and operational services, which support ongoing operatio.


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It was chosen as one of the AAC new Apache Squadrons and in April started its conversion to role; the first phase of this completed in October During the War, the Squadron was to fly more operational hours than their counterparts in Europe ; the Squadron was reduced in size and reformed into Flight in Malaya during the internal conflict there.

During this time, provided support to both the AOP and Air liaison role, this it continued to do throughout the emergency; the Squadron reformed as an AAC Squadron on 1 September With the exception of 2 flights, the Squadron was disbanded in and returned to the UK to be reformed in Farnborough , from where it participated in Operation Agila and Operation Corporate in The aircraft was recovered and airlifted to Fitzroy by Seaking on 11 June, but was subsequently written off on its return to the UK.

Scouts armed with SS.

UK transfers Defender and Islander special mission aircraft from AAC to RAF | Jane's

As he was engaged in ammunition re-supply, his Scout was not fitted with missile booms; this was in order to increase the aircraft lift capability. Capt Greenhalgh returned to Estancia House, where his aircraft was refuelled, fitted out, armed with four missiles in 20 minutes with the rotors still turning. Within 20 minutes, he carried out a detailed recce of the area. He fired two missiles at the enemy positions and returned to a pre-arranged RV to meet up and guide in the other two Scouts. All four occupants were killed, the pilot Staff Sergeant Christopher Griffin, his crewman Lance Corporal Simon Cockton and two passengers from Signal Squadron of the Royal Corps of Signals , Major Michael Forge and Staff Sergeant John Baker; the contributing factors were a lack of an " Identification Friend or Foe " transmitter on the helicopter and poor communication between the army and navy.

The number "" was painted at the crash site as a memorial. The Squadron was chosen as one of the AAC new Apache Squadrons and in April started its conversion to role; the first phase of this completed in October The Squadron was the first operational Apac. Today, there are eight regiments of the AAC as well as four Independent Flights and two Independent Squadrons deployed in support of British Army operations across the world, they are located in Britain, Brunei and Germany.

Some AAC squadrons provide the air assault elements of 16 Air Assault Brigade through Joint Helicopter Command ; the British Army first took to the sky during the 19th century with the use of observation balloons. Between the wars, the Army used. Twelve such squadrons were raised —three of which belonged to the RCAF— and each performed vital duties in a wide array of missions in many theatres.

One of their most successful exploits during the war was Operation Deadstick , including the attack on Pegasus Bridge , which occurred on 6 June , prior to the landings on Normandy. Once the three gliders landed, some which incurred casualties, the pilots joined the glider-borne troops to act as infantry; the bridge was taken within ten minutes of the battle commencing and the men there withstood numerous attempts by the Germans to re-capture the location.

It was subsequently further reinforced by units of the British 3rd Division. The AAC was broken up in , with the SAS returning to its independent status, while the Parachute Regiment and Glider Pilot Regiment came under the umbrella of the Glider Pilot and Parachute Corps; the pilots who had once flown the gliders soon had to transfer to flying powered aircraft, becoming part of the RAF Air Observation Post Squadrons, several of which were manned by reserve personnel.

From , nearly every army brigade had at least one Aviation Squadron that numbered twelve aircraft; the main rotor aircraft during the s were the Westland Scout and Bell Sioux general purpose helicopters. The Sioux was replaced from by the Westland Gazelle used for Airborne reconnaissance.

The Scout was replaced from by the Westland Lynx , capable of carrying additional firepower in the form of door gunners. Basic rotary flying training was carried out on the Sioux in the s, on the Gazelle in the s and s, is conducted on the Eurocopter H through the Defence Helicopter Flying School.

First in the Field 651 Squadron Army Air Corps

The Firefly was replaced by the Grob Tutor in The unit left for the UK on 10 October and it was formally disbanded on 29 October. Its allocated mission was to support army formations in the Salisbury Plain area; the unit's initial equipment was the Bell Sioux AH. On 1 January the unit was renamed No. The Squadron again disbanded in July From it has been based at Wattisham Airfield near Suffolk.

More the squadron has served in the Iraq War and in Afghanistan. Main Page. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.