Royal Armoured Corps Air Squadrons.

needlewaver

Old-Salt
Hello all, I wasn’t sure whether to post this in Aviation or RAC, so I thought here covers both. I’ve just finished a book about air power in Northern Ireland and it mentions regimental air squadrons belonging to 16th/5th Lancers and 17th/21st Lancers.

My query is, were these squadrons manned by Army Air Corps air and ground crews, or were RAC personnel selected and trained from the host regiment?

Ian.
 
The RAC certainly toyed with air portability at one point and some were Para trained.
Someone will be along soon with a more comprehensive answer, but my belief is that the RAC manned the units.
 

needlewaver

Old-Salt
Thanks @RangdoOfArg, I’d heard of the RAC para squadron although it was way way before my time. I seem to recall reading along time ago that the Army toyed with the concept of Air Cav and that my father in law’s old regiment, the 13th/18th Hussars were earmarked as the guinea pigs.

FiL has never heard of that idea and I read that the idea was binned because of the task of selecting suitable NCOs with the aptitude to pass the APC from one regiment (I’m aware that many RAC soldiers can and do go on to fly).

Edited to add: I have asked FiL about these things before. His unit were the NI Armoured Car Regiment in around 1978, and he didn’t remember them having one.
 
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Go further back in time, late 60's the 4th/7thRDG who were in Omagh had their own Air Sqn manned by 4th/7th personnel. I also recall that for a short while one sabre sqn was what was called Strategic Reserve and the idea was they(Ferret Scout Car, Landrovers only) would be able to be taken via aircraft to wherever they were needed in the world. Some sort of bridge type structure was built on the vehicle park this simulated the load area of an aircraft on which the crews could practice drive on/tie down/drive of the aircraft.
The RAC Para Sqn was I believe disbanded in early 70's.
 

needlewaver

Old-Salt
Could they be described then, as the successor to the old RA AOP flights which were crewed by RA pilots?

I feel like I’m rambling, but this sort of thing fascinates me. My first Ulster tour was in the Nineties and what we did and how we did it was much more settled. Banner in the early days intrigues me.
 
When I get home tomorrow (currently at Henham Steam Rally) I'll go into a Regimental book and get a couple of photos of 2RTRs Sioux's and Skeeters. I believe there was 6 choppers two per Sqn.
The pilots were Regt cap badged, but moved to AAC, when the aircraft were removed from the Sqns.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
My boss was life gds and in twa as well. They had an air sqn in BAOR for a while too. We did play aircav eventually but as 6 airmobile bde in the 80's good fun even if it took every uk owned helicopter in BFG to deploy the Bde. We were kit poor but keen as mustard apart from Milan, we had effing hundreds of those.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
I was under the impression that the Omagh Air Squadron was 663 Sqn, but I can name two pilots, one of our own and one 14/20H. Our RSO in Paderborn (subsequently CO LD) wore observer wings so I'm guessing he was Air Sqn in Omagh. But I was fresh out of Catterick so I may very well be wrong.
 

needlewaver

Old-Salt
I was under the impression that the Omagh Air Squadron was 663 Sqn, but I can name two pilots, one of our own and one 14/20H. Our RSO in Paderborn (subsequently CO LD) wore observer wings so I'm guessing he was Air Sqn in Omagh. But I was fresh out of Catterick so I may very well be wrong.
@AlienFTM was that R. W.-B.?
 
A lot of armoured and artillery, and some infantry, units had an air troop in the 1960s; generally a couple of helicopters with Teeny Weeny pilots and groundcrew.

There was also an RAC parachute-deployed ATGW squadron armed with Hornet/Malkaras - an FV1611 chassis with a gantry at the back for two Aussie Malkara missiles. And 3rd Division had a recce unit with one parachute-deployable squadron equipped with Ferrt 1s and 2s.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
Thanks @RangdoOfArg, I’d heard of the RAC para squadron although it was way way before my time. I seem to recall reading along time ago that the Army toyed with the concept of Air Cav and that my father in law’s old regiment, the 13th/18th Hussars were earmarked as the guinea pigs.

FiL has never heard of that idea and I read that the idea was binned because of the task of selecting suitable NCOs with the aptitude to pass the APC from one regiment (I’m aware that many RAC soldiers can and do go on to fly).

Edited to add: I have asked FiL about these things before. His unit were the NI Armoured Car Regiment in around 1978, and he didn’t remember them having one.
RAC Para Sqn was an independent unit born out of the RAC Special Reconnaissance Squadron in Paderborn in the early 60s. Search Paradata for info. They were in Nicosia during the 74 war. Disbanded February 76 as I finished trade training and blowing away a hoped-for posting.

An awful lot of 15/19H returned to the regiment in Omagh on disbandment of the Para Sqn.

And I believe 13/18H took over NI Armoured Car Regt from 9/12L 18 months after we handed over to 9/12L (unless the tour was extended to two years by then).

Edit

 
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Image result for hornet malkara

For those of us too young to remember this is the Hornet/Malkara.

When I first joined 3RRW in 1976 there was one of these at the back of the MT garage in Maindy. Christ knows why!
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
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needlewaver

Old-Salt
RAC Para Sqn was an independent unit born out of the RAC Special Reconnaissance Squadron in Paderborn in the early 60s. Search Paradata for info. They were in Nicosia during the 74 war. Disbanded February 76 as I finished trade training and blowing away a hoped-for posting.

An awful lot of 15/19H returned to the regiment in Omagh on disbandment of the Para Sqn.I

And I believe 13/18H took over NI Armoured Car Regt from 9/12L 18 months after we handed over to 9/12L (unless the your was extended to two years by then).

Edit

I believe it was two years; FiL came back from Tehran in 76, when the regiment was in Duxford, then Omagh from 77- 79 Mrs N. Was born in the Tyrone County Hospital), then back to Wimbish when he took over as SSM A Squadron.
 

needlewaver

Old-Salt
It was indeed. He was my troop leader (Command Troop for three years).
Gotcha. Bizarrely I never knew him, but I remember seeing a photo of him during an early parade of the LDs. I clocked his pilot wings, but as a young soldier couldn’t compute why he wasn’t AAC. The image just stuck in my head.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
I believe it was two years; FiL came back from Tehran in 76, when the regiment was in Duxford, then Omagh from 77- 79 Mrs N. Was born in the Tyrone County Hospital), then back to Wimbish when he took over as SSM A Squadron.
Ah, but if it were 18 months, 9/12L would have done May 76 - October 77 and 13/18H October 77 - May 79.

Edit. 79 curse you speelchucker
 
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