“Tradition does not die in the ashes but is carried forward in the flames”

Royal Auxiliary Air Force Foundation

 Patron:  HRH  The  Duke  of  Gloucester

AUXILIARY AIR FORCE AND ROYAL AUXILIARY AIR FORCE SQUADRONS AND UNITS FROM 1924


FLYING SQUADRONS


When Sir Hugh Trenchard proposed in 1919 that the fledgling Royal Air Force should be retained as an independent force of 52 squadrons, he met with strong opposition from both the Royal Navy and the Army as well as from the Treasury who argued that a regular force of this size was unaffordable. Trenchard then suggested that 20 of the 52 squadrons should be part-time squadrons based on the Territorial Army and, to save on training costs, that all officer applicants should have their own Private Pilot’s Licence. Parliament agreed to this revised proposal, and thus was the Auxiliary Air Force formed in October 1924.


The initial intention was for this new force to have just light-bomber squadrons, but, with the formation of Fighter Command in 1936,  it was decided that 14 of the squadrons should assume a fighter role - a decision that was to have far-reaching implications on the outcome of the Battle of Britain in 1940!  Significantly, at the outbreak of war in September 1939, Fighter Command had only about 30 squadrons available for home defence, including the 14 Auxiliary fighter squadrons.


At the cessation of hostilities in 1945  the Auxiliary Air Force was disbanded, but within months it was decided to re-form all of the squadrons, perhaps with an eye on the coming Cold War and the likelihood of financial aid from the USA in the form of military assistance programmes.

A further 5 squadrons were formed to support army operations and a transport squadron was also formed. However, in the years following, a diminishing number of experienced wartime pilots joining the Squadrons, coupled with the problems of part-timers flying the more complex jet aircraft coming into service, lead to the decision to disband all of the auxiliary flying squadrons in 1957.  In 2012, 622 Squadron reformed and continues to operate as an auxiliary flying squadron.


LIST OF FLYING SQUADRONS

SQUADRON

FORMED

LOCATION

DISBANDED

REFORMED

LOCATION

DISBANDED

500 (County of Kent)

16/03/31

Manston

23/10/45

10/05/46

West Malling

10/03/57

501 ((County of Gloucester)

14/06/29

Filton

20/04/45

10/05/46

Filton

10/03/57

502 (Ulster)

15/05/25

Aldergrove

25/05/45

10/05/46

Aldergrove

10/03/57

503 (County of Lincoln)

05/10/26

Waddington

01/11/38

Reformed as 616 (South Yorkshire)

504 (County of Nottingham)

26/03/28

Hucknall

10/08/45

10/05/46

Syerston

10/03/57

600 (City of London)

14/10/25

Northolt

21/08/45

10/05/46

Biggin Hill

10/03/57

601 (County of London)

14/10/25

Northolt

14/08/45

10/05/46

Hendon

10/03/57

602 (City of Glasgow)

12/09/25

Renfrew

15/05/45

10/05/46

Abbotsinch

10/03/57

603 (City of Edinburgh)

14/10/25

Turnhouse

15/08/45

10/05/46

Turnhouse

10/03/57

604 (County of Middlesex)

17/03/30

Hendon

18/04/45

10/05/46

Hendon

10/03/57

605 (County of Warwick)

05/10/26

Castle Bromwich

31/08/45

10/05/46

Honiley

10/03/57

607 (County of Durham)

17/03/30

Usworth

19/08/45

10/05/46

Ouston

10/03/57

608 (North Riding)

17/03/30

Thornaby

24/08/45

10/05/46

Thornaby

10/03/57

609 (West Riding)

10/02/36

Yeadon

15/09/45

10/05/46

Church Fenton

10/03/57

610 (County of Chester)

10/02/36

Hendon

03/03/45

10/05/46

Hooton Park

10/03/57

611 (West Lancashire)

10/02/36

Hendon

15/08/45

10/05/46

Speke

10/03/57

612 (County of Aberdeen)

01/06/37

Dyce

09/07/45

10/05/46

Dyce

10/03/57

613 (City of Manchester)

01/03/39

Ringway

07/08/45

10/05/46

Ringway

10/03/57

614 (County of Glamorgan)

01/06/37

Pendam

27/07/45

10/05/46

LLandow

10/03/57

615 (County of Surrey)

01/06/37

Kenley

25/09/45

10/05/46

Biggin Hill

10/03/57

616 (South Yorkshire)

01/11/38

Doncaster

30/08/45

10/05/46

Finningley

10/03/57

622

01/11/50

Blackbushe

30/09/53

01/10/12

Brize Norton


661

01/05/49

Kenley

10/03/57




662

01/02/49

Colerne

10/03/57




663

01/07/49

Hooton Park

10/03/57




664

01/09/49

Hucknall

10/03/57




666

01/05/49

Perth / Scone

10/03/57




Notes:.

1. Nos 504 to 616 Squadrons had either fighter or light bomber roles. Of these, Nos 501, 504, 600, 601, 602, 603, 604, 605, 607, 609, 610, 611, 615 and 616 Squadrons flew in the Battle of Britain.

2. No 622 Sqn had - and still has - a transport role. The present day reformed 622 Squadron began life at Lyneham in 1994 as 1359 Flight which provided reservist aircrew for the Hercules Force. It moved to Brize Norton in 2012 where it took on the former 622 Squadron identity.

3. Nos 661 to 666 Squadrons had air observation post roles where the aircraft were flown by the army but were maintained by the RAuxAF.