No. 24 Squadron RAF

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No. XXIV Squadron RAF
24 Squadron badge
Squadron badge
Active 21 September 1915 (1915-09-21) – present
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Air Force
Type Operational Conversion Unit
Role Air mobility fleet training
Part of No. 2 Group RAF
Home station RAF Brize Norton
Motto(s) In omnia parati
(Latin for Prepared for all things/Ready for anything)[1]
Aircraft
Battle honours * Honours marked with an asterisk may be emblazoned on the Squadron Standard
Commanders
Current
commander
Wing Commander G Burdett
Notable
commanders
Major L G Hawker
Insignia
Squadron badge heraldry A blackcock, selected because of its speed and strength on the wing, the cock is in fighting attitude to suggest the squadron’s ability to turn itself into a war fighting unit at short notice, despite a peacetime training role. Approved by HM King George VI in June 1937.

No. 24 Squadron (also known as No. XXIV Squadron) of the Royal Air Force is the Air Mobility Operational Conversion Unit (AMOCU). Based at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, 24 Sqn is responsible for aircrew training (C-130J Hercules and A400M Atlas) and engineer training (C130J Hercules, A400M Atlas and C17 Globemaster). The Sqn also provides training support, management and governance to the entire AM Force.

History[edit]

As a fighter squadron (1915 - 1919)[edit]

The squadron was founded as No. 24 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps on 1 September 1915 at Hounslow Heath Aerodrome. It arrived in France equipped with D.H.2 fighters in February 1916 – making it the world's first single-seat fighter squadron.[citation needed] The DH.2 came with a reputation for spinning because it had a rotary engine "pushing" it, but after Officer Commanding Major Lanoe Hawker demonstrated the recently discovered procedures for pulling out of a spin, the squadron's pilots came to appreciate the type's maneuverability.[2]

By early 1917 the DH.2 was outclassed and they were replaced by the Airco DH.5. The DH.5 did not prove suitable as a fighter but the squadron used it in a ground-attack role. One of the first actions was during the Battle of Messines and later in the Battle of Cambrai. The DH.5 was phased out of operations and the squadron were given the SE.5a in December 1917.[3] After a few months in the ground-attack role the squadron returned to air combat operations. By October 1918 the squadron had destroyed 200 enemy aircraft. With the armistice the squadron returned to England and was disbanded in February 1919.[3] During the course of its wartime existence, it had 33 flying aces among its ranks, including

As a VIP transport squadron (1920 - 1968)[edit]

On 1 February 1920 the squadron was re-formed at RAF Kenley with an unusual task. It had to provide aircraft to transport VIPs and government officials and senior members of the three services. During the General Strike of 1926, because of the lack of a postal services, the squadron was used to deliver government dispatches around the country. It was soon in demand to provide air travel to royalty, when the Prince of Wales acquired his own aircraft they were looked after by the squadron.

A 24 Sqn Dakota C.III transporting King George VI to the Channel Islands, 1945.

During the 1920s the squadron used former wartime aircraft but it soon acquired more civil types better suited to the role.

Following the outbreak of the Second World War the squadron acquired more civil airliners which were impressed for wartime service. It provided a detachment in France to run a courier services, but with the withdrawal of British troops it was soon used to evacuate men back to England. Former British Airways and Imperial Airways aircraft were put to use on a network of communications flights including trips to Gibraltar and later Malta. The squadron also performed ambulance flights when required.

The squadron had grown into a large organisation not only with a network of routes around the United Kingdom and eventually extended to India. It also operated VIP transports including Sir Winston Churchill's personal aircraft. It was decided to break the squadron up, the internal communication flight became 510 Squadron in October 1942.[5] In June 1943 a second squadron, No. 512, equipped with Douglas Dakotas was split off from No 24.[5] This left 24 Sqn to concentrate on the long distance routes using the Avro York and C-47s. The long distance flights were taken over by other squadrons and No. 24 concentrated on short-range VIP duties using the Dakota.

Lockheed Hercules of 24 Squadron in 1968

After many years the squadron had to leave RAF Hendon in February 1946 as the airfield was now to small to operate the larger Avro Yorks and Avro Lancastrians. The squadron was also designated a Commonwealth squadron with crews from various Commonwealth countries joining the squadron strength. Although it had a VIP role it still became involved in the Berlin Airlift. When the squadron re-equipped with the Handley Page Hastings it soon lost the VIP business and became a standard Transport Command squadron.

As a Transport Command Squadron (1968 - 2013)[edit]

In 1968 the squadron moved from RAF Colerne to RAF Lyneham and re-equipped with the Lockheed Hercules. The squadron re-equipped with the new generation Hercules C.4 and C.5 RAF designation for the C-130J-30 and C-130J respectively in 2002. It celebrated 40 years of Hercules operation in 2008 and remained at Lyneham until 2011 when the squadron relocated to RAF Brize Norton.[6]

As a Training Squadron (2013 - Present)[edit]

In 2013, 24 Sqn started its transition from a front line C130J Hercules Sqn to become the Air Mobility Operational Conversion Unit. This transition brigaded the majority of flying and engineer training within the Air Mobility Force under one specialist training unit. 24 Sqn is currently responsible for the provision of training to aircrews flying the C130J Hercules and A400M Atlas aircraft; in addition 24 Sqn's Maintenance Training School is responsible for training engineers to maintain the C130J Hercules, A400M Atlas and C17 Globemaster aircraft. As a Central Flying School accredited training establishment, 24 Sqn is the professional training body for the Air Mobility Force delivering:

  • Conversion to Type, Advanced and recurrent flying training for C130J Hercules.
  • Conversion to Type, Advanced and recurrent flying training for A400M Atlas.
  • Engineer training for C130J Hercules, A400M Atlas and C17 Globemaster.
  • Flying Instructor qualification and development.
  • Training Support, Management and Governance to the entire AM Force (to include C130J, A400M, C17, Voyager, BAE146 and AW109 aircraft).

24 Sqn upholds close ties with the RAF Training Specialisation and the RAF Central Flying School to ensure continuous improvement of training practices. The Sqn's training management and assurance is provided by embedded specialist RAF Training Officers and support staff.

Aircraft operated[edit]

W9104 a 24 Squadron Lockheed 10A Electra

Commanding officers[edit]

The following officers have held command of No. 24 Squadron:[7]

  • 1 September 1915, Captain A G Moore
  • 29 September 1915, Major L G Hawker
  • 29 November 1916, Major C E Rabagliati
  • 23 March 1917, Major A G Moore
  • 22 August 1917, Major J G Swart
  • 2 February 1918, Major V A H Robeson
  • 1 April 1920, Squadron Leader E H Johnston
  • 23 October 1922, Squadron Leader O T Boyd
  • 22 October 1923, Squadron Leader R S Maxwell
  • 27 August 1925, Squadron Leader W H L O'Neill
  • 20 September 1927, Squadron Leader S N Cole
  • 20 March 1929, Squadron Leader D S Don
  • 3 October 1931, Squadron Leader J Whitford
  • 1 December 1935, Squadron Leader H K Goode
  • June 1939, Wing Commander J Anderson
  • October 1939, Wing Commander H K Goode
  • April 1941, Wing Commander H G Lee
  • June 1941, Wing Commander P M W Wright
  • June 1942, Wing Commander H B Collins
  • September 1944, Wing Commander T H Archbell
  • October 1945, Wing Commander E L A Walter
  • September 1946, Wing Commander C W K Nicholls
  • March 1948, Wing Commander P H Lombard
  • March 1950, Wing Commander C F Read (RAAF)
  • December 1950, Squadron Leader H A Nash
  • October 1951, Major J N Robbs (SAAF)
  • October 1953, Squadron Leader J L Kerr
  • September 1955, Squadron Leader R B Bolt (RNZAF)
  • February 1957, Squadron Leader M M Mair
  • October 1957, Wing Commander D W Hitchins (RAAF)
  • October 1959, Wing Commander H D Archer
  • November 1961, Wing Commander R B Sillars
  • November 1963, Wing Commander R T Saunders
  • January 1966, Wing Commander G Moss
  • January 1968, Wing Commander J E H Tetley
  • July 1970, Wing Commander R D Bates
  • July 1972, Wing Commander M J Hardy
  • July 1974, Wing Commander C E Evans
  • February 1976, Wing Commander M C A Davis
  • August 1978, Wing Commander K Chapman
  • October 1980, Wing Commander D R Jones
  • March 1983, Wing Commander C J M Carrington
  • June 1985, Wing Commander R M Peach
  • December 1987, Wing Commander D B Farquhar
  • April 1990, Wing Commander R D Iredale
  • October 1992, Wing Commander M D Stringer
  • June 1995, Wing Commander R M Bailey
  • April 1998, Wing Commander P N Oborn CBE
  • August 2000, Squadron Leader G C Cook
  • December 2000, Wing Commander R Hobson
  • June 2003, Wing Commander K Groves
  • October 2005, Squadron Leader S K Marston
  • December 2005, Wing Commander D Turnbull
  • June 2008, Wing Commander A Bacon
  • November 2010 Wing Commander P G Cochrane
  • February 2011 Wing Commander T Jones
  • December 2012 Wing Commander D James
  • January 2015 Wing Commander D Rawlins
  • March 2017 Wing Commander G Burdett

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ Pine, L.G. (1983). A dictionary of mottoes (1 ed.). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 110. ISBN 0-7100-9339-X. 
  2. ^ Pusher Aces of World War 1. pp. 28–29. 
  3. ^ a b Rawlings 1972, p.144.
  4. ^ http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/england/woollett.php Retrieved 28 January 2010.
  5. ^ a b Rawlings 1972, p. 146.
  6. ^ "24 Squadron". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  7. ^ "24 Squadron Commanding Officers". 24 Squadron Association. 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2015. 
Bibliography
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982–1985), Orbis Publishing.
  • Jefford, G. G. RAF Squadrons, second edition 2001, Airlife Publishing, UK, ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • Rawlings, J. D. R. "History of No. 24 Squadron". Air Pictorial, April 1972, Vol.34 No.4. pp. 144–147.

External links[edit]