No. 34 Squadron RAF Regiment
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|No. 34 Squadron RAF Regiment|
|Active||1951 - present|
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
|Part of||Royal Air Force Regiment|
|Motto||Feu de Fer (Fire from Iron)|
No. 34 Squadron RAF Regiment is a field squadron of the RAF Regiment in the Royal Air Force. Its mission is protection of RAF bases from ground attack. The squadron's current HQ is at RAF Leeming. The motto of the squadron is "Feu de Fer "(Fire from Iron).
Formed on 19 November 1951 as a light anti-aircraft squadron, 34 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment first operated overseas when the Squadron moved to El Hammra, Egypt and from where it launched a number of operational detachments to the Suez Canal Zone. The Squadron subsequently moved to Cyprus in 1956, where it became involved in the EOKA terrorist campaign. Operational detachments continued in Libya, Aden, Iran and within Cyprus itself, including during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the subsequent bloody partition. Re-roled in 1975, as a Field Squadron it was equipped with Land Rovers, machine guns and mortars until being subsequently re-equipped with the Scorpion range of light armoured vehicles in 1982. For many years it was located at RAF Akrotiri on Cyprus.
Following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, 34 Squadron deployed to the Gulf region to provide ground defence for Royal Air Force forward bases in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The Squadron re-rolled back to Field Squadron in 1993 and in 1996, after 40 years in Cyprus, the Squadron returned to the United Kingdom and its present home, RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire. 34 Squadron completed a 6 month peace-keeping deployment to the Former Republic of Yugoslavia as part of the NATO-led Stabilisation Force in 1997, with a further deployment, once again, to the Gulf, in 1998, on Operation Bolton in Kuwait. With rising international tension and the Royal Air Force detachment’s close proximity to the Iraqi border, 34 Squadron took the lead role in securing the base from potential terrorist and conventional ground attack, whilst working closely with American and Kuwaiti security forces.
Early 1999 saw an element of the Squadron assisting the Support Helicopter Force, on Operation AGRICOLA, in the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia, where 34 Squadron personnel were responsible for the physical security of Puma Helicopters in a forward operating base near the Kosovan border. In the middle of the year an element of the Squadron again deployed to Macedonia to assist in the security of forward elements of KFOR, the Kosovo stabilisation force. From early 2000 the Squadron prepared for a return to Ali Al Salem in Kuwait for a successful 8 month tour from April to December. The early part of 2001 saw the Squadron heavily involved with Op PENINSULA assisting MAFF with overseeing the slaughter assembly and disposal of animals affected by Foot and Mouth Disease in North Yorkshire. The Squadron then began training for a deployment to Aldergrove towards the end of 2001.
With a strength of 164 personnel, including specialist engineering and support staff, the Squadron's firepower is provided by a wide range of infantry weapons including sniper rifles, general purpose machine guns and light and medium mortars. Fully air portable, the Squadron's cross-country mobility is mainly provided by Land Rovers, although motorcycles and all-terrain trucks complete the transport capability. Battlefield communications systems and a highly effective range of surveillance and night observation equipment complete 34 Squadron's inventory to make it a flexible and powerful force capable of deploying anywhere in the world to defend British air assets or to take part in wider military action.
- See David Lee, Wings in the Sun: A history of the Royal Air Force in the Mediterranean 1945–1986, HMSO Books 1989, 224.