No. 653 Squadron RAF

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No. 653 Squadron RAF
Active 20 Jun 1942 – 15 Sep 1945
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Role Air Observation Post Squadron
Motto(s) Latin: Ubique Speculabundus
(Translation: "The eyes of the guns are everywhere")[1]
Squadron badge heraldry In front of two gun barrels in saltire, an eagle's head affrontée erased[1]
Aircraft flown
Reconnaissance Taylorcraft Auster
Trainer de Havilland Tiger Moth

No. 653 Squadron RAF was a unit of the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. Squadron Numbers 651 to 663 were Air Observation Post units working closely with British Army units in artillery spotting and liaison. A further three of these squadrons, 664–666, were manned with Canadian personnel. Their duties and squadron numbers were transferred to the Army with the formation of the Army Air Corps on 1 September 1957.[2][3]

The squadron is now No. 653 Squadron AAC


No. 653 Squadron was formed at RAF Old Sarum, Wiltshire, on 20 June 1942.[4] In September 1942, the squadron was deployed to RAF Penshurst.[5] The squadron relocated to Normandy on 27 June 1944,[6] in support of the British Second Army and the Operation Overlord landings. Most of its pilots and observers came from the British Army, while maintenance was carried out by RAF personnel. The squadron moved with the Second Army through France and the Netherlands into Germany, and was disbanded at Hoya in Germany in September 1945, after the German surrender.[4]


No. 653 Squadron came into being again in Cyprus on 11 May 1958, but now as a squadron of the Army Air Corps and served in Aden from 9 March 1961 till 1967,[7] and today it is represented as No. 653 Squadron AAC of 3 Regiment Army Air Corps, flying the Apache attack helicopter.

Aircraft operated[edit]

An Army Air Corps Auster AOP.5 Air Observation Post aircraft. One example is maintained by the Army Historic Aircraft Flight
Aircraft operated by no. 653 Squadron RAF, data from[4]
From To Aircraft Variant
June 1942 September 1942 de Havilland Tiger Moth
Aug 1942 March 1943 Auster Mk.I
March 1943 April 1944 Auster Mk.III
February 1944 September 1945 Auster Mk.IV
July 1944 September 1945 Auster Mk.V

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Halley 1988, p. 446.
  2. ^ Halley 1988, p. 444.
  3. ^ Jefford 2001, pp. 102–105.
  4. ^ a b c Jefford 2001, p. 103.
  5. ^ "Leigh in the War, 1939–45" (PDF). Leigh and District Historical Society. September 1993. Retrieved 13 January 2010. 
  6. ^ "No.653 Squadron". National Cold War Exhibition. Retrieved 13 January 2010. 
  7. ^ Farrar-Hockley 1994, p. 237.
  • Farrar-Hockley, General Sir Anthony (1994), The Army in the Air: The History of the Army AIr Corps, Stroud, Gloustershire, UK: Allan Sutton Publishing Ltd., ISBN 0-7509-0617-0 
  • Halley, James J. (1988), The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1918–1988, Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., ISBN 0-85130-164-9 
  • Jefford, Wing Commander C.G., MBE, BA, RAF(Retd). (2001), RAF Squadrons: A Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd., ISBN 1-84037-141-2 

External links[edit]