RAF YATESBURY ASSOCIATION

RAF Regiment at RAF Yatesbury

      


                R.A.F. Regiment at R.A.F. Yatesbury.


By R.A.Stempfer.

During 1951 this was the time of the "Cold War" which was hotting up, just a couple of years after the
Berlin Airlift. The War Office decided to increase the strength of the Armed Services in Germany and
this included the RAF Regiment, consequently it was decided that all RAF stations in 2nd T AF should
have at least three regiments on their strength, which equated to in the main to One Rifle Squadron, and
two LAA Squadrons, and including a Wing Headquarters this added up to plus 400 regiment personnel
per RAF Station.

As the then current station for training Regiment trainees was based at RAF Catterick in Yorkshire, which
was then running at full capacity the Air Ministry started looking around for alternative extra training

 locations. The then Commanding Officer at RAF Yatesbury, Group Captain W.G.Fallow offered the

Air Ministry the spare capacity at Yatesbury to form the New Squadrons. At this time the regiments
LAA training courses were being held at RAF Watchet on the North Somerset coast, (this camp
subsequently being closed due the vibrations of the guns eroding the nearby cliffs.) which had that time
tents on every spare bit of grass to accommodate the sudden upsurge of the regiment's personnel. There
were probably two or three gun courses running at the same time and as these personnel passed out they
were transported to Yatesbury by train to be divided up amongst the new squadrons being formed.

All personnel arrived at Yatesbury carrying their full complement of kit, dressed in Field Service
Marching Order, i.e. full webbing, big pack, small pack, ammo' pouches, water bottle; the only equipment
issued on arrival was denim overalls for fatigues.

The Regiment personnel were billeted in the East end of No.4 Wing (Z), and the West end ofNo.3 Wing
(y), the billets facing the Main Bath A4 road. Their parade square was located behind the
theatre/cinema, which was used to keep them from being "bored”, and getting into trouble.

As the personnel arrived fully trained in gunnery the only other training received was on by RAF
Yatesbury Radio/Radar staff training Regiment Signallers, other continuation and advanced training or
promotion courses when the various squadrons were established at their permanent bases. Located not
only in West Germany but overseas in Egypt, Iraq, Cyprus, and were represent in both "Operation
Granby" and the 1991 Gulf War.
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The Regiment Holding Unit was opened on the 1st July 1951 the Commanding Officer was Wing
Commander Nertherton, and his Adjutant was Flight Lieutenant Castling. The first Regiment
Squadrons to be formed at RAF Yatesbury were No.22 and No. 23 the former arrived on the 9th July, and
passed out on the 16th July, the second squadron arrived on 16th July and passed out on the 23rd July.

The squadrons were then given 7 days embarkation leave afterwards being sent to the Personnel Dispatch

Unit at RAF Hednesford for onward despatch to Germany. The Squadron Commanding Officer

Squadron Leader Butler had gone ahead with an advanced party only to find that the P.D.U had moved to

RAF Warton near Lytham St. Annes. The Squadrons guns, vehicles and small arms were sent

separately to their units in Germany.

For more brief information on the other Squadrons that were formed at RAF Yatesbury during the latter
half of 1951 refer to the attached list. The last Squadron to be formed at Yatesbury was No. 37

Squadron, the Holding Unit being closed on 31st December 1951. Although there are crests available

on both No.3, & No. 5 Wings RAF Regiment at the time of writing no information on them are available.
The Regiment returned to R.A.F. Yatesbury during the period 1959 to 1961 when they ran a Ground
Defence Training Section for the camp, which comprised of two Flight Sergeants, one Sergeant, and one
Corporal V. Houghton.

Acknowledgements

V.Houghton. RAF Regiment Association (Somerset & Dorset Branch).
T Gemon, RAF Yatesbury Association.

RAF Regiment Website.

RAF Marham Website (Regiment Squadron Crests)
Keith Reade, The Reade Group (Crests).

RAF Regiment at RAF Yatesbury (during 1951) - List of Squadrons.

 

R.A.F. Regiment at R.A.F.Yatesbury (during 1951) - List of Squadrons.

22 Squadron - Formed at Yatesbury on 9 July 1951, it disbanded at Gutersloh on 30 September 1957.
23 Squadron - Formed at Yatesbury on 16 July 1951, it disbanded at Gutersloh on 30 September 1957.
24 Squadron - Formed at Yatesbury on 30 July 1951, it disbanded at Wildenrath on 1 January 1958.
25 Squadron - Formed at Yatesbury on 4th August 1951, it disbanded at Wildenrath on 1 January 1958
.26 Squadron - Formed at Yatesbury on 27 August 1951, it served at Abu Sueir, Habbaniya, Amman,
Tymbou, Nicosia, Changi, Bicester, Gutersloh and Laarbruch. It took part in Operation Granby and Desert

  Storm in 1990-91 and is currently serving at Waddington as a Rapier Squadron                                                 

GuIf 1991, Colours 28th November 1979.

27 Squadron - Formed at Yatesbury on 3 September 1951, it served in the Canal Zone, at Nicosia,
Akrotiri, Leeming, , North Luffenham and Leuchars. It is currently serving at Honington as the RAF element
of the Joint NBC Regiment.

28 Squadron - Formed at Yatesbury on 17 September 1951, it has served in the Canal Zone, as well as at
Akrotiri and Nicosia, where it disbanded on 1 January

.29Squadron - Formed at Yatesbury on 24 September 1951, it has served in the Canal Zone, moving to
Mafraq in 1956, before disbanding at Nicosia on 15 June 1957,

30 Squadron - Formed at Yatesbury on 8 October 1951, it disbanded at Laarbruch on 1 January 1958.

31 Squadron - Formed at Yatesbury on 15 October 1951, it disbanded at Wunstorfon 30 September 1957.
32 Squadron - Formed at Yatesbury on 29 October 1951, it disbanded at Wunstorf on 30 September 1957.
33 Squadron - Formed at Yatesbury on 5 November 1951, it disbanded at Oldenburg on 30 September
1957.

34 Squadron - Formed at Yatesbury on 19 November 1951, it has served at El Hamra, Kasfareet, Abu
Sueir, Nicosia, Akrotiri, Khormaksar and Mehrabad. It took part in Operation Granby in 1990 and is

currently serving at Leeming as a Field Squadron.                                                                                      

Gulf 1991, Colours 4th October 1979, & 20th May 199.

35 Squadron - Formed at Yatesbury on 26 November 1951, it disbanded at Kasfareet on 31 March 1956.
36 Squadron- Formed at Yatesbury on 10 December 1951, it disbanded at Ismailia on 1 May 1955.

37 Squadron - Formed at Yatesbury in December 1951, it has served at Abu Sueir, Nicosia, Akrotiri,
Upwood, Khormaksar, Catterick, Bruggen and is currently serving at Wittering as a Rapier Squadron.

Colours 26th November 1980.

No.3 & 5 Wings. The former was formed during August, the latter during October 1951.. No other
details currently available.