No. 24 Squadron RAF

Last updated

No. XXIV Squadron RAF
24 Squadron RAF.jpg
Active21 September 1915 (1915-09-21) – present
Country Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Type Operational Conversion Unit
RoleAir 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]
Battle honours * Honours marked with an asterisk may be emblazoned on the Squadron Standard
Wing Commander A McIntyre
Major L G Hawker
Squadron badge heraldryA 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 Squadron is responsible for aircrew training on C-130J Hercules, A400M Atlas and C17 Globemaster. The squadron also delivers engineer training for these aircraft.



Fighter squadron (1915–1919)

The squadron was founded as No. 24 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps on 1 September 1915 at Hounslow Heath Aerodrome. [2] It arrived in France equipped with D.H.2 fighters in February 1916. [2] 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 manoeuvrability. [3]

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 they took part 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. [4] 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. [4]

As a VIP transport squadron (1920–1968)

A 24 Squadron Dakota C.III transporting King George VI to the Channel Islands, 1945 Dakota 24 Sqn RAF with King George VI in flight 1945.jpg
A 24 Squadron Dakota C.III transporting King George VI to the Channel Islands, 1945

On 1 February 1920 the squadron was re-formed at RAF Kenley as a communications and training squadron. [2] 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. [2]

Following the outbreak of the Second World War the squadron acquired civil airliners which were impressed for wartime service. It provided a detachment in France to run 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. [2]

The squadron had grown into a large organisation, 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 Squadron to concentrate on the long distance routes using the Avro York. [2]

Lockheed Hercules of 24 Squadron in 1968 Lockheed C-130K C.1 XV215 2 24 Sq ABIN 160668 edited-3.jpg
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 too small to operate the larger Avro Yorks and Avro Lancastrians. [2] The squadron was also designated a Commonwealth squadron with crews from various Commonwealth countries joining the squadron strength. [2]

As a Transport Command Squadron (1968–2013)

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 designations 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)

In 2013, 24 Squadron started its transition from a front-line C130J Hercules Squadron to become the Air Mobility Operational Conversion Unit. [2] This transition brigaded the majority of flying and engineer training within the Air Mobility Force under one specialist training unit. 24 Squadron is currently responsible for the provision of training to aircrews flying the C130J Hercules and A400M Atlas aircraft; in addition 24 Squadron'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 Squadron is the professional training body for the Air Mobility Force delivering flying training for the C130J Hercules, A400M Atlas and C17 Globemaster as well as engineering training for the C130J Hercules, A400M Atlas and C17 Globemaster. The Squadron also oversees Aircrew Instructor Development for the Air Mobility Force, delivering initial aircrew instructor courses. [7]

Aircraft operated

W9104, a 24 Squadron Lockheed 10A Electra RAF Lockheed 10A Electra.jpg
W9104, a 24 Squadron Lockheed 10A Electra

Commanding officers

The following officers have held command of No. 24 Squadron: [9]

See also

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  1. Pine, L.G. (1983). A dictionary of mottoes (1 ed.). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p.  110. ISBN   0-7100-9339-X.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "No 21 - 25 Squadron Histories". Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  3. Pusher Aces of World War 1. pp. 28–29.
  4. 1 2 Rawlings 1972, p.144.
  5. 1 2 Rawlings 1972, p. 146.
  6. "24 Squadron" Archived 4 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine . Royal Air Force. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  7. "14 Squadron". RAF. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 Lewis, 1968, pp.21-22
  9. "24 Squadron Commanding Officers". 24 Squadron Association. 2015. Archived from the original on 7 February 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2015.