51 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
The history of No. 51 Squadron goes back to 1947 when it was formed at
RAF Celle near the Luneberg Heath in Germany by the redesignation of No.
2713 Squadron RAF Regiment. Its initial role was as a rifle squadron,
protecting RAF facilities from ground attack. In 1955 it changed to the
light anti-aircraft role which it retained until disbanded in 1957.
In 1964 the squadron reformed, switching back to the rifle role, at the
RAF Regiment Depot. The first assignments of the unit after reforming
were overseas to Cyprus and Aden where it undertook internal security
roles. After Rhodesia unilaterally declared independence in 1965 it was
sent to Africa to protect Gloster Javelin aircraft which were deployed
in Zambia. After returning to Catterick the unit's next deployment was
back to Aden in the immediate period before the British withdrawal from
there in 1967. Its service in Aden was mainly spent at the many isolated
airfields dotting that colony.
In 1969 the squadron shifted bases with a move to RAF Wittering. This
move was undertaken to support the Hawker-Siddeley Harrier force which
was then becoming operational. With the start of the troubles in
Northern Ireland in 1969 No. 51 Squadron deployed to the province, a
process which it would repeat at regular intervals for the next 18
years. This period also saw deployments to RAF Salalah and Hong Kong.
In 1982 the squadron moved back to Catterick from Wittering to re-role.
It emerged operating the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) family
and in wartime it would have moved to Germany to defend airfields there.
However its next war service was not to be in Europe but in the Middle
East. In aftermath of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait the squadron deployed
to Arabia and detachments saw service at Dharan, Muharraq and Tabuk
during the war. Following the Options for Change defence cuts the
squadron was disbanded in 1993.
The dawn of a new century saw a return to active service for the
squadron. Once again operating in a field squadron role it reformed at
RAF Honington in 2001 before moving to RAF Lossiemouth. It was not long
before war beckoned again and the squadron was deployed in the 2003
invasion of Iraq. Following the invasion it has taken part in roulements
back to the region.
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