Pictures are of LAC Len Bayless whilst serving with No1 Armoured Car
Company during WWII, kindly donated by John Bayless.
On 21 December 1921 No. 1 Armoured Car
Company RAF was formed at Heliopolis, Cairo, in order to support the
concept of air control.
The Company was equipped with Rolls
Royce (A) armoured cars. The Company went through great changes in the
years that followed from disbandment, re establishment, expansion to a
Wing and then the return to Company strength.
After the end of the war in Europe (8
May 1945) No 1 Armoured Car Company merged with No 2701 Sqn which on 25
Feb 1947 were renumbered No 1 (Armoured Car) Sqn RAF Regiment
Centre - No1 Armoured Car Company 1944
The Crest of No1 Armoured Car Company dated 1939, Centre- Near Kirkuk
Number 2 Armoured Car Company was formed on the 7 April 1922 at
Heliopolis near Cairo.
No II Armoured Car Company was incorporated into the RAF Regiment on 3
October1946. In doing so the Company was renumbered No.2702 Squadron RAF
Regiment. This was not a popular decision as many of the Squadron were
ex-aircrew who had been made redundant after the war, and who had joined
the armoured car companies on the assumption that they would remain
independent of the Regiment.
A critical manning situation on the
Squadron was experienced by the end of 1946 and this was attributed to
the uncertainty of the Squadron’s future following its amalgamation into
the RAF Regiment. After pressure by Squadron members and veterans it was
renumbered as No II Armoured Car Squadron on 25 Feb 1947.
In 1949 the Squadron returned to RAF Habbaniya
involving itself in the routine of training, carrying out defensive
operations to prevent theft from RAF bases in Iraq by the locals and
rescuing downed aircrew and their passengers. The Squadron moved to RAF
Shaibah, in the south of the country, at the same time as the death of
the Sheik of Kuwait.
The Squadron was not only involved in parades and training whilst at
Habbinya. After a period of tension local agitators incited a strike and
demonstration of locals. This turned to violence on 8 June 1952. The
demonstrators entered the camp destroying and burning the station fire
tender, damaging other property and threatening life.
An advance by the
Squadron’s Armoured Cars forced a retreat for a short while, but when
the demonstrators realized that the cars would not fire, they attacked.
The Commanding Officer, Squadron Leader E J B Brown, ordered Flying
Officer Haymes to shoot selected targets in the crowd. He opened fire,
firing 5 shots and the Commanding Officer fired 3.
The crowd dispersed
leaving 5 of their number wounded. This was followed by several days
supporting the police in arresting local agitators, which resulted in
the end of the strike and an imposition of peace
In the January 1953 the Squadron moved from Habbinya to Sharjah via
Baghdad. They remained there until May when they were ordered to hand
over their armoured cars and return to Habbinya by aircraft. In November
the Squadron was renamed No.II (Field) Squadron. For the first time in
its history, the Squadron did not have any armoured vehicles.
These Pictures are from Keith Starr , Thanks Keith it
really good to see these (early pictures)
Ex Flight Sergeant Frank Duncan Moody Starr, who served with No1
Armoured Car Company in Iraq 1939 to 1940,
Click on the pictures to enlarge
No1 Armoured Car Company 1939 on Parade with Rolls Royce