No. 2 Squadron RAF Regiment
No. 2 Squadron RAF Regiment is based at RAF Honington
RAF Honington
RAF Honington is a Royal Air Force station located south of Thetford near Ixworth in Suffolk, England. Although used as a bomber station during the Second World War, RAF Honington is now the RAF Regiment depot and home to the Joint CBRN Regiment.-RAF use:...

 in Suffolk
Suffolk is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in East Anglia, England. It has borders with Norfolk to the north, Cambridgeshire to the west and Essex to the south. The North Sea lies to the east...

. It is a parachute-trained Field Squadron in the RAF Regiment
RAF Regiment
The Royal Air Force Regiment is a specialist airfield defence corps founded by Royal Warrant in 1942. After a 32 week trainee gunner course, its members are trained and equipped to prevent a successful enemy attack in the first instance; minimise the damage caused by a successful attack; and...

 which is capable of inserting by parachute and securing forward airfields, although this capability has never been put to use in combat operations.

Early history

The unit was formed as Number 2 Armoured Car Company RAF
Number 2 Armoured Car Company RAF
The Number 2 Armoured Car Company RAF was a military unit of the British Royal Air Force which was part of Habforce and Kingcol during World War II.- Creation :...

 at Hellopolis, Egypt on 7 April 1922 and placed under the command of Squadron Leader M Copenan. The Company was equipped with Rolls Royce Armoured Cars and Morris Tenders, which it retained until 1944. In 1924 the unit were engaged in active operations against the Wahabl tribe who were causing unrest in Transjordan, then a British Protectorate. The actions took the form of a series of ground and air attacks against the fanatical tribesmen near the city of Amman. During the course of the battle II ACC captured one of Wahabi Tribe's coveted Banners.

The Company's second battle honour was won during the Palestine troubles in 1936-1939, assisting the Palestine Police Force in search operations, convoy escorts, recovering downed aircrew, strike breaking and road patrols. When employed for convoy escort and road patrol, members of the Company found they were frequently under ambush or sniper fire. The high road speed of the Rolls Royce Armoured car was found to be invaluable in a theatre where communication lines were frequently the target of sabotage.

World War II

Throughout World War II the Company's expertise in Desert Operations, gained in the previous 2 decades, was put to good use. In September 1940 a section of the Company was detached to General Wavell’s ground
Archibald Wavell, 1st Earl Wavell
Field Marshal Archibald Percival Wavell, 1st Earl Wavell GCB, GCSI, GCIE, CMG, MC, PC was a British field marshal and the commander of British Army forces in the Middle East during the Second World War. He led British forces to victory over the Italians, only to be defeated by the German army...

 forces during the first offensive against the Italians in Egypt. It is said that these armoured cars became ‘the eyes and ears of Wavell’. During the actions in the October of that year the Company was employed on convoy escort tasks, airfield defence, fighting reconnaissance patrols and screening operations. The Company performed well and became regarded as an asset to a force short of light reconnaissance forces.


During the Iraqi Rebellion
Anglo-Iraqi War
The Anglo-Iraqi War was the name of the British campaign against the rebel government of Rashid Ali in the Kingdom of Iraq during the Second World War. The war lasted from 2 May to 31 May 1941. The campaign resulted in the re-occupation of Iraq by British armed forces and the return to power of the...

 in 1941, Number 2 Amoured Car Company RAF was part of the relief forces, and reached Habbaniya as part of the ‘Kingcol’ relief column on the 18 May. Its advance was marked by brief but violent actions whilst under constant threat from snipers on a road that was blocked by anti-tank obstacles. The Company continued to provide the reconnaissance element for ‘Kingcol’ and the advance on Baghdad. By the time the Armistice was agreed on the 30 May the Company, under the command of Sqn Ldr Michael Casano
Michael Casano
Michael Peter Casano MC was a Squadron Leader in the Royal Air Force.Casano was born on June 7, 1913 at Folkestone and educated at Dover College...

 who won an MC
Military Cross
The Military Cross is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces; and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries....

 for his efforts in this theatre, was 10 miles from Baghdad. The Company established a base in Baghdad and then fought in Syria against Vichy French forces.

North Africa

The Company returned to the Western Desert in October in support of the ‘Operation Crusader
Operation Crusader
Operation Crusader was a military operation by the British Eighth Army between 18 November–30 December 1941. The operation successfully relieved the 1941 Siege of Tobruk....

’ offensive. During this time the Company was employed on the tasks which it had earned its reputation. These included airfield defence, fighting and reconnaissance patrols and convoy escorts for RAF ground personnel. The Company was also required to carry out anti-parachute patrols. In January 1942 the Germans launched their counter attack. At this time the Company was at Antelat and the German counter offensive advanced as far as El Alamein
First Battle of El Alamein
The First Battle of El Alamein was a battle of the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War, fought between Axis forces of the Panzer Army Africa commanded by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, and Allied forces The First Battle of El Alamein (1–27 July 1942) was a battle of the Western Desert...

. The Company provided defence for RAF assets as they withdrew. This also often involved recovering downed aircrew, guarding their aircraft where practical and where not, destroying the remains. During the period, prior to their withdrawal in March the Company was regularly bombed and strafed whilst defending airfields and landing strips. In May the Company returned to the Gambut area of the Western Desert to provide a defensive screen around the forward fighter airfields. During this time the Company was in continuous contact with the forward enemy tank columns and subsequently covered the withdrawal of No 211 Group to the rear airfields.

In October El Alamein
Second Battle of El Alamein
The Second Battle of El Alamein marked a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. The battle took place over 20 days from 23 October – 11 November 1942. The First Battle of El Alamein had stalled the Axis advance. Thereafter, Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery...

 was again being fought over by the Allies and the Germans, leading to the Allied counter offensive. Again No. 2 Armoured Car Company was heavily employed escorting RAF Ground Crews forward, defending forward refuelling sites and landing strips. This continued into Libya where the venerable Rolls Royce Armoured Cars were finally replaced with the Mk 1GMC Light Reconnaissance Armoured Car. Receiving new equipment did not keep the company out of action as by the end of the month it was escorting RAF elements into Tunisia, becoming the only ‘8th Army Air Force’ unit to enter the city of Tunis.

Cold War

II Armoured Car Company was incorporated into the RAF Regiment on 3 October 1946 and was renumbered 2702 Armoured Car Squadron. 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. The Squadron continued to operate in Palestine until the British Mandate ended in May 1948, being among the last units to leave Palestine.

The unit moved to Iraq for the next 7 years and relinquished its Armoured Cars to become II (Field) Squadron RAF Regiment. From there it was on to Cyprus in 1955 and was the last RAF unit to leave Iraq. In Cyprus the Squadron provided support to the Army in mine clearing and Anti-EOKA
EOKA was an anticolonial, antiimperialist nationalist organisation with the ultimate goal of "The liberation of Cyprus from the British yoke". Although not stated in its initial declaration of existence which was printed and distributed on the 1st of April 1955, EOKA also had a target of achieving...

 Terrorist operations. The Squadron moved to Malta in 1959, where the first Standard was presented on 25 November by Air Chief Marshal Sir Hubert Patch
Hubert Patch
Air Chief Marshal Sir Hubert Leonard Patch KCB CBE RAF was a senior Royal Air Force commander.-RAF career:Patch joined the Royal Air Force as a flight cadet in 1923 and served in World War II....


On 1 October 1960 the Squadron arrived in the United Kingdom for the first time during its 38 year history. II (Field) Squadron moved to RAF Felixstowe as part 33 Strategic Wing an element of the Global Strategic Reserve. In 1961 the Squadron deployed to carry out Internal Security operations at Bahrain in November 1961. This deployment was to last until February 1962.

In July 1962 II (Field) Squadron moved to RAF Colerne in Wiltshire as part of 38 Group and adopted a Parachute Capability. 13 men, rapidly gaining the title of ‘ the Dozy Dozen’, volunteered for parachute duties and the selection on ‘P’ Company
P company
Pegasus Company is the rigorous training and selection organisation based at the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick, North Yorkshire. P Coy run the 'pre-parachute selection' courses for trainee Parachute Regiment soldiers and officers as well as an all-arms course for Regular and Territorial...

 run by the Parachute Regiment. To increase the number of men passing ‘P’ Company, a Pre-Parachute Selection Course was introduced. This course was eventually found to be so demanding that its successful completion replaced the need to send men to ‘P’ Company. Upon successful completion of the selection, the men attended No.1 PTS at RAF Abingdon.

Throughout the 1960s the Squadron was tasked with Internal Security Operations in Cyprus, Aden and Ulster. On 1 January 1970 the Squadron title changed again, this time to II Squadron RAF Regiment. In July of the same year Support Weapons Flight were present at Salalah, Oman, when Sultan Qaboos overthrew his father in a coup
Dhofar Rebellion
The Dhofar Rebellion was launched in the province of Dhofar against the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman, which had British support, from 1962 to 1976. It ended with the defeat of the rebels, but the state of Oman had to be radically reformed and modernised to cope with the campaign.-Background:In...

. Other detachments during this time included RAF Muharraq in the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

 and Hong Kong.

When RAF Colerne was closed in 1976 the Squadron moved to RAF Catterick with II Squadron becoming part of 3 Wing, but within 4 years, the unit had moved back to Wiltshire, to RAF Hullavington on 19 August 1980. During the 1980s the Squadron converted to the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (tracked)
Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked)
The Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance  —or CVR—is a family of armoured fighting vehicles s in service with the British Army and others throughout the world...

 (CVR(T)). The Squadron carried out its validation exercise in April 1982, and was the first Squadron to become operational. The Squadron was equipped to provide each Flight with 4 Spartan and 2 Scorpion vehicles. The HQ element had a Sultan CP vehicle and a Samson recovery vehicle. The Squadron’s firepower was provided by the Scorpions 76 mm gun firing the dual purpose HESH round and a smoke round. The CVR(T) gave the Squadron protection from both small arms, shell fragments and a high degree of collective protection against NBC agents. Night observation was also enhanced as each vehicle had its own night vision devices.

Persian Gulf War

During the Persian Gulf War in 1990, II Squadron provided Internal Security and Defence of RAF Akrotiris' Airfield until the return of 34 Sqn from the Persian Gulf region.On the 8 August 1990 Kuwait was invaded by Iraq. On 30 August II Squadron received orders to be ready to move, initially to Cyprus, by 2/3 September. In September the Squadron deployed to RAF Akrotiri where it completed a demanding training schedule including a large amount of physical training to assist in acclimatisation. With the Squadron carrying routine defence operations, at a higher level of security, it witnessed the galling sight of seeing other Regiment Squadron’s transiting through RAF Akrotiri on route to the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

 theatre whilst they remained on a main operating base. The boredom of this job was broken by a fire team on a Rigid Raider Patrol, who had suffered an engine failure. Unable to raise assistance they drifted for 7 hours before discovery and rescue. Having maintained a high level of professionalism throughout a very frustrating detachment the Squadron returned to RAF Hullavington in December 1990.

1990s to Today

In January 1992 the Squadron moved to the Airport Camp in Belize providing the capability of holding it until the arrival of reinforcements. The exercise saw the Squadron move from the UK into Airport Camp and then immediately deploy into the surrounding scrubland and jungle. The Squadron later moved onto Exercise MAYAN SWORD, an exercise to test the resident defence Battalion.

Upon its return to the UK the Squadron was faced with the prospect of a move back to the RAF Regiment Depot at RAF Catterick. With the move to RAF Catterick came a change in role, in August the Squadron officially converted to a Field Squadron relying once more upon the Land Rover for mobility and the 81 mm mortar for Squadron firepower.

1998 saw the Squadron deploy to Kuwait on Op Bolton
Operation Southern Watch
Operation Southern Watch was an operation conducted by Joint Task Force Southwest Asia with the mission of monitoring and controlling airspace south of the 32nd Parallel in Iraq, following the 1991 Gulf War until the 2003 invasion of Iraq.-Summary:Operation Southern Watch began on 27 August 1992...

 to provide protection to Ali Al Salem airbase and the air assets within, which were overseeing the no fly zones along the Kuwait/Iraq border. In 1999 the Squadron deployed to Kosovo providing security in depth around Pristina Airport. In June 2000 an element of the squadron deployed to Sierra Leone to secure a helicopter detachment. In January 2001 the squadron participated in Op SILKMAN: staging from Ascension Island and parachuting onto a DZ near the airport in order to demonstrate the UK's ability to rapidly reinforce Sierra Leone if necessary.

Later in 2001 II Squadron were back at Ali Al Saleem as the Resident Field Squadron. In October 2006 to April 2007 the Squadron returned as the Resident Field Squadron at Kandahar Air Base

In common with the other squadrons of the RAF Regiment, II Squadron has deployed to Basrah Airport as the Resident Field Squadron as part of Operation Telic
Operation Telic
Operation TELIC was the codename under which all British military operations in Iraq were conducted between the start of the Invasion of Iraq on 19 March 2003 and the withdrawal of the last remaining British forces on 22 May 2011...

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