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No. 663 Squadron RAF
PSP Dywizjon 663.jpg
Badge of 663rd Polish Air Observation Post Squadron during World War II
Active 14 Aug 1944 - 29 Oct 1946
1 Jul 1949 - 10 Mar 1957
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Allegiance Poland Polish government in exile (1944-1946)
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Role Air Observation Post squadron
Motto We fly for the guns
Insignia
Squadron Badge heraldry An Eagle displayed holding a snaffle bit
(1949-1957)
Squadron Codes ROC (Jul 1949 - Apr 1951)[1][2]
Aircraft flown
Reconnaissance Auster Single-engined Army liaison monoplane

No. 663 Squadron RAF (Polish: 663 Polski Szwadron Powietrznych Punktów Obserwacyjnych) was an Air Observation Post (AOP) unit of the Royal Air Force (RAF), which was officially formed in Italy on 14 August 1944.

Contents

History

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Formation and Wartime History

Volunteer Polish Army officers had been sent by ship to South Africa in June 1944 for initial training as pilots and then for operational training in the very low-level AOP role. The squadron was officially formed at San Basilio in Italy on 14 August 1944.|[3] as 663 Polski Szwadron Powietrznych Punktów Obserwacyjnych. The fifteen successful officers reached Italy on 28 October. All squadron personnel were drawn from Polish artillery units. The squadron's primary role was to observe enemy ground targets and to help direct artillery fire on them. After further advanced training, the squadron was declared operational on 30 January 1945. The squadron's HQ was at Villa Carpena, with three flights, two of which were detached elsewhere as needed to support units of No. 2 Polish Corps artillery units on the progressing 'front line'. Auster AOP IV and V 'spotter' aircraft were flown in the unit's close support operations. After meritorious service with some pilots being killed, the unit left for the UK on 10 October 1946 and was formally disbanded on 29 October 1946.

Post-war Service

663 (AOP) Squadron Auster AOP.6 VX121 'A' 'low flying for the guns' over Cheshire in 1954

No. 663 Squadron was reformed on 1 July 1949 as an AOP unit of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force equipped with Auster AOP.5s and Auster AOP.6s. Tiger Moth and DHC-1 Chipmunk aircraft were used for training and proficiency flights.[4] The squadron HQ was at RAF Hooton Park, Wirral, Cheshire with dispersed flights at RAF Ringway, RAF Llandow, South Wales, and Wolverhampton (Pendeford) - the latter flight moving on to Castle Bromwich Aerodrome near Birmingham.[3]

For the next eight years, No. 663 flew very low-level 'spotting' sorties in co-operation with Territorial Army artillery units, often based for the weekend in a friendly farmers field - for example near Tarporley Cheshire. The squadron disbanded on 10 March 1957, at the same time as all other Royal Auxiliary Air Force flying units.[4]

Army Air Corps history and operations

The unit was reformed as an army air unit called 663 Aviation Squadron in October 1969 at Netheravon Wiltshire. Its allocated mission was to support army formations in the Salisbury Plain area. The unit's initial equipment was the Bell Sioux AH.1 helicopter, with these being later replaced by the Westland Scout AH.1 turbine helicopter. On 1 January 1973 the unit was renamed No. 663 Squadron Army Air Corps. The Squadron again disbanded in July 1977.

663 Squadron AAC Westland Scout AH.1 in 1969

Aircraft operated

{{class="wikitable" ! style="text-align: left; "|From ! style="text-align: left; "|To ! style="text-align: left; "|Aircraft |- | October 1944 | February 1946 | Auster Mk.IV |- | November 1944 | February 1946 | Auster Mk.V |- | July 1949 | October 1951 | Auster AOP.5 |- | Jul 1949 | Feb 1957 | Auster AOP.6 |- | 1955 | 1957 | Chipmunk T.10 |}[3][5]

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 138.
  2. ^ Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 187.
  3. ^ a b c Halley 1988, p. 450
  4. ^ a b Scholefield 1998, p. 51
  5. ^ Jefford 2001, p. 105.

Bibliography

  • Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937-56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • Flintham, Vic and Andrew Thomas. Combat Codes: A full explanation and listing of British, Commonwealth and Allied air force unit codes since 1938. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 2003. ISBN 1-84037-281-8.
  • Halley, James J. (1988), The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1918-1988, Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., ISBN 0-85130-164-9.  
  • Jefford, Wing Commander C.G., MBE,BA,RAF (Retd). (2001), RAF Squadrons: A Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd, ISBN 1-84037-141-2.  
  • Król, Wacław. Zarys działań polskiego lotnictwa w Wielkiej Brytanii 1940-1945 (in Polish). Warszawa, Poland: Biblioteczka Skrzydlatej Polski, tom 11, Wydawnictwa Komunikacji i łączności, 1981. ISBN 83-206-0152-5.
  • Scholefield, R.A. (1998), Manchester Airport, Sutton Publishing, ISBN 0-7509-1954-X.  
  • Szczurowski, Maciej. Artyleria Polskich Sił Zbrojnych na Zachodzie w II wojnie światowej (in Polish). Toruń, Poland: Wydawnictwo Adam Marszałek, 2001. ISBN 83-7174-918-X.

External links


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