Wingwalker performs acrobatics high above Cardiff as RAF squadron is resurrected in the city after a gap of 57 yearsPosted: March 11, 2014
By Camilla Turner,
It carried out enemy attacks in North Africa and laid smoke screens in World War II… and after half a century, an RAF squadron is being resurrected
It carried out enemy attacks in North Africa and laid smoke screens for the landings at Dieppe during the Second World War, before being disbanded in the 1950s.
But after half a century, RAF 614 (County of Glamorgan) Squadron is being resurrected to its former glory, and has already opened its doors to new recruits.
To celebrate its re-creation exactly 57 years after 614 Squadron was disbanded, Honorary Air Commodore Vic Norman piloted a wingwalker across Cardiff.
Stella Guilding, 26, performed handstands and acrobatics as the aircraft glided over RAF Pengam Moors, the old operational centre of the Squadron.
After months of preparation, the grand launch took place at the Squadron’s brand new headquarters at Ty Llewellyn, Cardiff.
“We are delighted to get to the point where the squad is open for recruitment,” said Squadron Leader Mat Best. “We had people standing outside the gates before we even opened.”
The Squadron is hoping to recruit 120 new reservists by this time next year to fill an array of posts, ranging from photographer to intelligence analyst.
Squadron Leader Gary Lane added: “The response we’ve seen here in Cardiff is better than any other in the UK. To have that amount of people almost knocking on the door is fantastic.”
The re-forming of the 614 Squadron is part of a wider Ministry of Defence (MOD) strategy to bolster the number of reservists in the fighting forces to 20% by 2020.
Welsh Secretary David Jones, who attended the open day, said: “It is 57 years to the very day that this squadron was closed, and it is good to see that it is re-open again.
“Reservists will play an increasingly important role in our country’s defence and people are clearly very keen to be part of it.”
The 614 Squadron was formed at RAF Pengam Moors near Cardiff as an army co-operation unit under the Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RauxAF) on June 1, 1937.
Over the years the Squadron has flown a number of different aircraft types, from Hawker Hind bi-planes during its early years to the Supermarine Spitfires at the end of the war, and finally de Havilland Vampires after 1950.
During the Second World War, the Squadron contributed to the nation’s defences by patrolling over the Scottish coast between Inverness and Berwick and shipping escort duties in the Mediterranean.
In support of RAF Bomber Command’s Thousand Bomber Raids in May and June 1942, the Squadron sent its Blenheims to attack enemy airfields in the Low Countries and in August 1942 it laid smoke screens to protect the advancing troops in their landings at Dieppe.
In November 1942 the Squadron moved to North Africa where it attacked enemy airfields and lines of communication until May 1943.
It then carried out shipping escort duties in the Mediterranean until being disbanded on January 25, 1944 at Borizzo Airfield, Sicily.
The second incarnation of No 614 Squadron arose from the No. 462 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), which had formed on September 7, 1942 at Fayid, Egypt, under Article XV of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.
The RAAF Overseas Headquarters requested that the squadron be renumbered and transferred to the RAF. On February 15, 1944, while it was en route to Celone, Italy the unit was renumbered to No 614 Squadron.
Equipped with Handley Page Halifaxes it was involved in bombing missions over Italy and the Balkans and it also carried out supply drops to partisans in those areas.
On July 27, 1945 it was disbanded at Amendola Airfield, Italy, and renumbered to No 214 Squadron RAF.
With the reactivation of the RAuxAF, No 614 Squadron was reformed on May 10, 1946 at RAF Llandow as a day fighter squadron.
Along with all the flying units of the RAuxAF, the unit was disbanded on March 10, 1957.
Sourced by Wales Online