A BRIEF EARLY HISTORY OF 51 FIELD SQUADRON RE

The Squadron was formed in 1965, filling its establishment and working up at Claro Barracks in Ripon in the latter half of that year. It was one of four Squadrons forming or converting to the Airfields role, to take over responsibilities of support to the RAF from the “Airfield Construction” Branch of the RAF.

At the end of January 1966 the bulk of the Squadron started on the 24+-hour journey to join the advance party in what was to be the largest Engineer Squadron on establishment for nearly 3 years. This started with a session of concentrated acclimatisation training which was to last until our arrival at Paya Lebar Airport Singapore.

The Squadron settled down to life on an RAF station, RAF Seletar to be precise, and started the take-over and work up to replace 5001 Squadron RAF. We inherited some strange equipment, exchanged some good for some rather dated and tried to keep some of the “spare” toolkits that the RAF had, to little or no avail. We also inherited some personnel from the RAF, mostly to the great benefit of the Squadron as it helped ease the process of familiarisation with RAF procedures. The Squadron was withdrawn from Singapore as part of the “withdrawal from East of Suez” plan in 1968.

Since October 1970 the Squadron has had a number of name and role changes and even returned to Ripon around 1977, the Squadron today I am sure is just as successful as its predecessors and hopefully the “Black Ant” lives on somewhere.

51 reformed in June 1968 at Waterbeach Barracks as part of 39 Engineer Regiment (Airfields). The Squadron stayed here till 1977, but then moved back to Claro Barracks, In Sunny Ripon again, were it was to undertake yet another change taking on the role of 51 Field Squadron (Construction) but still carried on its Airfield Damage Repair job at RAF Gutersloh, I am not sure what happened to the Squadron after 1981 because I was posted to 21 Engineer Regiment in Nienburg. I would hope that maybe someone could fill in the blanks from 1981 to whenever 51 Field Squadron were disbanded as I would be interested to find out

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Comments

I was stationed there from (around) 1948 to 1949 as telephone operator/linesman following postings at:- 1 Trre Malvern; 6 Holding regt. Chatham; School of Electrical and Armaments Borden and thence to SME RIpon. As you can guess, that was some time ago, and I have just discovered this site and wondered if anyone else was around at these places at the same time?