1950 – 1957

1950 – Several detachments were undertaken from Deversoir. January to Habbaniya and back to Deversoir February. To Maffraq and back inVampire Formation June. During this detachment to Mafraq to co-operate with the Arab Legion, King Abdullah of Jordan visited the Squadron and was presented with a framed reproduction of the Squadron Badge. On the 15th of October 1950 at the Royal Palace Amman, King Abdullah presented his personal standard to the Squadron. It is a treasured possession of the squadron and is still paraded on ceremonial occasions. They went back to Deversoir in June and returned to Habbaniya in November.

1951 – In June the Squadron detached, more or less on a war footing, to Shaibah, Southern Iraq, close to the Iranian border, with Vampires and a twin seat Meteor VII, This was during the Abadan – Anglo Iranian Oil Nationalisation Crisis. There were no shots fired by Six in anger but there were many occasions of “waving the flag” involving close encouVampire Servicingnters along the border This emergency lasted five months, much longer than expected. This was a very inhospitable environment – the hottest season of the year with temperatures in the cockpit reaching 165 degrees. The aircraft had no cold air units and the ground crew, working under extreme conditions of heat, dust and humidity, worked wonders to ensure the flying programme was met.

Habbaniya, Iraq was the new base for the Squadron in September 1951. This was a most welcome change after the Shaibah experience, with a month’s stand down ordered. Leave for some of the troops was spent at Ser Amadia, in the mountains of Northern Iraq – an old battleground for the Squadron. Others enjoyed the greenery of Habbaniya or pleasure spots in Egypt. The Squadron deployed constantly to various parts of the Middle East, especially to Abu Sueir in the Canal Zone during the Egyptian troubles of 1951 and 1952. Mafraq was again visited on many occasions and the Squadron proved its mettle by winning the Imshi Mason Memorial trophy for the best weapon Squadron and the Lloyd Cup for the best and most efficient Squadron in the Middle East.

Suez Aircrew

Suez Aircrew

Sqn Ldr Kennedy was awarded the Air Force Cross in recognition of his outstanding work as Commanding Officer of an excellent squadron. Sqn Ldr E.J. Roberts took over command in November, 1952 and took the Squadron to Sharjah on the Trucial Coast.

The aim of these detachments was  to “show the flag” in Oman, Muscat and the Qatar Peninsula. Many reconnaissances for and co-operation with the Arab Legion took place with leaflets being dropped on villages. The Squadron provided a flypast and aerobatic display by twelve Vampires and one Meteor on the occasion of the presentation of the K.C.M.G. to the Sheikh of Kuwait. June 1953 saw the Squadron taking part in the Coronation Fly Past at Habbaniya. 1954 saw a move to Amman for six months, a period dogged by poor aircraft serviceability before its return to Habbaniya and being re-equipped with Venoms and a move to Cyprus.
The usual work up and practice took place and a detachment to South Africa was carried out in May,1955. The situation again was tense in the Middle East and in October 1956, the Suez crisis caused preparation for war to be in everyone’s mind.

The aircraft were armed and all Allied Air Force aircraft were repainted with black and yellow stripes as an aide for recognition. Action was initiated in November with strikes being led by the C.O. against Kasfareet, Kabrit, Fayid, Abu Sueir and Shallufa. Hangers, buildings, aircraft and vehicles were destroyed. On the 5th November, the Squadron covered the Allied landings at Port Said. Flight Sergeant Lewis was mentioned in despatches for his contribution to the Suez campaign.