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5 Regiment Army Air Corps

Overview

5 Regiment Army Air Corps is located at Aldergrove Station, Northern Ireland. Since the end of Operation BANNER (Northern Ireland 1969-2007) the Gazelle aircraft continues to support Police Service Northern Ireland operations within the Province. The Regiment also provides Gazelle pilots who deploy on exercise to the British Army Training Unit Suffield (Canada) throught 29 (BATUS) Flight Army Air Corps.
5 Regt AAC badge

Squadrons

5 Regiment Army Air Corps consists of two Squadrons:

  • 655 Squadron Army Air Corps
  • 651 Squadron Army Air Corps

The Regiment also has administrative responsibility for 29 (BATUS) Flight Army Air Corps

History

On 14 February 1957 five Auster Mk VI of 1913 Light Liaison Flight arrived at Royal Air Force (RAF) Station Aldergrove. This Flight became 13 Flight 651 Squadron Army Air Corps following the reforming of the Corps. The Flight was controlled by the RAF however the pilots were personnel from the Glider Pilot Regiment (GPR). The Commanding Officer was Captain Peter Wilson and the other pilots were Captain Baldwick, Lieutenant Legg, Staff Sergeants Hall and Ogsden and Sergeants Meaton and Davies. 13 Flight duties included liaison flying and border controls and their contribution was greatly valued by the Royal Ulster Constabulary and 39 Brigade. This period was the time of the Irish Republican Army's 'Border Campaign' of 1956-1962. 13 Flight remained at RAF Aldergrove until November 1962 when it was replaced by 2 Reconnaissance Flight, 2 Royal Tank Regiment.

During Operation BANNER (1969-2007), the Regiment's main role was to support the security forces in Northern Ireland, the British Army and the Police Service of Northern Ireland. For command purposes, the Army in Ulster was divided into three main areas in line with police regions. 8 Infantry Brigade covered the north and west, which included Londonderry and Enniskillen. 3 Brigade was responsible for the south and east - Armagh and Newry. 39 Brigade's area of responsibility extended around Greater Belfast and to the north as far as Larne.

In 1991 655 Squadron Army Air Corps moved from Ballykelly to join 665 Squadron Army Air Corps at RAF Aldergrove. On 1 October 1993 the Northern Ireland Regiment Army Air Corps was retitled 5 Regiment Army Air Corps. In 1995 the Regiment was granted permission by the Army Air Corps Regimental Committee to adopt the motto 'Nothing is Impossible' belonging to the Glider Pilot Regiment. On 30 June 1995 the Regiment exercised  the privilege of Trooping the Guidon through the ranks, as part of a Beating Retreat parade at Aldergrove. In July 2008 651 Squadron Army Air Corps moved back to Northern Ireland ( the Squadron had been serving initially in Germany as part of 1 Regiment Army Air Corps and was then stationed at Odiham) almost 50 years after its first deployment there.

The Station became Joint Helicopter Command Flying Station Aldergrove on 20 September 2009 when, after 91 years, the RAF ensign was lowered for the last time.

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