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'Guernsey's Own' 201 Squadron




Originally formed as No.1 Sqn Royal Navy Air Service, the squadron started life at Gosport on the 15th October 1914 operating aircraft such as the Sopwith Camel and early Avro 504s. Eventually war broke out and Britain needed as much help as it could get. Therefore on the 26th February the squadron moved to St Pal, which was a base in Dunkirk, to provide patrols against German submarines. No.1 Sqn RNAS also prevented German Zeppelin airships operating out of Belgium to then raid England. During 1917 the squadron moved to Bray Dunes airfield in France to provide aerial photographs for the battles of Arras and Ypres.


Between the Wars


On the 31st December 1919 No.1 Sqn RNAS was officialy disbanded because it was no longer needed as the war had come to an end. However, on January 1st 1928 the squadron reformed and was then to be formally known as 201 flying boat squadron equipped with the Supermarine Southampton. Ten years later in September 1938 the squadron was deployed to Invergordon for Search and Rescue Missions.World War IIBy the outbreak of the Second World War, 201squadron was used for reconnaissance over enemy waters looking for German Submarines. Finally, in April 1940 the squadron took delivery of the new Short Sunderland Aircraft. In October 1941 the squadron moved to Lough Erne in Northern Ireland and by May 1943 201 squadron had flown a total of 876 hours on reconnaissance missions. In 1948 201 moved to Hamburg where operation Plainfare was about to take place. The operation played a vital part in the Berlin Airlift and the squadron's role was to drop essential supplies of food, drink and medical equipment to West Berlin after Russia had cut off the city's land links.


After the warWith the Battle between Britain and Germany over, 201 squadron moved to its current base RAF Kinloss, Moray, Scotland, in March 1965. It was used primarily for policing duties in politically troubled areas. 'Guernsey's Own' was now flying Avro Shackleton's which they used for a total of twelve years. 201 Squadron pioneered the beginning of a new era of jet powered maritime aircraft and it was the first in the world with that capability. Equipped with the Nimrod Aircraft, 201 headed out to the Falkland's Campaign to provide maritime surveillance.Today201 Squadron played a major role engaged in tensions across the world and has been deployed to Iraq and Afganistan over the last few years with the Nimrod Aircraft.Unfortunatly, 201 Squadron was disbanded on the 9th May 2011 due to the UK Goverments decision to cut back on Defence spending.However, the Standard presented to 201 squadron in 2010 by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, did not follow the traditional route to the RAF College Cranwell. Instead, it has been 'lodged' in Government House, Guernsey. Should 201 squadron be re-formed at a different station operating different aircraft, the new Commanding Officer will present himself to the Lieutenant Governor at Government House to reclaim the Standard and in so doing rekindle the 70 year affiliation, which has existed between 201 squadron and the people of the Island of Guernsey.

Sopwith Camel (Crown Copyright)

Short Sunderland (Crown Copyright)

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