Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF)
The Auxiliary Air Force (AAF) was instituted on 9 October 1924 and, by September 1939, there were 20 flying squadrons, equipped with a variety of operational aircraft which included Hurricanes and Spitfires; there were also 47 balloon squadrons.
During the Battle of Britain, the AAF provided 14 of the 62 squadrons in Fighter Command’s Order of Battle and accounted for approximately 30 per cent of the accredited enemy kills.
In 1947, these achievements were honoured by the prefix ‘Royal’. The Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF) remained an important element of the country’s defences throughout the early 1950s including a mobilisation during the Korean War. The late 1950s saw the disbandment of many of the RAuxAF squadrons.
The renaissance of the RAuxAF began in 1979 with the formation of three regiment field squadrons, and continued with a movements squadron in 1982 and an aeromedical evacuation squadron in 1983. Other units followed and, in 1984, the RAuxAF’s diamond jubilee was marked by the award to the Service of its own badge.
During the Gulf War in 1991, the aeromedical and movements squadrons performed with great distinction. In 2003, the RAuxAF was involved in the first large-scale mobilisation for over 50 years. More than 900 people, over 70 per cent of its trained strength, were called into full-time service and deployed to numerous locations both overseas and in the UK.
In the period since then, elements of the RAuxAF have been continuously mobilised, providing support to the regular RAF in areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
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