The RAF’s most unique squadrons celebrates its 100th birthday this week.
Now stationed in Cyprus, 84 Squadron is the only Royal Air Force unit to have never been based in the UK and is also the last remaining RAF Search and Rescue Squadron in the world.
84 Squadron first saw action as a fighter unit on the Western Front where its pilots downed 129 enemy aircraft.
The squadron has an association with the Middle East which dates back to World War 1. For much of the war it was stationed in Iraq.
This is reflected in the Squadron’s Scorpion emblem.
During World War II, 84 Squadron was based in the Far East. Moving to it's new home in 1942.
When the Japanese overran Java they were all taken prisoner, all except the CO, Wing Commander Sir Arthur Gill, and 11 of his aircrew.
They escaped by lifeboat eventually reaching the coast of Northern Australia after 42 days at sea.
Legend has it they survived thanks to 960 cans of American beer they found on the boat.
In 1953, 84 became a transport Squadron covering the Middle East and Mediterranean.
The 1970s brought a switch to helicopters and a move to Cyprus, where she’s been ever since.
They are the only RAF Squadron to have been continuously based overseas.
84 Squadron operates three Bell 412s which are known as to the RAF as the Griffin.
They are based on the iconic Huey. Each aircraft can carry six troops and lift a 3000-pound payload, which is about the weight of a family car.
With a top speed of 160 miles per hour, she can stay airborne for nearly three hours.
The basic design of the Griffin may be decades old but it’s an aircraft it’s pilots are very fond of.
For 84 squadron this anniversary also means a lot of drill practice ahead of their centenary parade and a very special birthday celebration.
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