70 Sqaudron

In 1968 a series of programmes were made documenting the histories of the squadrons based at RAF Akrotiri at the time.

Now, 50 years on, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force, we are revisiting those squadrons still in existence to see where they are and how much has changed.

LISTEN > Wings Over Cyprus: 70 Squadron

© IWM (CM 6621)

In the second of these special programmes, we follow 70 Squadron, one of the Royal Air Force’s most well-travelled squadrons who provide strategic air transport worldwide.

Jess Bracey retraces the history of 70 Squadron who marked their golden anniversary in Cyprus and has since assisted in the UK aid operation Op Ruman in the Caribbean and move to their latest home RAF Brize Norton.

The squadron was founded in Farnborough on April 22 1916, two years ahead of the formation of the RAF.

Its battle honours included the Western Front, the Somme, Ypres and in recent years the Gulf War and Iraq.

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From Sopwith Camels flown in the First World War, to the Vickers Wellington in the Second World War, the Hercules from 1970 until 2014 and then the A400M Atlas the variety of aircraft flown by 70 Squadron just show the diversity of its roles and capabilities over the last 100 years. 

From the archives, we hear about the squadrons early successes, from those who were there right at the beginning, and compare that to their present-day role.

Wing Commander Simon Boyle, OC of 70 Squadron in 2014:

"70 Squadron is going to be the first front-line Squadron to operate Atlas.

"It's a huge honour and a privilege to be part of the team charged with responsibility bringing the aircraft into service with the Royal Air Force."

Interestingly from their first Iraq battle honour in 1918, 80 years on they are still flying in the same airspace around the Middle East as their forefathers, and still call RAF Akrotiri, their former base, a home away from home while conducting operations.