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652 Squadron Army Air Corps

Overview

652 Squadron Army Air Corps is based at Yeovilton, Somerset with 1 Regt  AAC, under the command of Headquarters Aviation Reconnaissance Force (HQARF). 52 Squadron dates back to the Second World War and their motto is 'Sive Aere Sive Campo' or 'In the Air and in the Field'. The Squadron is affectionately known as the 'Fighting Frogs' since a squadron aircraft on exercise became overrun with frogs. Once home they found a stowaway on the aircraft and 'Fred' has remained with the Squadron ever since.

652 Sqn AAC badge

Squadron History

652 Squadron Army Air Corps (652 Sqn AAC) has an unusual tri-service history. The Squadron first formed up on 1 May 1942 at Royal Air Force (RAF) Old Sarum as a combined RAF/Army Air Observation Post (AOP) Squadron equipped with the Tiger Moth aircraft, later replaced by the Auster AOP Mk1. 652 (AOP) Sqn RAF were re-equipped with the Auster Mk3 for service as a Royal Navy co-operation squadron and carried out deck landing trials during late 1942 and 1943, when stationed in Scotland. The Squadron saw action for the first time in Normandy during 1944, with sorties being flown on 8 June 1944. Following this they Squadron moved to operate in the Caen area, in support of 3, 4 and 51 Divisons, moving to the European theatre for the remainder of World War Two. From formation until the end of the War the Squadron had one Commanding Officer, Major RR Cobley DFC, Royal Artillery.

All the known bases and airfields in the United Kingdom used by 652 (AOP) Squadron RAF prior to their deployment to Beny-sur-Mer, Calvados, France on 6 June 1944 are listed below.

1 May 1942 - 15 June 1942: RAF Old Sarum, Wiltshire
15 June 1942 - 11 August 1942: RAF Bottisham, Cambridgeshire
11 August 1942 - 31 December 1942: RAF Westley, Suffolk
31 December 1942 - 20 February 1943: RAF Dumfries, Dumfriesshire, Scotland
20 February 1943 - 28 March 1943: RAF Sawbridge, Hertfordshire
28 March 1943 - 2 July 1943: RAF Methven, Perth and Kinross 
2 July 1943 - 7 November 1943: RAF Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland
7 November 1943 - 25 March 1944: RAF Ipswich, Suffolk
25 March 1944 - 29 April 1944: RAF Denham, Buckinghamshire
29 April 44 - 6/7 June 1944: RAF Cobham, Surrey

652 (AOP) Sqn RAF transferred to the Army Air Corps on 1 September 1957, as an anti-tank squadron, forming part of 1 Regiment Army Air Corps, located at Gutersloh, Germany. The Squadron deployed four times on Operation TELIC (Iraq) between April 2005 to September 2008 and, at the end of January 2013 returned from deployment to Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK.

Squadron Badge

Squadron motto - 'Sive aere sive campo' or 'In the air and in the field'
Squadron badge heraldry - In front of wings conjoined in base, a gun barrel fesswise.

'Fred' has been the 652 Sqn AAC mascot for many years since joining the Squadron as a stowaway. Following a pledge to Queen and Country and an intensive training package, Fred has been constantly on service with the Squadron. He travels with them wherever they go, be this on an exercise in El Centro or a tent on Salisbury Plain. Fred is an active member of aircrew and as such has had a full check ride with the Master Crewman, who commented that 'his shooting was far more accurate than some of our own crewmen'!
Fred - the 652 Sqn AAC mascot

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