#1319 Lynx AH9A
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Squadron Prints Lithograph No. 1319 - Lynx AH-9A, ZG884, 657 Squadron AAC, RAF Odiham. No. 657 squadron was formed as an Air Observation Squadron as part of the Army Co-operation Command on 31 January 1943. It was originally stationed at Ouston under the command of Major J Ingram RA and training commenced with the Auster Mk I and III. On 26 June the squadron moved to Clifton, near York, and two months later received orders for overseas. Having left York station at 01:00 Hrs on 13 August, the squadron embarked on SS Ormonde and sailed from the Clyde on 15 August, heading for Algiers in North Africa. During the middle of January 1944, 657 squadron was ordered to relocate to Italy, arriving at Vasto on 28 February to support the 8th Army. April saw the first full month of operations attached to 13 Corps. The squadron’s valuable work in the advance through Italy was clearly shown when German mortars and artillery began to ceasefire immediately as soon as an Auster appeared! After a period of directing navel gunfire, the squadron was placed under command of the Canadian Corps and quickly established a highly successful relationship as the Corps saw continuous action until November 1944 when the Canadians were rested and the squadron was switched to support 651 (AOP) squadron as part of 5 Corps. A month later the Squadron again came under the command of the Canadians as the 8th Army drove towards the Senio River. At the end of March 1945 orders were received to proceed to North West Europe due to special representation by the Corps Commander, 657 remained with the Canadian Corps it had served for so long. 657 Squadron crossed the French border en-route to Marseille and continued to Gilze-Rijen in Holland, arriving on 11 April 1945. When the World War II came to an end, the squadron was at Teuge, near Apeldoorn. It had flown 6,035 Hours on 5,095 operational sorties, co-operating in 4,444 artillery shoots and averaging over 18 operational flying hours per day. In November 1945 the squadron moved from Goslar back to Rollestone Camp, near Larkhill. In July 1946 the squadron badge was approved and the motto “Per Terras Perque Caelum” (by land and sky) was adopted. In April 1947 the squadron was reduced to two flights, no. 1900 and 1901. After moving to Middle Wallop on 19 January 1948, 1906 (Hel) Flight was formed pending the arrival of Sycamores. From November 1951 until October 1955 the flights were detached to various locations worldwide, including Germany, Hong Kong and Korea. On 1 November 1955 the unit was renumbered 651 squadron and 657 squadron disbanded. 24 Years later, in October 1969, 657 Aviation Squadron re-formed out of 9 Flight AAC and 2 RTR Air Troop. Based at Soltau, Germany, the squadron flew Sioux AH1 and Scout AH1 helicopters. The squadron was re-named 657 squadron on 1 January 1973 and it undertook its first tour in Northern Ireland from 1 December 1973. They flew Sioux from Ballykelly for two tours, whilst the last tour was flown from Long Kesh. On 1 April 1978 the unit was renumbered as 661 Squadron AAC and 655 Squadron AAC renumbered as 657 Squadron AAC. In June 1990 the squadron moved from Kirkee Barracks, Colchester to Oakington, Cambridgeshire. It moved to Dishforth, North Yorkshire in March 1992, relinquishing its independent status by becoming part of 9 Regiment AAC and thereby completing fifty year distinguished service in the same part of the world as it started in 1943. In June 2000 657 Squadron once again became independent when it moved to RAF Odiham, where it still operates today.