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No. 651 Squadron RAF
Active 1 Aug 1941 – 1 Nov 1955
1 Nov 1955 – 1 Sep 1957
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Role Air Observation Post Squadron
Motto(s) Latin: Dirige
(Translation: "Direct" (as in "direct towards/pointing the way"))[1]
Squadron badge heraldry A seashell fired[1]
Squadron codes MA (1944 – 45, HQ Flight)[2]
MB (1944 – 45, 'A' Flight)[2]
MC (1944 – 45, 'B' Flight)[2]
MD (1944 – 45, 'C' Flight)[2]
Aircraft flown
Helicopter Bristol Sycamore
Reconnaissance Taylorcraft Auster
Stinson Vigilant
Auster AOP.6

No. 651 Squadron RAF was a unit of the Royal Air Force in Italy and North Africa during the Second World War and afterwards in Egypt. Numbers 651 to 663 Squadrons of the RAF were Air Observation Post units working closely with Army units in artillery spotting and liaison. A further three of these squadrons – Nos. 664, 665 and 666 – were RCAF AOP squadrons manned by Canadian and British personnel. Their duties and squadron numbers were transferred to the Army with the formation of the Army Air Corps on 1 September 1957.[3][4]


No 651 Squadron was formed at RAF Old Sarum, Wiltshire, on 1 August 1941. It went into action in November of that year, during Operation Torch in North Africa. It later served in Italy, North Africa, and finally Egypt from 1945 were it remained until 1 November 1955. On that same day, No. 657 Squadron RAF was re-numbered to 651 Squadron at RAF Middle Wallop, it now flew Sycamore helicopters as well as Austers. On 1 September 1957 the squadron was transferred to the Army Air Corps and became No. 651 Squadron AAC. The original squadron is represented today by 651 Squadron of the Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing.

Aircraft operated

File:Stinson Vigilant.jpg

A Stinson Vigilant

An Auster AOP.5

Aircraft operated by no. 651 Squadron RAF, data from[1][5]
From To Aircraft Variant
August 1941 July 1942 Taylorcraft Plus C
September 1941 October 1941 Taylorcraft Plus D
October 1941 December 1941 Stinson Vigilant Mk.I
February 1942 September 1942 Taylorcraft Plus C.2
July 1942 October 1943 Auster Mk.I
August 1943 December 1944 Auster Mk.III
May 1944 October 1945 Auster Mk.IV
December 1944 June 1947 Auster Mk.V
November 1949 February 1952 Auster Mk.V
March 1947 October 1955 Auster AOP.6
November 1949 March 1952 Auster AOP.5
November 1955 September 1957 Bristol Sycamore HC.11
November 1955 September 1957 Auster AOP.6

See also



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Halley 1988, p. 445.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 89.
  3. Halley 1988, p. 444.
  4. Jefford 2001, pp. 102–105.
  5. Jefford 2001, pp. 102–103.


  • Flintham, Vic and Andrew Thomas. Combat Codes: A full explanation and listing of British, Commonwealth and Allied air force unit codes since 1938. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 2003. ISBN 1-84037-281-8.
  • Halley, James J. (1988). "The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1918–1988". Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd.. ISBN 0-85130-164-9. 
  • Jefford, Wing Commander C.G., MBE, BA, RAF(Retd). (2001). "RAF Squadrons: A Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912". Airlife Publishing Ltd.. ISBN 1-84037-141-2. 

External links

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