WORLD WAR 2
For the Western Desert Campaign, No 84 Squadron moved from Iraq
to North Africa, flying Blenheims Mk 1 and 4f with the Desert Air
Force. The Squadron also took part in the campaigns in Greece, Iraq, Syria and Persia, returning to North Africa again for the
'second push' campaign which started with the battle of Alam Halfa.
On 3 January 1942, the Squadron was withdrawn from active service
for re-equipment and transfer to the Ear East.
THE FAR EAST
During January and February 1942, No 84 flew its new Blenheims to
the Dutch East Indies, being based initially at Pelembang in
Sumatra. Raids against the advancing Japanese army were carried
out from Sumatra, from Batavia and finally from Java, where at
Tilatjap they were finally overrun. All were taken prisoner,
except for a small
party consisting of the CO and 11 aircrew, who escaped in a
28-foot ship's lifeboat named HMRAFS 'Scorpion'. This crew sailed
from Java to Australia in 44 days, living largely on 960 cans of
American beer found in the boat.
No 84 was being reformed in India, and re-equipped with Vultee
Vengeances. The Squadron then remained in India for the remainder
of the war, and went on to serve in Malaya and Singapore, flying
Vengeances, Beaufighters, Mosquitos and Brigands.
In January 1953 the Squadron moved to Fayid in the Canal Zone, and
became a transport Squadron operating Valettas. In 1956, it moved
from the Canal Zone to Aden, and in 1958
took delivery of its first Beverley.
closed down the traditions of No 84 were being maintained in the
Gulf, now equipped with six brand new Andover Cl's which moved
into Sharjah at the end of August 1967. In
December 1970 No 84 Squadron moved from Sharjah to Muharraq where
the Andovers operated in support of army units in the Trucial
States and Muscat and Oman.
On 30 September 1971 the Squadron disbanded at Muharraq. Three
aircraft returned to the UK and two flew to Masirah, forming a
detachment of No 46 Squadron based at Thorney Island.
17 January 1972 the Squadron reformed at Akrotiri with Whirlwind
Mk 10 helicopters, and was split into two flights - 'A' at
Akrotiri and 'B' at Nicosia. 'A' Flight is a multi-role unit,
primarily responsible for' SAR duties in Cyprus but also has a commitment
to troop support and communication flying; 'B' Flight operates in
the support role with the United Nation Forces in Cyprus.
January 2003, No 84 finally ended Wessex operations with the
retirement of the last four of the type in RAF service. They have
been replaced by Search and Rescue-equipped Griffin HAR2s.
The Search & Rescue Scorpions
84 Sqn's role in Cyprus is primarily to provide Search and Rescue cover for visiting fast jet Squadrons, though similar cover is also provided for civilian incidents within the Cyprus area of responsibility, involving shipping or land incidents. This is a very large area, extending half way to Crete, Turkey, Egypt and the Lebanon. As a secondary role, 84 Squadron carry out Support Helicopter tasking for both resident and visiting British Forces. The Squadron can be called on to assist the civilian authorities and the most significant task in this role is assistance in fire fighting operations. Recent operations have shown the diversity of tasks that the Squadron can be called on to carry out. In December 2000, 84 Sqn was called on to rescue the crew of a Cypriot launch, sinking off the coast of Limmasol - the crew were awarded Republic of Cyprus gallantry medals for their efforts. In June 2001, 84 Sqn helped in fighting a large bush fire which threatened Episkopi Garrison; three crews were needed as fire fighting took place over two days. In July 2001, WSBA suffered the worst night of rioting in the history of Cyprus when demonstrators attacked the police station at Episkopi - the Divisional Commander of WSBA Police commended the 84 Sqn crew who evacuated injured police officers from the scene to hospital. From 1 April 2003, the Wessex was replaced by Griffon HAR 2 helicopters.
Squadron's Badge, an Arabian scorpion, and its motto SCORPION'S
STING commemorate its long association with the Middle East, and
indeed the unit has 'never been home' since its formation in 1917.
"I say could someone give me a tow, I
appear to have run out of Fuel"
Clp Bill Cundall had to tow this 84 sqdn Whirlwind from Episkopi to Akrotirti by road, a journey of 4 and a half hours, with BFBS
providing coverage all the way. It was good to see 84s ground
crew working so hard with their machetes carving away the tree
branches as we moved on up through the Fassouri Plantation. 84s
Chapple was not very happy when we parked it outside the Guardroom
and went for lunch in the mess before returning his yellow bird.
(FUNNY HOW IT MADE ITS WAY BACK THERE!)
Steve Pittaway sent the following:
I saw your photo of Whirlwind XP346 being towed from Epi to Akrotiri. The aircraft had suffered a control defect that could not be rectified at the 'golf balls' so it was decided to tow it back. I was on brakes and Danny Gormley carried the chock all the way home. FS Joe Hunt - no-one forgets Joe - was in charge. I remember your tractor kept on coming to a halt because you had a throttle servo problem and a straightforward move took all day. Some time ago I sent the photo of the aircraft passing the Epi Garrison marker stone to the RAF News picture puzzle competition, perhaps they will publish it one day. My first tour on 84 was from 79-82 and I was the last 84 FS Eng from 99-03. I also served as the Akrotiri RAFALO and many of the people in the RAFA gallery are well known to my wife and me. The present chairman is a good friend. Please give him our regards. Keep up the good work.