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Servicing Commandos


The early history of the RAF Servicing Commandos*

It was decided in January 1942 to form 3 Servicing Commandos in Fighter Command and instructions to this effect were given by the Director of Organisation 31 January.

The object of these units was to be the occupation of advanced landing grounds as soon as they had been captured by the Army.  The commandos would be disembarked into landing craft and put ashore over the beaches with their equipment and transport.  They would then advance to occupy the aerodrome as soon as the Army declared it clear of the enemy.  It would not be the duty of Servicing Commandos to fight for landing grounds but in the circumstances under which they would be operating opposition might be encountered and the men would have to be prepared to defend themselves and their aircraft.  On reaching the aerodrome they would arrange petrol and ammunition dumps and prepare to receive and service forward support fighter aircraft until the arrival of the squadron servicing echelons, whereupon they would leapfrog forward in their own transport to a more advanced aerodrome.  The minimum of essential equipment would be carried, sufficient for refuelling, rearming, between flights and daily inspections, minor repairs and replacements and the necessary gear for aircraft pickets, ground marking, entrenching and cooking.  Individual rations would be carried for 48 hours with additional supplies for 10 days.  The total strength would be approximately 2 officers and 150 other ranks, all volunteers.

Immediately following the issue of the Air Ministry authority, volunteers were called for in Fighter Command.  Nos. 3201, 3202 and 3203 Commandos were formed and the first battle course was opened at Inveraray on 26 April.

On 6 April the Director of Military Co-operation at (the) Air Ministry was requested by the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Army Co-operation Command, to sanction the formation of 2 further Commandos for the servicing of Army Co-operatic aircraft.  The request was at first refused since DMO did not consider that the scale of operations in 1942 would call for the employment of such units.  The AOC-in-C  pressed his point, however, stressing that the forward operation of reconnaissance aircraft in support of the Army was as necessary as close fighter support.  He won his case and approval was given on 19 May.  It was considered that smaller units would suffice in Army Co-operation Command and the establishment was fixed at 2 officers and 74 other ranks.  Sufficient volunteers had been obtained by 17 July and Nos. 3225 and 3226 Commandos were formed and assembled on 1 August.

The Fighter Command and Army Co-operation Command Servicing Commandos, though serving similar purposes, had differing establishments and equipment and were trained to service different types of aircraft.  It was soon realised that, even though a forward landing ground might be allocated to specific squadrons, it would very likely be necessary to use the same airfield for both fighter and reconnaissance aircraft and even for light bombers, while in an emergency any type of aircraft might land if the aerodrome were suitable.  It was, therefore, decided that the Commandos should be known as RAF Servicing Commandos and should all have identical establishments and be able to service aircraft of any squadron likely to use a captured aerodrome.  The establishment and training of a Commando would be based on the carrying out of daily and between flights inspections and all repairs and adjustments normally undertaken by flight personnel in a squadron, limited in extent to supporting the equivalent operational effort of 3 fighter squadrons plus 2 light bomber or one medium bomber squadron operating simultaneously throughout the hours of daylight.  Technical personnel would come under two groups :-

(a) Those familiar with all of a list of specified types, the list being subject to periodical amendment, but then including certain marks of Spitfire, Hurricane, Typhoon, Mustang, Blenheim, Boston.

(b) A limited number of selected experts on each specified type.

Following the completion of No. 5 Beach Course at Inveraray it was considered desirable to organise the Commandos rather more on Army lines.  It is beyond doubt that the new organisation had its advantages and the fact that the Commandos were capable of assuming a military role for local defence was a safeguard which the development of the campaigns did not in fact demand to any extent, but which, nevertheless, might under different circumstances have proved invaluable.  Under the reorganised scheme the commando was divided into 4 flights and a headquarters flight, each of the five having 3 squads of approximately 12 men.

Nos. 3201 and 3202 Servicing Commando Units were used in North Africa. They disembarked from assault craft at dawn on 8 November 1942 in the vicinity of Algiers and marched 12 miles to Maison Blanche airfield.  During the first week the commandos serviced every aircraft that landed at Maison Blanche, including Hurricanes, Spitfires and Lightnings.  No. 3203 SCU disembarked at Bone on 10 December and arrived at Blida on the 19th, subsequently joining No. 110 Repair and Salvage Unit at Ghardimaou on 12 February.

In spite of difficulties the units did magnificent work and were required to undertake the maintenance of more squadrons and for a considerably longer period than originally intended, owing to the difficulty in assembling the ground echelons and equipment of the fighter squadrons and moving them to the forward area to join their aircraft.

In the opinion of the Air Officer-in-charge of Administration at HQ, Eastern Air Command, 'The success achieved by the fighter squadrons during this period was undoubtedly due very largely to the loyal and extremely hard work of the Servicing Commandos who have most certainly proved their value in a campaign of this nature.'

Moving from Maison Blanche as the campaign developed, the Commandos were subsequently in operation at Djidjelli, Souk el Arba, Bone and other airfields under most difficult conditions.  Airfields and road surfaces were bad, the weather was far from ideal, living conditions were at times severe and units had still to contend with supply problems in addition to servicing aircraft.  They serviced, during the advance, Spitfires, night-flying Hurricanes, Wellingtons and USAAF Mitchells, frequently under enemy air attack.

At the end of April 1943 Commando personnel moved to a new airfield under construction near Medjez el Bab.  They were less than eight miles from the front line but by 3 May the advanced ground was ready for use.  It was not actually needed to any extent until 8 May when 184 aircraft were serviced in the one day.  This was their last major effort in North Africa, but after a short refresher course near Oran the three units were again ready for action in Sicily by July.

Several further Commando Units were formed early in 1943 for impending operations: No. 3204 was established in Fighter Command in February and in April Nos. 3205 and 3206 were formed in Army Co-operation Command and Nos. 3207, 3208, 3209 and 3210 in Fighter Command.

By April a revised establishment had been drawn up which incorporated the more important of the recommendations contained in the reports of the Officers Commanding, Nos. 3201 and 3202 Commandos, though the addition of an Officer Adjutant was not allowed.  The newly formed units, which were intended for use with No. 83 Group in Europe, were based on the new establishment

* This is taken from Appendix 35 of AP3397 'Maintenance' 

The role and equipment of the Servicing Commandos**

Employment

The role of the Servicing Commandos was to go in during the early stages of a assault and prepare airfields for the reception of aircraft, which they had to be prepared to service until the arrival of the squadron personnel.  The advantages-to be gained from their use were

(a) that they allowed for greater flexibility in the Air Plan by enabling squadrons of different types to be put into a new landing ground at short notice although it was not entirely satisfactory for a Commando to have to cater for more than one type of aircraft, and

(b) they took the first shock of casualties, thus saving losses among squadron ground personnel who would have been harder to replace.

The number of Commandos required was calculated on the basis of one per four squadrons flying in before their squadron personnel arrived.  After the arrival of the latter, Commando personnel were either withdrawn into the personnel transit centre for refitting or distribution among other units, or went ahead with the army to open up further landing grounds.  One Commando normally operated one airfield, but could be split to operate two within its capacity of four squadrons.  An increment of 50 personnel was made if it was required to service night fighters

Organisation

The Commando was designed to split into four flights, each of which had 3-ton lorries.  Each flight contained 7 aircraft teams of fitter, rigger and armourer.  No flight mechanics were included, all tradesmen being Fitters IIA and E.  These tradesmen were encouraged to regard themselves as both fitters and riggers when their training and experience could justify it.  Each of these flights assumed the responsibility for a squadron and functioned as follows :-

(a) Refuelling.  The petrol brought from the beach was dispersed to dumps around the landing ground and from these dumps each flight drew enough petrol for one squadron refuel.  One 3-ton lorry contained an empty 44 gallon drum and an A6 refueller, a second an empty drum and two semi-rotary hand pumps.  Refuelling was done by pouring the petrol into the drum and pumping it into the aircraft, thus ensuring adequate filtering.  No attempt was made to refuel long-range tanks as special attachments were necessary and it was a lengthy process.

(b) Rearming.  The third flight lorry collected ammunition from the dumps around the landing ground and transported it to each dispersal for use as required.

As no drivers were held on the establishment, these were drawn from all trades to maintain the balance.  All personnel also assisted in refuelling when not actually engaged on other specialist work.

As both officers were engineers and fully occupied with practical work, the paper work was kept to a minimum.  The normal system of 'travelling' Forms 700 was used and a sergeant clerk was employed to log aircraft movements.  A daily aircraft state was sent in each night at 1800 hours and the beach brick was kept informed of the stocks of petrol, oil, lubricant and explosives available at the landing ground.

One complete Commando was held ready in reserve, to be flown in to replace casualties.  In (Operation) Husky only two airmen were killed by anti-personnel mines and no replacements were necessary.

Equipment

(a) Tools.  Every tradesman carried a personal tool-roll of standard tools as laid down in the War Establishment Scales.

(b) Starter Trolleys.  Starter trolleys equipped with an engine were taken in during (Operation) Husky at a scale of one per aircraft, but this was found to be excessive as most pilots preferred to start on their internal accumulators rather than wait for the trolley.  The number was subsequently reduced to 12 per Commando with the addition of 8 spare internal accumulators.

(c) Refuellers.  In addition to the 8 semi-rotary hand pumps, 4 American A6 refuellers were carried.  These were high-pressure fuel pumps which packed in a box about 3 ft x 1 ft 8 ins x 1 ft 8 ins, weighed very little and would pump out a 44 gallon drum in one minute.  No. 3232 Servicing Commando had in addition a captured German 'Barrel' refueller which was contained in two barrels of normal petrol drum diameter and was 18 ins, high.  One held a petrol motor, petrol tank and three stage pump, while the other held sufficient hose and junction pieces to allow three aircraft to be refuelled at once.  This proved to be by far the most useful.

(d) Sheer Legs.  These were considered of little value as they could only lift and not move.  A German travelling gantry was acquired with a 3,000 kg block and tackle from which, at the time of its capture, an Me (Bf) 109 was suspended.  This gantry was constructed of tubular metal, and was mounted on four pressed-steel wheels with interconnected steering.  It had two shafts for towing, and could be dismantled into six pieces, each capable of being lifted by one man.

(e) Army type mess tins were used, as RAF mess tins would not accommodate the 48-hour ration.

(f) Oxygen.  A charging rack and transport cylinders were carried, but this could only be regarded as a temporary measure.  A mobile oxygen charging plant should be landed as soon as possible.

(g) Two jeeps were provided for each Commando, as they were essential to officer supervision.

(h) Spare Tyres and Wheels.  The number of spare tyres and wheels laid down in the War Establishment Scales was found to be inadequate and was accordingly amended to :-

Main wheels and tyres                       8

Main tyres Spitfire V and IX            40

Main tyres Spitfire VIII                    10

Tail wheels and tyres                        12

Tail tyres all Marks                           20

One gross of new sparking plugs was also carried.  These were spark tested, as new sparking plugs were sometimes defective.

(i) Stores.  These included cases of belted 20 mm ammunition, water finding paste for checking petrol drums, and ready-mixed glycol engine coolant.  At least one Commando in (Operation) Husky, however, took pure glycol, and had neither distilled water nor tartaric acid for treating ordinary water available; it was therefore compelled to drain the coolant from the radiators of crashed aircraft to top up serviceable aircraft.

** This is taken from Appendix 36 of AP3397 'Maintenance' 

The above extract was relevant to Operation 'Husky', the invasion of Sicily, and some of the stattements were not relevant to later operations in North-West Europe or the Far East

Individual unit histories are shown below: -

No 3201 Servicing Commando

This was formed at Kenley ('A' Flt) and Redhill ('B' Flt) on 9 February 1942 by redesignating No 3201 Servicing Echelon.  By May 1942 it was at Dundonald, moving to Hawkinge on 10 May and then in June to Kenley, where it disbanded in September 1942.

It reformed in the UK for Operation Torch in October 1942 and by 1 November was at sea in USS Leedstown.  Following the landings in North Africa it moved also took part in operations in Sicily, Italy, Corsica and Southern France before returning to Italy, where it disbanded on 31 Oct 1944.  The table below shows its locations and movements during this period.

Date Location Notes
8 Nov 1942 Maison Blanche  
20 Nov 1942 Souk-el-Arba to service No 324 Wing
13 Dec 1942 Ghardimaou  
9 Jan 1943 Blida  
8 Jun 1943 Port-aux-Poules  
25 Jun 1943 in transit  
8 Jul 1943 Sousse  
10 Jul 1943 Cent Beach, Sicily  
13 Jul 1943 Comiso  
26 Jul 1943 Cassible still servicing No 324 Wing
4 Aug 1943 Comiso  
25 Aug 1943 Gerbini  
26 Aug 1943 Pachino Main  
4 Sep 1943 Lentini East detachment at Cassibile
2 Sep 1943 in transit  
30 Sep 1943 Barletta  
2 Oct 1943 Cerignola  
9 Oct 1943 Bari  
10 Dec 1943 Montecorvino  
4 Jan 1944 in transit to Naples  
12 Jan 1944 in transit to Corsica  
16 Jan 1944 Ghisonaccia  
24 Mar 1944 Filello  
1 Apr 1944 Alto to 322 Wing (arrived 2 Apr 1944)
1 May 1944 Borgo  
5 May 1944 Poreto  
9 Jun 1944 Ortalo area  
15 Jul 1944 Calvi still servicing No 324 Wing
30 Aug 1944 in transit from Corsica to Southern France
2 Sep 1944 Marignane  
1 Oct 1944 St Victoret  
5 Oct 1944 shipped to No 3 BPD Naples  
15 Oct 1944 Gragnano  

No 3202 Servicing Commando

This was formed at Croydon ('A' Flt) and Hunsdon ('B' Flt) on 9 February 1942 by redesignating No 3202 Servicing Echelon.  It moved to Stapleford Tawney on 27 April then to Inverary on 10 May, after which its fate unknown.

It reformed in UK for Operation Torch in October 1942 and by 1 November 1942 was at sea.  Following the landings in North Africa, it later took part in operations in Sicily and Italy, being disbanded on 31 January 1944.  The table below shows its locations and movements during this period.

Date Location Notes
8 Nov 1942 Maison Blanche  
12 Nov 1942 Djidjelli  
22 Nov 1942 Philippeville  
7 Dec 1942 Maison Blanche  
12 Jan 1943 Bone attached No 322 Wing with detachments at Oued and Philippeville
18 Mar 1943 Canrobert  
11 May 1943 Souk-el-Khemis  
by 26 Jun 1943 Blida  
17 Jul 1943 King's Cross  
11 May 1943 Medjez-el-Bab detachment to La Marsa
30 May 1943 Blida  
7 Jun 1943 Arzeu  
19 Jun 1943 St Charles, near  Algiers  
27 Jun 1943 Port-aux-Poules  
4 Jul 1943 Ariana  
13 Jul 1943 embarked for Sicily  
14 Jul 1943 Gela  
18 Jul 1943 detachment to Termini  
20 Jul 1943 Aggrigento now working with No 324 Wing
23 Jul 1943 Boccadifalco (Palermo)  
17 Aug 1943 Bizerta  
10 Sep 1943 Montecorvino  
25 Sep 1943 Serretelle now working with No 322 Wing
4 Oct 1943 Capodichino  
10 Oct 1943   transferred from No 322 Wing to No 324 Wing
30 Oct 1943  Gioia del Colle returned to No 322 Wing
17 Dec 1943 Tortorella  
24 Dec 1943 l mile from Foggia on Manfredonia road
Jan 1944 Tusciana  
27 Jan 1944 No 38 PTC San Severo  

No 3203 Servicing Commando

This was formed at Hawkinge ('A' Flt) and West Malling ('B' Flt) on 9 February 1942 by redesignating No 3203 Servicing Echelon.  It moved to Stapleford Tawney on 11 May then to Lympne before moving to Martlesham Heath on 5 July 1942, after which its fate unknown.

It reformed at No 1 PDC, West Kirby for Operation Torch on 18 August 1942 and by 1 November 1942 was at sea.  Following the landings in North Africa, it later took part in operations in Sicily and Italy, being disbanded on 6 February 1944.  The table below shows its locations and movements during this period.

Date Location Notes
8 Nov 1942 Maison Blanche?  
by 10 Dec 1942 Bone  
16 Dec 1942 in transit  
19 Dec 1942 Blida  
12 Feb 1943 Ghardimaou  
24 Feb 1943 Souk-el-Khemis ('Paddington')  
19 Mar 1943 Thibar  
8 Apr 1943 Souk-el-Arba  
28 Apr 1943 Medjez-el-Bab detachment to Djebel Abioud
3 Jun 1943 Blida  
9 Jun 1943 Port-aux-Poules  
24 Jun 1943 Joinville  
1 Jul 1943 Ville Jacques  
10 Jul 1943 La Marsa  
15 Jul 1943 Comiso  
3 Aug 1943 Pachino South  
2 Sep 1943 Milazzo area  
11 Sep 1943 Salerno  
11 Sep 1943 'Roger' airfield  
20 Sep 1943 Montecorvino  
25 Aug 1943 'Roger' (Tusciana)  
15 Dec 1943 Capodichino  
30 Jan 1944 Bella Vista Portia  

No 3204 Servicing Commando

This was formed at Martlesham Heath on 12 March 1943 in No 11 Group but destined for service in Sicily.  After service in Sicily it moved over to the Italian mainland, where it disbanded on 25 January 1944.  The table below shows its locations and movements during this period.

Date Location Notes
19 May 1943 No 1 PDC, West Kirby  
27 Jun 1943 embarked SS Ormonde at Liverpool for Italy
19 Jul 1943 Augusta  
24 Jul 1943 Cassible  
10 Aug 1943 Sita Works, Catania  
26 Aug 1943 Pachino Main  
23 Oct 1943 Gioia del Colle  
8 Nov 1943 Lecce  
by 21 Jan 1944 Bari detachment Catania

No 3205 Servicing Commando

This was formed at Sawbridgeworth on 8 April 1943 in Army Co-operation Command but with the disbandment of Army Co-operation Command, it was transferred to Fighter Command at the end of May.  It was initially allocated to No 10 Group but in July was transferred to No 83 Group and was one of the earliest RAF units to land in Normandy on D+1 (7 June 1944).  However, by November 1944 it was no longer required in the theatre and after returning to the UK it was reallocated to ACSEA, where it arrived in December, eventually making it way to Singapore and Indonesia, where it disbanded on 15 March 1946.  The table below shows its locations and movements during this period.

Date Location Notes
28 May 1943 Odiham  
12 Jun 1943 Zeals No 10 Group
19 Jul 1943 Lydd No 83 Group
17 Aug 1943 'A' Section Newchurch to Ashford

'B' Section Kingsnorth to Woodchurch

 
21 Oct 1943 HQ & 'A' Section at Westhampnett

'B' Section at Detling

 
21 Nov 1943 Gravesend  
23 Nov 1943 Andover  
4 Jan 1944 Peterhead 'B' Section at Gravesend
by 1 Feb 1944 'B' Section at Andover  
4 Feb 1944 'B' Section at Eastchurch  
14 Mar 1944 Westhampnett  
9 Apr 1944 Boxgrove Common  
17 Apr 1944 Redhill  
6 May 1944 Holmsley South for exercise
15 May 1944 Alton  
19 May 1944 Tangmere  
1 Jun 1944 Old Sarum Waterproofing of vehicles
7 Jun 1944 Ver-sur-Mer  
9 Jun 1944 B.3 Ste Croix-sur-Mer  
16 Jun 1944 B.4 Beny-sur-Mer  
26 Jun 1944 B.10 Plumetot  
1 Jul 1944 St Croix Grand Tonne  
31 Jul 1944 Bognor Regis attached to No 83 GSU
2 Oct 1944 Old Sarum Waterproofing of vehicles
2 Nov 1944 No 1 PDC, West Kirby for India
5 Dec 1944 Bombay  
9 Dec 1944   reallocated to ACSEA
16 Dec 1944 Double Moorings, Chittagong  
18 Dec 1944 Patenga No 903 Wing
24 Dec 1944 Akyab  
13 Jan 1945 Double Moorings  
20 Jun 1945 Santa Cruz  
10 Sep 1945 Kelanang  
15 Sep 1945 Tengah  
25 Sep 1945 Kallang  
16 Dec 1945 Kemajoran  

No 3206 Servicing Commando

This was formed at Odiham on 8 April 1943, being placed under No 10 Group in June.. At some point it transferred to No 84 Group but was transferred to No 83 Group on 10 May 1944.  After serving throughout the European campaign it was transferred to No 2 Group on 12 April 1945 and returned to the UK at the end of the month, going to No 13 OTU at Harwell, into which it was absorbed, never formally disbanding.  The table below shows its locations and movements during this period.

Date Location Notes
1 May 1943 Inverary  
6 May 1943 Odiham  
11 Jun 1943 Zeals No 10 Group
20 Jul 1943 Martlesham Heath  
3 Aug 1943 Woodchurch  
11 Aug 1943 'A' Section remained Woodchurch

'B' Section Gatwick to Ashford

 
17 Aug 1943 'A' Section to Lydd

'B' Section to Kingsnorth

 
18 Sep 1943 Wigtown  
26 Sep 1943 Newchurch  
4 Oct 1943 Huggate  
14 Oct 1943 Coltishall  
3 Jan 1944 Aston Down  
26 Apr 1944 Llanbedr  
1 May 1944 Thorney Island  
10 May 1944 Odiham from No 84 Group to No 83 Group
17 May 1944 Hurn  
5 Jun 1944 Old Sarum for waterproofing of vehicles
13 Jun 1944 Gosport  
15 Jun 1944 B.6 Coulombs  
21 Jun 1944 B.8 Sommervieu  
6 Jul 1944 Brecy  
22 Jul 1944 B.7 Martragny  
28 Jul 1944 B.10 Plumetot  
5 Aug 1944 B.4 Beny-sur-Mer to B.18 Cristot  
9 Aug 1944 B.19 Lingevres  
26 Aug 1944 B.24 St Andre-de-l'Eure  
12 Sep 1944 B.58 Melsbroek  
16 Sep 1944 B.60 Grimbergen  
5 Oct 1944 B.82 Grave  
15 Oct 1944 B.78 Eindhoven  
29 Oct 1944 The Old Mill, Diest  
29 Dec 1944 Y.32 Oplebeek/Ophoven  
25 Jan 1945 Diest  
23 Apr 1945  in transit to UK  
25 Apr 1945 arrived Tilbury  

No 3207 Servicing Commando

This was formed at Tangmere on 27 April 1943 in No 11 Group, being transferred to No 83 Group on 3 July.  It moved to the Continent in June 1944 but in October returned to the UK and after sailing to India was reallocated to ACSEA on 9 December 1944, finally being disbanded into No 390 MU at Seletar on 1 December 1945.  The table below shows its locations and movements during this period.

Date Location Notes
9 May 1943 Zeals:  
3 Jul 1943 New Romney  
12 Jul 1943 Pembrey  
1 Aug 1943 Kenley 'A' Section servicing No 127 Airfield - Kenley

'B' Section servicing No 126 Airfield - Redhill

7 Aug 1943 Staplehurst 'A' Section at Lashenden
16 Aug 1943   'A' Section servicing No 125 Airfield - Newchurch

'B' Section servicing No 127 Airfield - Headcorn

14 Sep 1943 Woodchurch for No 128 Airfield

'A' Section detached to Ashford

28 Sep 1943 Weston Zoyland  
31 Oct 1943 Snailwell  
6 Nov 1943 Sculthorpe  
27 Nov 1943 Lasham  
12 Dec 1943 Manston  
4 Jan 1944 Eastchurch 'B' Section - Hutton Cranswick
21 Jan 1944 Westhampnett 'B' Section - Tangmere
29 Feb 1944 Gravesend  
14 Mar 1944 Hunsdon  
16 Apr 1944 Boxgrove Camp  
22 Apr 1944 Aston Down  
7 May 1944 Portreath 'B' Section at Predannack to 12 May 1944
12 May 1944 Aston Down  
18 May 1944 Westhampnett  
12 May 1944 Westenhanger  
18 Jun 1944 Villiers le Sec  
26 Jun 1944 B.7 Martragny  
6 Jul 1944 B.1 Asnelles-sur-Mer  
31 Jul 1944 Continent to Bognor Regis  
xx Oct 1944 Old Sarum for waterproofing of vehicles
xx Oct 1944 Sailed to India  
4 Nov 1944 disembarked Bombay  
25 Dec 1944 Tamu  
27 Dec 1944 Palel  
1 Feb 1945 Kalemyo  
8 Feb 1945 Ywadon No 1 Detachment - Tabingaung

No 2 Detachment - Onbauk

5 Mar 1945 Monywa  
8 Mar 1945 Meiktila  
8 Mar 1945 Ywadon  
2 Jul 1945 Tennant (Toungoo) detachment at Kalayma
28 May 1945 Mingaladon  
29 May 1945 Insein Barracks  
10 Aug 1945 Hmawbi  
22 Aug 1945 Rangoon  
5 Sep 1945 Kallang  

No 3208 Servicing Commando

This was formed at West Malling on 3 May 1943 in No 11 Group but on 23 January 1944 was transferred to No 84 Group and then to No 83 Group on 10 May.  Crossing to the Continent in June it was returned to  No 84 Group control on 9 August and in September was advised that it was to proceed to join ACSEA but this was soon but cancelled. It remained under No 84 Group for the remainder of the war and disbanded in May 1945.  The table below shows its locations and movements during this period.

Date Location Notes
9 May 1943 Zeals  
6 Jul 1943 Honiley servicing No 234 Sqn Spitfires from 9 Jul 1943
2  Aug 1943 Martlesham Heath  
20 Aug 1943 Lympne  
4 Oct 1943 Ford  
7 Oct 1943   'A' Flt detached to West MaIling later Llanbedr

'C' Flt to Bradwell Bay

24 Apr 1944 Funtington  
17 May 1944 Westhampnett  
16 Jun 1944 B.7 Martragny  
25 Jun 1944 B.8 Sommervieu  
6 Jul 1944 B.14 Amblie  
7 Jul 1944 B.15 Ryes  
15 Jul 1944 B.3 Banville  
31 Jul 1944 B.15 Ryes  
10 Aug 1944 B.10 Plumetot  
13 Aug 1944 B.4 Beny-sur-Mer  
xx Aug 1944 B.24 St Andre-de-l'Eure  
15 Aug 1944 B.17 Caen-Carpiquet  
18 Aug 1944 B.16 Villons-les-Buissons  
22 Aug 1944 B.17 Caen-Carpiquet  
1 Sep 1944 B.29 Bernay  
10 Sep 1944 Vendeville  
24 Oct 1944 B.58 Melsbroek  
late Oct 1944 Tannerie de Welure Kenterweg, Saventhem
xx Dec 1944 Half unit to B.71 Coxyde  
1 Feb 1944 HQ & half unit to A.84 Chievre
by 13 Mar 1945 HQ & half unit at Saventhem

half at B.71 Coxyde

by 27 Mar 1945 whole unit at Tamere  
by May 1945 Saventhem  

No 3209 Servicing Commando

This was formed at Exeter on  4 May 1943 in No 10 Group, being transferred to No 83 Group on 22 July.  By 6 July 1944 it had been transferred to No 83 Group but at the end of the month it returned to the UK in preparation for a move to India.  On 12 December it was reallocated to ACSEA and finally disbanded on 15 February 1946.  The table below shows its locations and movements during this period.

Date Location Notes
8 May 1943 Zeals  
5 Jul 1943 Inverary  
14 Jul 1943 Zeals  
22 Jul 1943 Newchurch  
9 Aug 1943 Attlebridge  
15 Aug 1943 New Romney  
17 Aug 1943 'B' Section to Staplehurst  
28 Sep 1943 Ashford  
by 31 Oct 1943 HQ & 'A' Section - Gatwick

'B' Section - Redhill

 
12 Nov 1943 Manston  
12 Dec 1943 Lasham 'A' Section - Hutton Cranswick

'B' Section - Fairwood Common

'C' Section - Southend

1 Feb 1944 Eastchurch 'B' Section - Gravesend
20 Feb 1944   'B' Section - returned to Eastchurch
14 Mar 1944 Peterhead 'B' Section - Eastchurch
16 Apr 1944 Ford  
30 Apr 1944 Boxgrove Camp  
by  May 1944 Westhampnett  
5 May 1944 Redhill  
17 May 1944 Westhampnett  
16 Jun 1944 B.2 Bazenville  
31 Jul 1944 from the Continent to Thruxton attached No 84 GSU
3 Oct 1944 Old Sarum for waterproofing of vehicles
26 Oct 1944 Andover  
xx Nov 1944 Sailed for India  
11 Jan 1945 arrived Worli  
2 Feb 1945 Singarbil  
29 Jun 1945 Calcutta  
2 Jul 1945 Korangi Creek detachment Lahore
18 Aug 1945 Bobbili  
12 Sep 1945 Avadi  
26 Sep 1945 Sailed from Madras  
1 Oct 1945 Rangoon  
Oct 1945 Bangkok detachment Saigon

No 3210 Servicing Commando

This was formed at Coltishall on 6 May 1943 in No 12 Group, later being transferred to No 84 Group and on 10 May to No 83 Group.  It moved over to the Continent on D+1 but at the end of July it returned to the UK in preparation for a move to India, being formally reallocated to ACSEA on 12 December 1944.  It later moved on to Malaya and then Indonesia before returning to India, after which its fate is unknown,  The table below shows its locations and movements during this period.

Date Location Notes
8 May 1943 Zeals  
3 Aug 1943 Coltishall  
18 Aug 1943 'A' Section to Odiham

'B' Section to Dunsfold

 

 
by 29 Oct 1943 HQ & 'A' Section at Odiham

'B' Section at Hartfordbridge

 
by 31 Oct 1943 Hawarden 'A' and 'B' Sections - Hawkinge

'C' Section - Friston

'D' Section - Fontwell

1 Dec 1943 Hawkinge 'C' Section- Friston

'D' Section - Lympne

18 Jan 1944 Lasham 'A' Section - Lasham

Detachment, 'B' Section - Friston

Detachment, 'B' Section - Hawkinge

16 Apr 1944 Hawkinge  
30 Apr 1944 Redhill  
2 May 1944 Tangmere for exercise
8 May 1944 Alton  
9 May 1944 Redhill  
17 May 1944 Tangmere  
7 Jun 1944 B.3 Banville  
15 Jun 1944 B.4 Beny-sur-Mer  
20 Jun 1944 B.9 Lantheuil  
30 Jun 1944 B.7 Martragny  
16 Jul 1944 B.12 Ellon  
31 Jul 1944 returned to UK - Thruxton attached to No 84 GSU
3 Oct 1944 Old Sarum for waterproofing vehicles
26 Oct 1944 Andover  
20 Dec 1944 embarked Liverpool for India  
14 Jan 1945 arrived Worli  
7 Feb 1945 Red Road  
20 Jul 1945 Dalbumgarh  
24 Aug 1945 Calcutta  
8 Sep 1945 sailed for Malaya  
18 Sep 1945 Kuala Lumper  
5 Oct 1945 sailed for Indonesia  
12 Oct 1945 Kemajoran:  
14 Nov 1945 Calcutta  

No 3225 Servicing Commando

This was formed  at Old Sarum on 27 Jul 1942 and following a work-up in the UK, moved to Middle East in March 1943, where it disbanded on 1 February 1944.  The table below shows its locations and movements during this period.

Date Location Notes
8 Sep 1942 Weston Zoyland  
12 Sep 1942 Odiham  
18 Feb 1943 Tangmere  
23 Feb 1943 Odiham  
11 Mar 1943 sailed from Liverpool  
5 May 1943 Kasfareet  
22 May 1943 Hadera  
8 Jul 1943 Bilbeis  
11 Aug 1943 Haifa  
16 Aug 1943 Kasfareet  
25 Sep 1943 Ramat David  
25 Oct 1943 Kilo 17 (LG.222)  
15 Dec 1943 Kilo 40 (LG.237)  

No 3226 Servicing Commando

This was formed at Sawbridgeworth on 3 July 1942 and in June 1943 set sail for Sicily, arriving on D+9.  It later crossed over to mainland Italy but in January 1944 it became surplus and finally disbanded on 31 January 1944,  The table below shows its locations and movements during this period.

Date Location Notes
2 Oct 1942 Weston Zoyland  
21 Nov 1942 Ayr detachment Bottisham
4 Dec 1942 Weston Zoyland  
16 Nov 1942 Bottisham  
3 Feb 1943 Sawbridgeworth  
18 Feb 1943 Ford  
11 Mar 1943 Sawbridgeworth  
8 Apr 1943 Grantham  
1 May 1943 Sawbridgeworth  
28 Jun 1943 sailed from Liverpool:  
19 Jul 1943 Augusta  
3 Aug 1943 Cassible  
11 Aug 1943 Lentini East  
3 Sep 1943 Milazzo area  
11 Sep 1943 Salerno  
13 Sep 1943 Asa  
24 Sep 1943 Serretelle  
3 Nov 1943 Capodichino by now under Northwest African Tactical Air Force
10 Dec 1943 Asa  
21 Jan 1944 No 38 PTC San Severo  

No 3230 Servicing Commando Unit

This was formed at No 28 PDC, Hadera on 1 April 1943 as No 1 RAF (Middle East) Servicing Commando Unit, but this was changed to No 3230 SCU on 7 April in Middle East Command.  It later moved to Sicily and and Italy, where it disbanded in Northwest African Tactical Air Force on 1 February 1944.  The table below shows its locations and movements during this period.

Date Location Notes
19 Apr 1943 Kabrit  
26 Apr 1943 Hadera  
27 May 1943 Almaza  
8 Jun 1943 embarked Port Tewfik  
17 Jun 1943 Kasfareet  
28 Jun 1943 embarked Port Tewfik  
11 Jul 1943 Pachino  
2 Aug 1943 Agnone  
10 Sep 1943 Bagliorizzo  
17 Sep 1943 Lentini  
26 Sep 1943 Lecce  

No 3231 Servicing Commando Unit

This was formed at No 28 PDC, Hadera on 1 April 1943 as No 2 RAF (Middle East) Servicing Commando Unit but this was changed to No 3231 SCU on 7 April in Middle East Command and disbanded on 1 February 1944, by which time it was  in Mediterranean Allied Tactical Air Force.  The table below shows its locations and movements during this period.

Date Location Notes
25 Apr 1943 Kabrit  
31 May 1943 Castel Benito  
4 Jun 1943 Ben Gardane  
15 Jun 1943 Luqa  
24 Jun 1943 Gozo  
1 Aug 1943 Scordia, Sicily  
3 Sep 1943 Milazzo East  
8 Sep 1943 detachment to Falcone  
15 Sep 1943 Grottaglie  
28 Sep 1943 Foggia  
15 Oct 1943 Gioia del Colle  
27 Oct 1943 Canne  
21 Nov 1943 Bari  
5 Dec 1943 Foggia  
10 Dec 1943 Celone  

No 3232 Servicing Commando Unit

This was formed at No 28 PDC, Hadera on 1 April 1943 as No 3 RAF (Middle East) Servicing Commando Unit but this was changed to No 3233 SCU on 7 April and disbanded on 26 January 1944.  The table below shows its locations and movements during this period.

Date Location Notes
29 Apr 1943 Kabrit  
7 May 1943 Hadera  
19 May 1943 Helwan  
25 May 1943 Aboukir  
10 Jun 1943 Ta kali  
17 Jun 1943 Dingli, Malta  
18 Jul 1943 Lentini  
24 Jul 1943 Agnone  
25 Jul 1943 Lentini West  
4 Sep 1943 to Italy  
13 Sep 1943 Half to Vilo Valenta  
21 Sep 1943 Cassano  
25 Sep 1943 Lecce  
3 Nov 1943 Bari  

This page was last updated on 25/11/17

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