NI: Non-roulement Tasks

The Squadrons that manned the roulement tasking at Aldergrove and Bishops Court through the long years of the 70’s and 80’s, often had to cope with further taskings directed their way by hard pressed Army Commanders.

Contemporary Regiment Gunner in front of WW2-era Typhoons

One such non-roulement task was the deployment of 33 Field Wing, in October 1969. The Wing relieved a RM Commando and undertook the whole security of the border except in County Londonderry. This meant that the Corps had at least 5 Squadrons in theatre at any one time. The main action of the tour was the Reserve flights participation in the Omagh Floods of 1989. In 1972, 26 Squadron, a Bofors L40/70 Sqn, stationed in West Germany at RAF Gutersloh, was deployed under command of 16 AD Regiment RA, stationed in Dortmund, to Londonderry.

The Wing deployment had an Army Battery under command because of 51 Squadron’s move to Wittering. The Squadron excelled in their allotted task of policing the Old Walled City of Londonderry. Casualties occurred due to bombings in the close-packed streets, which included the Squadron 2 i/c and one of the Flight’s Flight Sergeants. This happened on the first day that they took over responsibility for the city and were caught by a classic “double bluff” by the bombers, the first bomb having exploded relatively harmlessly, the second positioned to catch the Security Forces follow up. Two other airmen were injured during an evacuation of a bar when a device exploded prematurely. Other non-main task deployments occurred: some of short duration, others were of a reserve nature, like the Ulster Workers Strike of 1974. Much later in the campaign both 2 and 15 Squadrons did stints in Andersons Town in Belfast.