Army squadron marks 70 years flying to action

Major Piers Lewis with World War II veteran Vince Weaver, plus  an Apache  and a 1940s  Auster MOD Crown Copyright/Cpl Obi Igbo
Major Piers Lewis with World War II veteran Vince Weaver, plus an Apache and a 1940s Auster MOD Crown Copyright/Cpl Obi Igbo
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The latest recruits to the Army Air Corp’s 656 Squadron met some of its earliest members last Friday.

Wattisham based 656 Squadron, part of 4 Regiment Army Air Corps, was formed during the Second World War to fly artillery observation missions in fabric-covered Auster aircraft and is now at the forefront of operating the Apache attack helicopter.

Its 70th anniversary was celebrated with a get-together for serving soldiers, veterans and families at Wattisham Flying Station which included an Apache flypast.

Major Piers Lewis, officer commanding 656 Sqn, said: “It’s important to bring everyone together to mark the anniversary because it is our soldiers, past and present, who make the squadron what it is.“

Vince Weaver, 90, was among the first soldiers to join the squadron when it was formed in December 1942.

He said: “We flew over the jungle spotting targets for the artillery. It’s been great to come back and meet the current soldiers, who’ve got the same approach to life and work as we had in Burma.

“ The Apache is far a more solid aircraft than the Austers we were flying in, and it’s amazing to see the advances in technology.”