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18 Squadron Myth or reality ?
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Author:  Barwen18 [ Mon Dec 01, 2014 2:44 am ]
Post subject:  18 Squadron Myth or reality ?


Please, please can anyone help me. Unless I was dreaming it. The RAF Regiment or should I say a small band of them were attached to 18 Squadron Wessex (pegasus) at Odiham, Gutersloh and Northern Ireland. I have a hell of a job trying to convince people that this was the case. Personally left Swinderby in 1969 and after what seemed like hell at Catterick I was posted straight to Odiham under the wing of Sergeant Halligan or Halligans heroes like he affectionately called us. Not long after arriving a group of us were sent to St Athans to learn to drive and within a year of our return were flown over to Aldergrove in Northern Ireland. Once back home it was over to snowy Gutersloh in Germany where we were on a regular exchange back and forth to Odiham to give respite to our sister squadron 72 (swifts). Also at Gutersloh were 26 Squadron but we didn't mix! They thought we had it cushy but under Halligan that was far from the truth.
My problem is, everytime I meet anyone and tell them I was in the Regiment with 18 Squadron I get looks of disbelief or outright refusal to believe that 18 Squadron had a regiment flight. I know it happened but please put it in writing for me unless of course it didn't happen and I dreamt the whole six years of fun fights and Fräuleins. Flughafen, Pigs Bar, Mally, Zulu Warrior! Oh what times we had.
Jess Plant. :lol:

Author:  GingeM [ Mon Dec 01, 2014 1:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 18 Squadron Myth or reality ?

Hi Barwen, Welcome to RockNet.

I can't say 100% that 18 Sqn. had a Rock Section because I don't recall coming across any of them. I can say, without fear of contradiction, that 7 sqn, (Chinooks), 240 OCU, (Puma and Chinooks), and 33 and 230 Sqn, (Pumas), all had Rock sections.

Having said that, logically, 18 Sqn. did have their own Rock Section since it was the job of the attached Rocks to provide GDT and NBC training to the Sqn. due to them being deployed to the field in war. In fact the Harrier Sqns. had Rock Sections too.

So, since you are so adamant that you have memories of 18 Sqn. Rock Section I suggest you go here and put those memories into writing in your finest crayon.

I've "promoted" you to Rock just so you can do so... :wink:

Author:  AmigaNut [ Mon Dec 01, 2014 4:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 18 Squadron Myth or reality ?

Hi Jess,

I knew I'd seen a reference to this before and it took some digging, but

"In Britains Small Wars"

"Return to the Gulf"

"British Forces Deployed"


In the RAF Regiment listing is "18 Sqn (serving with JHF)"

Obviously whover posted this gen didn't know that this is a direct reference to Rockapes who where serving on "18 Chinook Helicopter Sqn".

Regards, Mick D.

Author:  DuncanP [ Mon Dec 01, 2014 5:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 18 Squadron Myth or reality ?

In Through Adversity (link below) (page 225), Kingsley Oliver talks about changes introduced in 1962:

"Another innovation was the establishment of RAF Regiment NCOs and airmen on the strength of squadrons of the short-range transport force. These gunners played a valuable role in carrying out many routine tasks in the helicopter and light transport squadrons as well as providing their own ground defence expertise when the aircraft were deployed in the field. Later, when side-mounted machine guns were carried by helicopters, these were often manned by the Regiment gunners in the squadrons. Similar RAF Regiment detachments were established on Harrier squadrons and the gunners soon became as adept as those in other flying squadrons at refuelling and rearming their aircraft as well as providing the close defence of the sites when deployed in the field."

Talking about the Falklands (page 252):

"Meanwhile, the first RAF Regiment gunners to reach the Falklands were those in 18 Squadron, whose Chinook helicopters landed there on 6th May. These gunners were to be the first Regiment personnel to see action in the Falklands when they manned the sidemounted machine guns of the Chinooks on operational flights. There were, of course, other Regiment gunners with 1 (Harrier) Squadron, as well as those embarked on the merchant ships – principally the North Sea ferries – which carried troops to the war zone. As the vessels approached the Falklands the threat of air attack increased and the gunners participated in manning their GPMGs in the anti-aircraft role when the occasion demanded."

Author:  Airwin [ Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 18 Squadron Myth or reality ?

Bill Halligan was a quite a famous rock. Knew and served with him and he commanded much respect throughout the rock world. As for 18sqn I remember them at Aldergrove and in Germany and know that rocks were attached to them. You are not dreaming. :niceone:

Author:  markrotherham [ Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 18 Squadron Myth or reality ?

A cashpoint card-stealing member of 20 was sent to Odiham in rather a hurry in 91 or 92. I believe there was a welcoming committee of Rocks waiting for him when he got there.

Author:  GingeM [ Tue Dec 02, 2014 11:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 18 Squadron Myth or reality ?


Were you there when the infamous II Sqn. Cpl decided to pop up a schermuly to get the 18 Sqn Wessex to find us in the woods only to realize they'd found us and popped the now armed schermuly in his side pocket... Only to have it go off, into his leg...

Water bottles from us all probably didn't help his pain...

Author:  Aussie Bill1 [ Thu Dec 04, 2014 6:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 18 Squadron Myth or reality ?

I was in during the 60s and the 70s and I can confirm that there were Rocks at RAF Odiham on the Choppers. Can't give you any more detail than that as I was never involved with them but they were definately there.

Author:  Barwen18 [ Sat Dec 06, 2014 1:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 18 Squadron Myth or reality ?

A big thank you to all who replied. At first the comments were sketchy as to the validity of Rocks attached to 18 Squadron but as I moved down the page it was obvious that we did exist.
Bill Halligan. I had completely forgotten his first name so thanks for that. He was a great guy who really stuck up for his lads. I got myself into a bit of bother with an MT driver in the NAAFI one night. Ended up putting him in sickbay ( Not proud of it ) There was going to be a bit of trouble heading my way but Bill had a word with this guys sergeant in the mess and nothing ever became of it. I later heard that Bill had put his point over VERY firmly and left it very clear that nothing should come of it! Always in his debt. I could swear that Bill had a secret bottle of whiskey in his drawer as he was never ever sober.
Thanks for your help guys. Jess Plant.

Author:  GingeM [ Sat Dec 06, 2014 2:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 18 Squadron Myth or reality ?

So, Barwen, are you going to go over to the forum I gave you the link to and tell us all the tales of derring do on 18 Sqn. or will they all remain mere whispers in the vaunted history of our great Regiment?

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