Auster Mk 1

The first AOP Squadron to be formed was 651 at Old Sarum on 1st August 1941. Twelve months later the Squadron moved to Dumfries on 11th August 1942 to a satellite field at Kidsdale. It was to here that LB312 was delivered new on 24th September 1942. At this remote Scottish airfield she went to ‘C’ flight and was flown by Major Warburton Croix-de-guerre and Major Nethercote who was to succeed Major Bazely as CO of the Squadron. Unfortunately 312’s career with 651 was cut short as it was damaged in landing on 2nd October 1942 and removed to Rearsby for repair.

653 Squadron was the next operator from 31st December 1942 until 24th April 1943 when she was allotted to 43 OTU at Old Sarum where it served as a training machine for AOP courses 5 to 23 until 6th October, 1944.

After a period with 3 TEU at Aston Down 312 spent 10 months with 234 Squadron. In 1946 she was “demobbed” a state that was to exist for over 30 years when she was restored to her former military glory.

651 was the first Air Observation Post (AOP) Squadron, being formed at Old Sarum on August 1, 1941. It was still part of the RAF but all the pilots, drivers and signallers were from the Royal Artillery, while the RAF supplied the Adjutant, Engineer Officer and technicians. It is therefore the premier Army Air Corps squadron. Its first aircraft were an assortment of Taylorcraft Plus Cs and Ds, three Piper Cubs and a Stinson Voyager. Then later that year all 651’s aircraft were replaced by the version of the Plus D manufactured by Taylorcraft in Britain and renamed the Auster I.

Manufacturer:Taylorcraft
Model:Auster Plus D
Year built:1942
Construction Number (C/N):171
Aircraft Type:Fixed wing single engine
Number of Seats:2
Number of Engines:1
Engine Type:Reciprocating
Engine Manufacturer and Model:Blackburn Cirrus Minor I
Also Registered As: G-AHXE

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