1968 to 1995

united kingdom 3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron

Royal Marines


3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron Royal Marines

3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron
Almost co-inciding with the Commando Carriers (HMS Albion & HMS Bulwark) being replaced by the Landing Platforms Dock (LPD) HMS Fearless & HMS Intrepid, and to give more effective support to Commandos in the field, Brigade Flight, 40 Cdo RM Air Troop, 42 Cdo RM Air Troop and 95 Cdo Light RA Air Troop began to be amalgamated at Sembawang, Singapore from 1967 and was officially recognised on 12 Aug 1968 as 3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron. The unit began life with 14 Sioux AH.1, 13 of which were embarked on HMS Intrepid for Exercise Coral Sands in Sep-Oct 1968.
On 12 Aug 1969, the unit was the first to land a Sioux on the casing of a British submarine, HMS Rorqual, off Pulau Timoman.
In Jan 1970 six Scout AH.1 arrived in Singapore to replace six of the Sioux with HQ Flt. By Jul 1971, 3 CBAS had returned to the UK and added 41 Cdo RM Air Troop, 45 CDO RM Air Troop and 29 Cdo RA Air Troop, bringing a further mix of Sioux and Scout AH.1 to the unit. The flights were given names related to the Commando:
  • 40 CDO - Dieppe Flt
  • 41 CDO - Salerno Flt (Flt remained in Malta until Mar 1977, Salerno Coy remained until Mar 1979)
  • 42 CDO - Kangaw Flt
  • 45 CDO - Montforterbeek Flt
  • BDE HQ - Brunei Flt.
Between Feb & Dec 1975, the Sioux AH.1 were replaced by the Gazelle AH.1. Salerno Flt re-equipped with Gazelles in Mar 1975 until 41 CDO was disbanded, the Flt returned to Coypool in mid Apr 1977 aboard RFA Sir Percivale. 3x Dieppe Flt (40 CDO) Gazelles detached to RAF Luqa during early Oct 1975 for a 3 day period of night flying. Between Sep 1976 and Oct 1977, the unit maintained a detachment of Gazelle, through 2 tours at RAF Aldergrove.
During the Falklands War in 1982, 3 CBAS operated 9 Gazelles (3 each) on RFA Sir Geraint (A Flt), RFA Sir Galahad (C Flt), and RFA Sir Percivale (M Flt and some B Flt Scout), with 6 Scouts (3 each) on HMS Fearless and RFA Sir Lancelot. Shortly after the Falklands conflict in Sep 1982, the unit moved from Coypool to RNAS Yeovilton and the Scouts began to be replaced by six Lynx AH.1 in B Flt.

In Apr 1991 after Operation Desert Storm, campaigns of internal repression were waged by the Iraqi government. The unit was put on notice to deploy to northern Iraq and sailed for Turkey with six Lynx and four Gazelle on RFA Argus on 20 Apr (with 846 NAS) to participate in the multinational Operation Haven. It staged through south eastern Turkey and operated from a number of forward bases inside northern Iraq, until the last elements withdrew from Sirsenk on 15 Jul 1991.

After distinguished service at home and overseas, 3 CBAS was replaced by 847 Naval Air Squadron on 31 Aug 1995.

41 Commando attached as Salerno flght late 60s early 70s at St Geoges Barracks Malta

Nov/Dec 1970, Operation Burlap deployment of Brunei Flt, to East Pakistan, on floor relief mission

3Commando where based at Coypool just out side Plymouth and aided in the evacuation during the trouble in Cyprus. Also they did the States run manouvers to Florida and Nassau, Jamaica residing in the JDF where I recovered a Jamaican Defence Force light fixed wing which had been down for over twelve months. The engine frame was changed and a new prop fitted and was flown back to base within 12 hours. Further trip was to the ABC island for practice manouvers with the Americans. This took place from 1973 to 1977. The main part of the technicians were accomodated in Stone house Barracks

HQ Flt of 3 CBAS in 1980 held the following Scout AH.1: XW616/P, XT629/R, XP893/S, XP902/T and XP907/U. These were based at Coypool at that time.

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1991TR Silopi
1991IQ SirsenkORBB
1982/95RNAS YeoviltonEGDY
1975MT LuqaLMML
1971/82Coypool closed 1995
1968/71SG SembawangWSAG
??/77MT St George's Barracks

helicopter   Models

Years Models
1982/95 Lynx
1975/95 SA341B Gazelle AH.1
1970/82 Scout Scout AH.1
1968/75 Sioux

  3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron Operations

Dates Operation
1994-jun-051994-jun-05 D-Day 50th Anniversary Flypast
1991-apr-181991-jul-15 IQ Operation Haven
1982-apr-031982-jul-15 Operation Corporate
1977-jun-251977-jun-28 Fleet Review: Silver Jubilee of HM The Queen
1976-sep1977-oct Operation Banner
1970-nov1970-dec BD Operation Burlap
1968-sep-201968-oct-13 AU Exercise Coral Sands

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