Soldiers celebrate centenary

SOLDIERS from 63 Air Assault Brigade Support Squadron, Royal Logistic Corps celebrated its centenary at a special parade and commemorative day.The squadron forms part of 13 Air Assault Support Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps, and is based at Roman Barracks in Colchester.

SOLDIERS from 63 Air Assault Brigade Support Squadron, Royal Logistic Corps celebrated its centenary at a special parade and commemorative day.

The squadron forms part of 13 Air Assault Support Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps, and is based at Roman Barracks in Colchester.

On Saturday it played host to nearly 300 people, including serving soldiers, their families and former members.

During the parade, medals were presented to soldiers who have deployed on operations with the Squadron over the past three years.

Captain Derek Hendry, event organiser from 63 Air Assault Brigade Support Squadron RLC said:

"For some of the veterans, this will have been the first time they have got together for many years.

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"We are proud of our Squadron's rich heritage, and we look forward to a bright future as part of 13 Air Assault Support Regiment RLC and 16 Air Assault Brigade."

63 Squadron can trace its history back to 1903 when it was originally formed as a Horse Transport Company based in Chatham, Kent. This early unit remained there until 1911 when it moved to Bulford, Wiltshire to become one of the new mechanical transport companies.

The squadron served on the Western Front during the First World War as part of 3rd Division and was disbanded once the war had ended.

With the outbreak of the Second World War the squadron was reformed as a Motor Transport Company and in 1944 became part of Winston Churchill's newly created Airborne Formation, specialising in Airborne Logistics.

Renamed 63 Airborne Division Composite Company, Royal Army Service Corps, the squadron provided glider pilots, air dispatchers and crews for Dakotas, serving in Normandy and Arnhem.

After the war, the unit became part of 6 Airborne Division based in Aldershot.

In 1965, the Squadron was re-named 63 Parachute Squadron, Royal Corps of Transport. Following the 1975 Defence Review, and the disbandment of the Army's Parachute Brigade, it was changed into a training squadron at the Royal Corps of Transport's Depot.

With the formation of 5 Airborne Brigade, 63 Airborne Squadron Royal Corps of Transport, as it was then known, was part of the Brigade's integral Logistic Battalion, and was involved in operations in Rwanda and Kosovo following the formation of the Royal Logistic Corps.

As part of Colchester-based 16 Air Assault Brigade, the UK's rapid reaction force formed in September 1999, 63 Air Assault Brigade Support Squadron RLC has recently seen service in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Macedonia and Northern Ireland.

The Squadron has also provided support to the civilian authorities during fuel protests, foot and mouth and the fire strikes.

Visitors had the opportunity to tour static displays of the Squadron's equipment, see a military demonstration and an historic military vehicle display.

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