About 2171

Image of boat

The origin of 2171 ATC Squadron. Royal Air Force station Mountbatten was a major flying boat and seaplane base, established at the end of World War 1. During World War 2, Sunderland Flying boats had operated from there, on anti-submarine duties, covering the Channel approaches. It was also the home of the Air Sea Rescue craft. By the latter end of the 1940s, flying operations had ceased leaving only the Marine unit. Late in 1947 the local Air Training Corps were presented with two 25ft high speed launches, with a view to providing experience of Air Sea Rescue and RAF marine operations. The two boats were based at Mountbatten and accommodation was provided. Two ATC officers were tasked with setting up the operation, assisted by a handful of senior cadets drawn from N0169 ATC Squadron, which was the lead Squadron in Plymouth at the time. Mountbatten had a miniature shooting range, which was also made available to the ATC, with the proviso that the resident boat unit provided the necessary support. My own involvement with the boats started with just such a shooting session, which had been cancelled leaving severel of us at a loose end. We were asked if we were prepared to help prepare the boats for future service. The result was that I joined the boat unit as a bona Fide member. The summer of 1948 was idyllic, with the boat's fully commissioned, sporting their RAF livery and emblazoned with ATC, the two vessels were subjected to a long familiarisation programme. As time progressed the ATC Headquarters decided that a special unit should be formed to operate the boats, and also to provide a home for of the bugle band. Thus it was that No. 2171 Squadron was born in in 1948. The Squadron was initially housed in Raglan Barracks, Devonport. In 1949, I joined the Royal Air Force as a Halton Apprentice, finishing my ATC service with the rank of Sergeant, having experienced most of the adventures available through the ATC, but with the unique addition of some time at sea.