There are now only two Air Despatch Units remaining in the British Army, 47 Air Despatch Squadron RLC (Royal Logistic Corps) and 395 Air Despatch Troop RLC (TA)
Air Despatchers have served world-wide on training, operations and famine relief duties. They were easily distinguishable from other units as they always wore their own Formation Sign wherever they were in the world — a golden Dakota on a Royal Blue background.
LEFT: Dvr ‘Taff’ Bowen in Sarawak.
RIGHT: Sgt Alex Cairns in Aden.
The Dakota Formation Sign was awarded following the Air Despatch role in ‘Operation Market Garden’ at Arnhem in September 1944. Air Despatchers suffered proportionally the highest casualties during the operation.
The following units at one time or another have been fulfilling Air Despatch duties:-
| 48 Air Despatch Column
49 Air Despatch Column
1 Army Air Supply Organisation
3 Army Air Supply Organisation
Air Supply Training Wing
16 Coy (AD)
22 Coy (AD)
47 Coy (AD) (renumbered from 223)
55 Coy (AD) (renumbered from 799)
61 Coy (AD)
63 Coy (AD)
73 Coy (AD)
223 Coy (AD)
253 (Airborne) Divisional Composite Company
352 Coy RASC incorporating No.2 Air Supply Base
398 (Airborne) Divisional Composite Company
749 Coy (AD)
799 Coy (AD)
800 Coy (AD)
138 Air Supply Platoon (Cyprus) 1955-60
(then became ‘C’ Pln 47 Coy RASC (AD))
| 14 AD Regt
15 AD Regt
16 AD Sqn
22 AD Sqn
47 AD Sqn
55 AD Sqn
69 AD Sqn
|47 AD Sqn|
The year 2000 saw the 100th anniversary of the formation 47 Company Army ServiceCorps. The first 47 Company was a Horse Transport Company.
47 Squadron Royal Logistic Corps is the direct descendant of that 47 Company. It is the sole remaining Regular Air Despatch Unit of the British Army. HQ 47 AD Sqn is currently stationed at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfortdshire.