The Squadron’s history goes back to 1787, when the Chatham Company of “Royal Military Artificers” was raised at Chatham. It was re-named 9 Field Company in Gibraltar in 1806 and became part of Airborne Forces in May 1942, when 9 Field Company RE (Airborne) provided the engineer support for the newly formed 1st Airlanding Brigade, with about one-third of the Company in the parachute role and the remainder glider-borne. Their first airborne operation, OP FRESHMAN, was in Norway in 1942 where they were tasked to destroy a heavy water plant. This turned out to be a disaster, both gliders crash landing and the few survivors being executed by the Gestapo.
On 9 July 1943 the Company, as part of 1st Airlanding Brigade, assisted in the capture of the Ponte Grande bridge at Syracuse in Sicily, fighting alongside the 1st Border Regiment and 2nd South Staffordshire Regiment. The Company was honoured by the presentation of a vellum scroll by King George VI to commemorate its part in the battle.
In September 1944, 9 Field Company, under command of Major Winchester and a part of the 1st Airborne Division, took part in Operation MARKET GARDEN. It emplaned on the morning of 17 September 1944 and, except for two gliders that crashed, landed safely at Arnhem. Unfortunately, they took heavy casualties. Of the original Company of 215 All Ranks, only 57 men returned to the UK, the remainder being captured or killed.
On VE Day, 1st Airborne Division was ordered to Norway to accept the surrender of the Germans there. While in Norway 9 Field Company was reorganized, renamed 9th Airborne Squadron and redeployed to Palestine to join 6th Airborne Division, where its efforts included the clearance of the King David Hotel bombed by terrorists.