History of 63 Company, RASC

Following removal from the command of 61 Infantry Brigade in October 1943, 63 Divisional Airborne Composite Company RASC was moved to Figsbury Barracks Winterbourne Gunner on 6 December. Then under the command of 6 Airborne Divisional Column RASC the unit was joined within the Column by 398 Divisional Airborne Composite Company and 716 Divisional Airborne Light Composite Company.

The Company served with distinction in the air over Normandy. Operation Rob Roy took place on the 6/7 of June where they manned fifty Dakota’s.  In addition to Operation Rob Roy, 52 resupply missions were flown, during the months of June through to September (in support of the 6 Airborne Division, SAS and SOE). Before the commencement of Operation Market (together with their sister Company 253 from 1 Airborne),   they had flown  300 operational sorties, 50 in Dakota’s and 250 in Stirlings acquiring valuable operational experience.

The unit would go on to see action in Operation Market Garden, flying 624 sorties before the Company’s Air Despatch role was ultimately terminated when they were withdrawn on 20 September, having sustained the greatest number of mortalities of the five units involved in Air Despatch involved in actions in Arnhem and Normandy.

After the war in October 1945, 6 Airborne Division were relocated to Palestine as the strategic reserve. Although the unit’s role here ended at the termination of the mandate in May 1948, their role of peacekeepers in support of Civil Power was to be a familiar one in the years to come.                                                               

Following a further realignment of Airborne units, the company became part of 16 Independent Parachute Brigade Group and the Company supplied personnel in support of the Berlin Airlift. After brief spells in the UK and Cyprus, the Company were flown into the Canal Zone in October 1951 following King Farouk abrogating the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty. The Brigade remained in Egypt for a full 3 year tour, training and taking part in Internal Security operations.

In August of 1956, 16 Independent Parachute Brigade Group returned to Cyprus, following the Nationalisation of the Suez Canal by President Nasser, and were primarily employed on anti-EOKA operations. The unit was also involved in a parachute assault on 5th of November 1956 when one Sergeant and nine men dropped with the 3rd Battalion at El Gamil. The Company returned to the UK in early 1957.

The period of the late 1950s and 1960s was a busy time for the Company, reacting to the outbreak of internal unrest in both Lebanon and Iraq as well as training in a range of locations including British Guinea and Malaysia.

In 1969 the Company was absorbed into 1 Parachute Logisitics Regiment and exists today as 63 CS Squadron, as part of 13 Air Assault Support Regiment Royal Logistics Corp.

Officers Commanding From To Name Location 1942 May 1944 Major Bill- Topp May 1944 June 1945 Jun 1945 Oct 1945 Major Berthet Dec 1945 May 1946 Major Tucker Palestine May 1946 Capt CA Knieff Palestine 1948 Major     DCS        Ball Palestine 1948 1950 Major     TAK        Savage 1950 1952 Major     AK           Crisp-Jones TD 1952 1952 Major     B               Ridings Egypt 1952 1954 Major     RGR        Parry MC Egypt 1954 1956 Major     PJS          Ball UK 1956 1957 Major     P de L      Bainbrigge Suez 1957 1958 Major     DS            Wooles Jordan 1958 1960 Major      EA           Kynaston 1960 1962 Major     AJ            Gidley 1962 1964 Major     MJ           Templeman 1964 Major     AC           Mawby  MBE 1965/6 Major     NPG         Lawson

Article Compiled by John White.

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