The Royal Air Force Servicing Commando Knife
By Ron Flook
The British were probably at the forefront of creating special forces during WWII with the formation of units such as the Army Commandos, Special Air Service, Special Boat Service, and Royal Marine Commandos. They also created within this special forces grouping some more specialist units such as 30 Commando, which was responsible for the recovery of technical and scientific information, Combined Operations Pilotage Parties who surveyed beaches prior to landings, RN Commando that secured the beachhead and controlled arrival of landing waves, and the Royal Air Force Servicing Commando.
The RAF Servicing Commando Units (SCUs) were formed in early 1942 and when up to full strength consisted of 15 units. Each unit consisted of two officers and 148 other ranks. There was a Warrant Officer and each unit was divided into flights, three technical and one headquarters with a Flight Sergeant in charge of each. There would also be a sergeant responsible for every trade. Some units did however end up under strength.
The role of the Servicing Commando was to occupy front line airfields as soon as they had been captured and to service and maintain fighter aircraft until the battle had moved on. The SCU’s would then pack up and move to another front line airfield. Although not intended as a fighting force, personnel undertook extensive combat training and would be expected to defend their airfield without assistance from the Army.
This article appears in the May 2021 issue of KNIFE magazine. Premium Online Members can view the whole thing by clicking the blue button below: