Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force

Summary

The Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force (RHKAAF) was a Hong Kong Government department based in Hong Kong.[1] It was formed as an air force in 1949 as part of the Hong Kong Defence Force.

Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force
Badge of the Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force.svg
Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force badge
Active1949 - 1993
CountryBritish Hong Kong
TypeAir Force
RoleAerial Defence Force
Motto(s)
Insignia
roundelRAF roundel.svg
Aircraft flown
HelicopterSikorsky S-70
Sikorsky S-76
PatrolBeechcraft Super King Air B200C

[2] In preparation for the transfer of sovereignty from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China, the Unit was disbanded on 31 March 1993.[3]

HistoryEdit

The HKAAF came into existence as an air force in 1949 as part of the Hong Kong Defence Force. From 1949 to 1970, it was known as the Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force (HKAAF). Royal title was approved by King George VI in 1st May1951 to the Royal Hong Kong Defence Force (RHKDF).[2] This was the first time that a volunteer force had been so honoured.

When the Royal Hong Kong Defence Force was disbanded in 1970, the Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force (RHKAAF) and Royal Hong Kong Regiment (RHKR) were formed under new ordinances as separate units. The RHKAAF was finally disbanded on 31st March 1993, and succeeded the following day by the Hong Kong Government Flying Service (GFS),[4] a newly created civilian unit using the original service staff of the RHKAAF.

Although technically an armed military unit, run on the lines of an RAF squadron, latterly the Unit's responsibilities were mostly involved in providing non-military aviation services such as police support, search and rescue, flying doctor,[5] air ambulance and firefighting in the colony.[6]

The RHKAAF was based at Kai Tak Airport from 1949 to 1993.[7]

The history of the Unit goes way back to the early days of Hong Kong as a British colony..

On 30th May 1854, with the departure from Hong Kong of the British men-of-war on anti-piracy duties in the north, following the Shanghai precedent, an appeal was made by the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir William Caine, for willing citizens to assemble for the purpose of forming an auxiliary police force to protect the lives and property of Hong Kong’s inhabitants.

Ninety-nine worthy gentlemen turn up and the Hong Kong Volunteer Corps was formed.

Following numerous incarnations the Royal Hong Kong Regiment (The Volunteers) and the Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force, and subsequently the Government Flying Service, are spawned by this original corps of volunteers.

More historic details may be found on www.rhkaaf.com

BadgeEdit

The last Badge of the force was used until 1993, after which time, the Hong Kong Coat of Arms was used on GFS aircraft,[8] until the handover in 1997:

  • St Edward's Crown
  • Octagon-shaped badge with a Hong Kong dragon, propeller[9]
  • Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force is contained on the band of the badge
  • Motto contain the wording Semper Paratus (Latin, "Always Ready")
  • Oak Laurel wreath

PersonnelEdit

RHKAAF personnel were a mixture of full-time and part-time staff. Most were locally recruited, in the latter years mostly local Hong Kongers.[10] The ranks used were the same as those of the Royal Air Force, up to Air Commodore.

NATO code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) Student officer
  Royal Air Force[11]
                       
Marshal of the RAF Air chief marshal Air marshal Air vice-marshal Air commodore Group captain Wing commander Squadron leader Flight lieutenant Flying officer Pilot officer
/acting pilot officer
Officer cadet


  Government Flying Service[12][13][14][15]
               
Controller Chief Pilot
Chief Aircraft Engineer
Senior Pilot
Senior Aircraft Engineer
Senior Aircrewman Officer
Pilot I
Aircraft Engineer
Aircrewman Officer I
Pilot I
Aircraft Engineer
Aircrewman Officer I
Pilot II
Aircraft Engineer
Aircrewman Officer II
Chief Aircraft Technician
Pilot II
Chief Aircraft Technician
Senior Aircraft Technician
Aircrewman Officer III
Cadet Pilot
Senior Aircraft Technician
Aircraft Technician
Aircrewman Officer III


Rank group General/flag officers Field/senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet

Commanding Officers

Start Date Name
1 May 1949 Sqn Ldr M.N. Oxford
1 October 1950 Wg Cdr A.W. Wood DFC BEM
1 January 1955 Wg Cdr J.E.L. Larsen, AFC
15 October 1955 Wg Cdr P.O. Scales, AE
12 October 1962 Wg Cdr G.J. Bell, OBE, AE & clasp
19 September 1966 Wg Cdr R.P. Smith, OBE, AE & clasp, JP, QCVSA
1 October 1971 Wg Cdr S.P.J. Ellis, AE
1 June 1975 Wg Cdr R.G. Penlington, OBE, AE & clasp
1 April 1983 Wg Cdr A.P. Asprey, OBE, AE, JP
1 January 1988 Wg Cdr R.W. Brooks, MBE, AE & clasp
1 January 1991 Wg Cdr P.D. Yip, MBE, AE & clasp, JP, QCVSA

FleetEdit

On 31 March 1993, the RHKAAF fleet comprised:

AircraftEdit

 
Slingsby T67 Firefly in the colours of the RHKAAF
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Transport
Cessna 404 United States transport / utility 1[16]
Super King Air United States patrol 200C 2[16][17]
Britten-Norman BN-2 United Kingdom drug interdiction / utility[18] 1[16]
Helicopters
Sikorsky S-76 United States SAR / utility A+/C 6 / 2[19] equipped with a FLIR
Sikorsky S-70 United States utility S-70A-27 2[20] transferred to the GFS in 1993
Aérospatiale SA 360 France SAR / utility 365C 2[17][21]
Trainer
T67 Firefly United Kingdom basic trainer M200 4[19]

Historical aircraftEdit

 
RHKAAF SA365C1 Dauphin at RAF Sek Kong in 1983
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
Supermarine Spitfire United Kingdom fighter Mk 24 / XVIII / XIX 16[22][1] 2 Mk 19 variants were used for reconnaissance
Transport
Taylorcraft Auster United Kingdom utility V / T7 / AOP6 1 / 5 / 4[1] in service from 1949 to 1971
Beechcraft Musketeer United States utility 2[1] in service from 1971 to 1979
Helicopters
Westland Widgeon United Kingdom utility 2[20] in service from 1958 to 1965
Aerospatiale Alouette III France utility 3[20] in service from 1965 to 1980
Trainers
BAe Bulldog United Kingdom training / patrol Model 128 2[16] in service from 1977 to 1988
North American T-6 United States trainer 11[1] transferred from Far East Air Force

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e Royal Air Force Reserve and Auxiliary Forces - RAF Museum (PDF). UK: RAF Museum. 2003. pp. 173–176. ISBN 9780953034512. Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 October 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Winged dragon: The history of the Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force". www.britishempire.co.uk. Archived from the original on 9 February 2020. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  3. ^ http://www.gfs.gov.hk/eng/aboutgfs.htm 1 April 1993 immediately after the disbandment of its predecessor, the Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force. It is one of the disciplined services of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
  4. ^ "1977 Aerial views from the Flying Doctor". Gwulo: Old Hong Kong. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  5. ^ FlightGlobal (1981) Hong Kong. UK: FlightGlobal. 1981. p. 346. Archived from the original on 20 February 2019. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  6. ^ "Unit History: RAF Kai Tak". www.forces-war-records.co.uk. Clever Digit Media Ltd. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  7. ^ "Sikorsky S-70A-27 - Hong Kong Government Flying Service". airliners.net. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  8. ^ "badge, headdress, Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force". www.iwm.org.uk. Imperial War Museums. Archived from the original on 18 January 2021. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  9. ^ The Statesman's Year-Book 1993-94. UK: Palgrave Macmillan. 1993. p. 684. ISBN 9780230271227. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  10. ^ "RAF Ranks". raf.mod.uk/. Royal Air Force. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  11. ^ "Government Flying Service - Insignia".
  12. ^ "Government Flying Service - Air Crewman Officer Grade".
  13. ^ "Government Flying Service - Aircraft Engineer Grade".
  14. ^ "Government Flying Service - Aircraft Technician Grade".
  15. ^ a b c d "World Air Forces 1987 pg. 60". Flightglobal Insight. 1987. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  16. ^ a b FlightGlobal (1987) Hong Kong. UK: FlightGlobal. 1987. p. 60. Archived from the original on 5 December 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  17. ^ "World Air Forces 1981". Flightglobal Insight. 1981. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  18. ^ a b "World Air Forces 1991 pg. 60". Flightglobal Insight. 1987. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  19. ^ a b c "Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force". www.helis.com. Archived from the original on 20 January 2021. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  20. ^ "SA365C1 Dauphin 2". www.helis.com. Archived from the original on 20 January 2021. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  21. ^ "Supermarine Spitfire F.24 ( Mk.24 )". www.iwm.org.uk. Imperial War Museums. Retrieved 18 January 2021.

Further readingEdit

  • Penlington VA: Winged Dragon - The History of the Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force (Odyssey Productions Ltd, 1996) ISBN 9622174663

External linksEdit

  Media related to Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force at Wikimedia Commons

  • RHKAAF - dedicated to the people who served in the RHKAAF
  • World Air Forces – Historical Listings – Hong Kong (HKG)
  • GFS
  • Hong Kong Defense Forces – 1991
  • RHKAAF
  • Aerospace History in HK