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202 Squadron Association

Index constitution NOTICES UPDATE Squadron History Mucky Duck Recollections Linebook Items of Interest Requests

202 Sqn. The story so far….

A Brief Introduction from OC SARTU

Following on from Steve’s introduction I wanted to introduce myself to those within the association who don’t know me and let you know what is happening with the transition of SARTU to 202 Sqn.

As a bit of background, I was posted to A Flt 202 Sqn Nov 07 to Dec 09 before moving to CFS(H) prior to instructing on the Squirrel at Shawbury with both 660 and 705 Sqn’s.  I then returned to SAR as OC 1564 Flt in the Falklands for 18 months before taking my current post as OC SARTU in Apr 14.  

Along with Ian and Steve, I hope to be able to bring you information regarding the transition as it happens.  As of today, a provisional date has been proposed to formally parade the 202 Sqn Standard at RAF Shawbury on the 29th April.  If the date is approved by the Air Force Board, the event will recognise the formal transition of  SARTU to 202 Sqn and welcome 202 Sqn into the Defence Helicopter Flying School (DHFS), and I hope to extend an open invitation to all association members to attend.

60(R) Sqn will also be marking their centenary that day and it is hoped that the joint event will include a parade, buffet lunch, flypast (including 202 Sqn role demo) and a dinner of some form in the evening,

As the 29th April is already not far away there is a lot of preparation required and I ask for your help already!  It is important that the history of SARTU is not lost in the transition and I would like to produce a new colour scheme for flying badges etc. that recognises the history of both 202 Sqn and SARTU.  My old 202 Sqn badges are of a black background with gold edging and letters, but any information regarding historical colours is very welcome.  Both SARTU and 202 Sqn share gold and black, and SARTU also has a ruby red colour. To get this arranged in time for the 29th though I need to move pretty quickly, so all ideas welcome.


I have copied some information below about SARTU’s history, however the main effort of the Sqn has fundamentally shifted recently from the delivery of  pure SAR skills to individuals prior to them joining the SAR Force, to becoming the Mountain and Maritime specialists within the military.   SARTU currently teaches 6 different courses; the only pure SAR course that remains is the “Long Course” which those destined for 84 Sqn undertake.  All other courses ultimately deliver overland or water winch training along with day/night mountain flying techniques and NVD operations for all RN/ RAF abinitio pilots and crewman who are destined for SH roles.  In addition, a new course is being developed to offer bespoke training to current experienced SH operators in order to enhance their skill sets.

202 Sqn has a very busy and bright future under DHFS and is positioning to establish as a specialist Sqn capable of delivering initial and refresher training to a wide variety of personnel across all Services.  

I hope to have more news on the planned events for the 29th April soon and will pass future updates through the chair and sec and in conjunction with Wg Cdr Heald.  In the mean time, any ideas for colours is appreciated.  

Please Note: Dates and timings are a bit fluid at this time,  so please keep visiting the site to ensure you have the latest information.

SARTU History:

The early 1960’s saw the first training of dedicated SAR Crews at RAF Valley by 3 Sqn CFS(H), a lodger unit parented by RAF Ternhill. This Unit, equipped with the Westland Whirlwind Mk 10, became the Search and Rescue Training Squadron. In the late 1970’s, with reorganisation of the SAR fleet, Valley’s Helicopter Training Squadron was renamed yet again to become The Search and Rescue Training Unit (SARTU).

1985 saw the final withdrawal of the Whirlwind from RAF service when SARTU relinquished its mount of many years for the more capable and newer Wessex. This aircraft, with its greater performance and lifting abilities, together with its 300ft winch, enabled training to be reorganised with far more realism being introduced into various courses.

In 1997 SARTU re-equipped with the Griffin, which has enabled this process to continue still further. At the same time SARTU left Strike Command and became part of the Defence Helicopter Flying School.

In April 2009 SARTU was expanded further to included in its fleet the AW139, enhancing the training delivered and the capacity of the Unit.

SAR Force Disbandment Parade & Photographs

Please click here for some of the photographs from the disbandment parade

(Note to return to this page select the Update button from top menu)

202 Squadron Update ( Message From The Chairman)

Dear Association Members,

The RAF's Search and Rescue (SAR) Force Disbandment Parade was held on 18 February at RAF Valley.  Air Marshal Sir Baz North, Deputy Commander Capability at HQ AIR Command, was the Reviewing Officer.  The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the event.  After reviewing the Parade, Air Marshal North gave a short speech in which he praised the contribution made by RAF SAR over many decades.  He also announced formally that the SAR Training Unit (SARTU) at RAF Valley is to be given the No 202 Squadron numberplate.  

In the Reception that followed the Parade I spoke to the current Officer Commanding of SARTU, Squadron Leader Andy McGreavey.  He confirmed that a date for a handover of the 202 Sqn  numberplate to SARTU has not yet been set.  However, I also discussed with him that it would be very beneficial if he could update the Association Membership at our Reunion to be held later this year.  (Details for this Reunion are being finalised.)  He agreed to do so.  

While I understand that the cancelled plan to lay up the 202 Squadron Standard caused confusion and was disruptive, the continuation of 202 Squadron's heritage is welcome news for our Association.  


Steve Garden