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656 Sqn AAC

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The first operational Apache squadron in the corps, this former RAF unit was formed at Westley on 31st December 1942 as an Air Observation Post squadron and embarked for India in the following August. After the end of the Burma campaign, it was allocated to the invasion of Malaya but the Japanese surrender curtailed the deployment.

The squadron remained in Malaya to provide support for the police and army during the Malayan Emergency before being reformed as an AAC Squadron on the 1st September 1957. The squadron's time in the Far East continued with tours in Singapore, Borneo and Hong Kong.

With the exception of two flights the squadron was disbanded in 1977 and finally returned to the UK to be reformed at Farnborough, from where they participated in both the Rhodesian independence proceedings (Operation AGILA) in 1980 and the Falklands War of 1982, where Captain Sam Drennan earned a DFC for evacuating wounded off Tumbledown in a Scout helicopter under heavy fire.

After a brief stay at Netheravon as part of 7 Regiment the squadron relocated to Dishforth as part of 9 Regiment in the anti-tank role in 1993. The squadron was chosen as one of the new Apache squadrons and in April 2004 started its conversion to role before becoming fully operational - along with the remainder of 9 Regiment in June 2005.