First ATC Squadron

Hi all,

A discussion on my squadron recently has come up with a blank in my knowledge. I’ve done a bit of googling, but couldn’t find the answer, so I thought I’d turn to the hive mind.

Anyone know what the first unit formed in the ATC would be? As in, the first unit formed into the ATC rather than into the ADCC that then moved into its successor on 05 Feb 1941?

So essentially you’re looking for the ATC squadron with the earliest formation data that is post 5/2/41? I wouldn’t even know where to start looking! People have put in FOIs over this sort of information previously, however it’s been made pretty clear that HQ don’t hold any sort of historical information about units. Which I think is a bit of a shame really.

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Yeah, pretty much. I even tried random searching squadron numbers to find out their formation dates, but it seems so many don’t have their formation dates on their website…

Ok, so a quick bit of Googling, and I think I already have an answer :stuck_out_tongue:

I said above that most FOIs like this come back as ‘no information held’. However, this one has some information, albeit Scotland only. There is a unit there, 2489 (Bridge of Don) with a given formation date of 7/2/41. So two days after, which is pretty damn close! So unless there is a unit that was formed on 6/2/41, that might be your answer.


Isn’t there an equivalent to the Air Historical Branch for this type of stuff?

Looking at the memoriam thread

So if 907 were formed March 41 you are looking at that as your top number.

If you can find a copy of the Air cadet news from that time that might be a good guide.

I’m thinking that it’s going to be around the 500-600 series.

Nope - might be something in the air league

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Good call!

A bit more googling, and this FOI brings into question whether the 5th of Feb is even the right date to be looking at! The MOD here were saying an ATC Squadron was formed on the 1st of Feb, before the ATC it’s self! :thinking:

Were ATC sqn numbers initially assigned in ascending numerical order? When forming a new unit now, you can take any number that isn’t currently in use (a friend of mine, on promotion from DF to sqn, selected a two-digit sqn number that was in use by a flying sqn at the time: this allowing him to approach that sqn about a twinning arrangement).

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I believe so but in order of registration being received - there’s some anecdote about Watford & Leicester jockeying on being first.

I think there might have been something different with the first 50 so they were spread over the country. I’ve got an idea that 7F Liverpool was a new ATC Sqn rather than an ADCC but not sure.

Sqns numbers might have been also been issued in alphabetical order on a list - 358 Welling Sqn for example with gaps for nearby detached flights but that’s a little bit of speculation / apocryphal history needing proper research.

I was going with this as an approach, except…

So it seems there isn’t a reason to numbering :grimacing:


It’s possible they we renumbered at some point in a merger etc.

Pretty sure it was purely first come first served hence why they were given F’s to encourage faster applications.

I wonder how many Founders are still left, I sure Google would tell me.

I was once told Brooklands Squadron down in Surrey Wing was first but due to some admin issue it was given the number plate 11F not 1F.

Whether that is true, or not, I can’t say.

And no idea if that was ADCC or ATC.

The F’s were all ADCC

It would make sense for somewhere like Brooklands or Croydon to have been No1, but I doubt the story is true.

The first 50 squadrons formed have their squadron numbers followed by an F to show they are “founder” squadrons (e.g. No 2F(Watford) Squadron). Only 30 are still in existence, as the other 20 have disbanded over time. Founder squadrons that have reformed after being disbanded do not retain the F status, such as XIX (19) Crawley

That’s from Wikipedia, with no source.

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210 (Newport) Sqn. The first 50 were the ‘F’ Founder squadrons. The next 159 squadrons were were all ex-ADCC squadrons, but the first “New” ATC Squadron was 210 Sqn - and that first wave of “new” squadrons doubled the size of the former ADCC.

By 5th Feb 1942 there were 1524 squadrons in total.

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So there were non-ADCC Squadrons that were formed before the ATC was formed? :thinking: :thinking: I’d have thought all non-ADCC Squadrons would have a formation date of 5/2/41 or later. Albeit my post above about the Glasgow Squadron does indeed say otherwise.

Go and buy Ray Kids book “Horizons”. Or, slightly earlier, Bryan Philpott’s “Challenge in the air”.

Both have the answers!

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So I count 34 on the Wikipedia list if Squadrons, dunno how upto date that is though.