Section 1 : Creation of No.615 (County of Surrey) Squadron (1937 – september 1939)

No.615 (County of Surrey) Squadron was created on 1st June 1937 at Kenley Air Force Base. It’s a Squadron of Royal Auxiliary Air Force, under the command of Squadron Leader Arthur V. Harvey, with Flight Lieutnant Richard C.M. Collard as assistant. The unit’s mission is to cooperate with Territorial Army troops based in the County of Surrey. The funding includes a staffing of two officers and forty men of Royal Air Force troops to supervise thirty-five officers and one hundred and sixty-four troops of the Auxiliary Air Force. The whole is placed under the administrative control of No.6 (Auxiliary) Group.

The establishment is, however, rather slow since it was not until early 1938 that the Squadron was equipped with Hawker Hector, while a list only mentions thirteen officers and seventy-five troops of Auxiliary Air Force, supervised by three officers of the Royal Air Force. In general, these first two years of existence contain little information in the archives except for an annual training camp between August and September 1938.

The real development of the No.615 Squadron began in mid-1939 when it was transferred to the No.11 (Fighter) Group and re-equipped with Gloster Gauntlet, then Gloster Gladiator in May-June, still based on Kenley. A final round of training with the Auxiliary Air Force is organized in August, after which the squadron is incorporated into the Royal Air Force to prepare for the war that breaks out after the invasion of Poland by Germany.

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