656 SQUADRON
1911 FLIGHT
ROYAL NAVAL AIR  STATION                                        
Sembawang from 6000 feet
1911 flight hangar (centre)
The only multi storey barrack block. Occupied by the RASC.
The control tower and Navy storage hangar.
The swimming pool.
The cinema
Aircraft operations
Refuelling.by hand
The flight line
Engine servicing
Engine ground running.
Preparing for a sortie
Light series bomb rack fitted with parachute marker flares.
2-30 Am, awaiting the start of operation "Sea Bird".
Piloted by Cpt Chris Crouch, WZ703 lost power after take off because of fuel aeration in the engine. Chris and Cpl Roy Curtis suffered broken bones but escaped serious injury. They were trapped for some time upside down and covered in aircraft fuel.
On the apron at the old Singapore airport, adjacent
to a somewhat larger PANAM Boeing Stratocruiser.
On patrol around Sembawang camp boundary.
Over secondary jungle
In the climb
(All images on this website are copyright)
RNAS Sembawang was located in the North East part of Singapore island. It was quite a large station, still showing the scars of the Second World War and it had an air of dereliction.  A lot of buildings had been severely damaged and only their foundations were left showing.  1911 flight's hangar, one of two small corrugated iron hangars, still showed signs of shrapnel damage in the roof. On the dispersal in front of the hangar was the filled in outline of what looked like a small bomb or mortar crater. However there were still a number of substantial buildings remaining which appeared to be undamaged. There were a number of other small Navy and Army units on the station. One half of 1911 flight's barrack block was occupied by the RAF 61 Signals unit. Once more the unique nature of 656 Squadron hit me. I was now on a Royal Naval Air Station and a member of a flight, which apart from us aircraft servicing personnel who were RAF, was otherwise manned by Army pilots of the Glider Pilots Regiment, Gunners of the Royal Artillery, Army signallers and drivers. To add to the confusion, as a Junior Technician my badge of rank was a single upside down stripe. The Army personnel thought that I was the equivalent to a Lance Corporal which I was not. I soon made some good friends and settled down to life on the flight. Compared to life on a RAF station it was certainly different! We seemed to be a bit of a rag tag bunch, but looking back that was probably due to the nature of the tasks the flight had to carry out and the unpredictable hours we worked. The flight operated Auster AOP Mk 9 aircraft and was responsible for reconnaissance operations against the Communist Terrorists in the state of Johore on the Malay Peninsular. It's`area of responsibility covered several hundreds of square miles of jungle, rubber, Pineapple and oil Palm estates. Deep in the jungle were logging camps and small cultivated area's.
SEMBAWANG
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