British Military Aviation in 1974

7 January
The RAF College of Air Warfare is amalgamated with the RAF College, Cranwell,
to become the RAF College’s Department of Air Warfare.

31 March
Air Chief Marshal Sir Dennis Spotswood, the Chief of the Air Staff, is
promoted to Marshal of the Royal Air Force and succeeded as Chief of the
Air Staff by Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Humphrey.

6 April
A detachment of four Westland Wessex helicopters from No.72 Squadron,
RAF Odiham, arrive at RAF Salalah in Oman to assist in the construction
of a new defensive line, the Hornbeam Line. The detachment was tasked
by the Sultan of Oman’s Air Force (SOAF) and the aircraft carried SOAF
camouflage and markings. During the course of the detachment, the aircraft
airlifted materials for the new defensive positions, carried out troop
and artillery lifts and acted as artillery spotters and forward air controllers.
The detachment was withdrawn in November 1974.

20 July
At dawn, Turkish forces invade northern Cyprus, establishing a bridgehead
around Kyrenia. Although the British Sovereign Base Areas were not directly
threatened by the conflict between Greek and Turkish troops, between 21
and 30 July 10, 132 dependants and tourists were evacuated from Akrotiri
to RAF Lyneham and RAF Fairford in the United Kingdom.

23-25 July
On 23 July, two McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR2s of No.41 Squadron arrive
at Akrotiri to furnish tactical reconnaissance support for British forces
on Cyprus following the Turkish invasion of that island. Subsequently,
on the night of 24-25 July a further twelve Phantom FGR2s from No.6 Squadron
and No.228 Operational Conversion Unit were despatched to the island to
provide additional offensive support and air defence for United Nations

Although no offensive support sorties were flown, combat air patrols
were mounted in support of Canberra and Nimrod reconnaissance sorties
by Royal Air Force (RAF) aircraft from Malta and to guard against possible
infringements of British Sovereign Base Area airspace by Turkish aircraft.
The Phantom detachment to Cyprus was drawn down during August, with the
final aircraft and crews returning to the United Kingdom on 12/13 September.

23-24 July
A Hawker Siddeley Nimrod MR1 of No.203 Squadron, RAF Luqa, participates
in, and later assumes overall control of, the search and rescue operation
that resulted from the destruction of the Turkish destroyer Kocatepe by
Turkish aircraft in a ‘blue-on-blue’ incident off Paphos on 21 July. Other
participants in the operation included a Westland Whirlwind of No.84 Squadron
and two Royal Air Force rescue launches from No.1153 Marine Craft Unit

25 July
A detachment of four Westland/Aerospatiale Puma HC1s from No.33 and No.230
Squadrons and No.240 Operational Conversion Unit are flown to Akrotiri
aboard two Shorts Belfast transport aircraft of No.53 Squadron. Following
reassembly, the helicopters commenced operations on 30 July, flying reconnaissance
sorties of the original cease-fire lines between Greek and Turkish forces
and communications tasks. The detachment ended on 31 October and the aircraft
and personnel returned to Odiham between 1-7 November.

26 July
No.15 Squadron, RAF Regiment, is despatched to RAF Akrotiri to bolster
the ground defence of Royal Air Force installations on Cyprus following
the Turkish invasion, working in conjunction with British Army units on
the island. The squadron was replaced by No.26 Squadron RAF Regiment at
the end of September and No.26 Squadron was withdrawn in turn during November.

14-17 August
Following the failure of peace talks between Greece and Turkey with regard
to the ongoing crisis in Cyprus, a further evacuation of 9,989 dependants
from Akrotiri to the United Kingdom is carried out.