RAF Squadrons and Flying Units that Operated the Argosy

70 Squadron Akrotiri based 70 Squadron replaced it's Handley Page Hastings with Argosies in November 1967. The aircraft were drawn form the Benson squadrons and 215 at Changi. In 1970 the Argosies were replaced by Hercules, but the Squadron operated a few Argosies in the VIP role for a couple more years. The fin badge was a winged lion and the roman numerals LXX.

XN847 in 70 Squadron markings
Photo Robin A Walker

105 Squadron This was the second Argosy Squadron to be formed, at RAF Benson on the 21st of February 1962. It moved to RAF Khormasksar, Aden on the 17th of June 1962 where it remained until April 1967. It operated all over the Middle East and Africa as well as at one point in 1965 it detached aircraft and crews to RAF Changi, Singapore to reinforce the Far East Air Force during the Borneo, Indonesian conflict. It was disbanded at RAF Muharraq, Bahrain on the 31st of January 1968. This squadron carried a flying axe insignia on the fins of it's aircraft.

6772-XP440 105 Squadron Benson 15 Dec 63

114 Squadron This was the first Argosy squadron to be formed which it did at RAF Benson on 1 October 1961.. The first aircraft to arrive at Benson did so in February 1962. It was the last RAF transport Squadron to operate the Argosy C Mk 1 and it disbanded at RAF Benson on the 8 October 1971. This squadron carried a Cobra's Head insignia on the fins of it's aircraft. In addition all Benson aircraft carried the crest of the local town, Wallingford. The freedom of the town was conferred on Benson in 1957.

Wallingford town crest

115 Squadron Watton based 115 Squadron re-equipped with the Argosy E Mk.1 early in 1968. In 1969 the squadron moved to Cottesmore where it remained until moving to Brize Norton in 1976. Whilst at Brize Norton the squadron converted from the Argosy to the Andover. The last Argosy operations being in 1978.

XR140 in 115 Squadron markings, Brize Norton 3 July 1976
Photo Robin A Walker

215 Squadron This was the fourth Argosy squadron to be formed, which it did at RAF Benson on the 1st of May 1963. It moved to RAF Changi, Singapore in August of 1963 as part of the Far East Air Force and disbanded there on the 31st of December 1967. This Squadron carried a Porcupine insignia on the fins of it's aircraft. 215 Squadron in the Far East.

215 Squadron flight line at Changi

267 Squadron This was the third Argosy squadron to be formed, this was at RAF Benson on the 1st of October or November 1962 and it disbanded there on the 1st of June 1970. This Squadron carried a Flying Pegasus insignia on the fins of it's aircraft.

XN847 in 267 Squadron markings
Photo Robin A Walker

6 Flying Training School This was based at RAF Finningley and was due to get the T Mk 2 aircraft, but the multi discipline training these were designed for was found unworkable and was abandoned. It is interesting to note that another report claims that this project was cancelled in 1970 due to defence cuts. They did however get XP411, c/n 6776 which was designated Argosy T Mk 1 for crew training and familiarisation. This aircraft is the one on display the RAF Museum Cosford and this explains why it is in Training Command colours.

90 (Signals) Group The Inspectorate of Radio Services was formed in 1946 as part of 90 (Signals) Group. It's task was the world wide supervision of all RAF air traffic control and radio communications. It was equipped with Lancaster PA477 named IRIS and based at Watton, In 1950 the Lancaster was replaced by Hastings TG560, named IRIS II. A second Hastings was named IRIS III. The Varsities of 116 Squadron took on the task until replaced by Argosy equipped 115 Squadron in 1968. Argosy XP448, at one time carried the name IRIS IV and XN816 carried the marking IRS4.

XP448 bearing the name IRIS IV

242 OCU Originally formed at Dishforth 242 OCU moved to Thorney Island in 1962 with Hastings and Beverleys. These were joined by the Argosies from Argosy Operational Conversion Unit in 1963. It remained at Thorney Island until the early '70s by which time all the types had been superseded by Hercules. 242 OCU Argosies could be recognised by the large identifying letter on the fuselage.

242 OCU Markings
Argosy - Warpaint Books


XN817 in A&AEE markings
Air-Britain Photographic Images Collection

ARDET When 105 Squadron disbanded in Bahrain, it was decided to run a temporary Argosy detachment at RAF Muharraq until the Hercules C-130 appeared. The Labour Government of the time figured that a lot of money by not having a Squadron but sending crew out on unaccompanied basis for thirteen and a half weeks at a time. ARDET consisted of 6 aircraft and 9 crews. It was estimated that if each crew did one detachment that would cover until the C-130s arrived. However the C-130s never came and ARDET finally disbanded in October 1971 with each crew doing a number of detachments. A member of one of the crews did 5 tours in all between January 1968 and October 1971. The aircraft carried three winged "A's" as the unofficial insignia on the fins, this stood for Associated Argosy Airways.
ARDET - The home of ex-RAF Argosy Force members

Winged triple A badge of ARDET - Better image required

Argosy Operational Conversion Unit Formed at Benson in December 1961. It's task and aircraft were transferred to 242 OCU at Thorney Island in April 1963.

Empire Test Pilots School

XR105 in ETPS markings
Air-Britain Photographic Images Collection