603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force

About Us

603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron was formed in 1925, choosing as its motto the Doric words Gin ye Daur ('If you dare'). Flying from RAF Turnhouse 5 miles west of Edinburgh, it established its Town Headquarters (THQ) in the midst of the community from which it drew its volunteers, at 25, Learmonth Terrace in Edinburgh. In common with all of the older RAF Reserves units, 603 began life as a flying unit, and retained this role until 1957. It was involved from the first enemy action of the Second World War, and on 16 October 1939, 603 Squadron shot down the first enemy bomber of the Second World War over the United Kingdom, the bomber sent crashing into the Firth of Forth. The squadron relocated to RAF Hornchurch, east of London, and despite suffering heavy losses, 603 emerged from the Battle of Britain in 1940 as one of the top scoring Squadron in the Royal Air Force, and eventually received eight Battle Honours during the course of the war. In 1951 the then HRH The Princess Elizabeth was appointed as the Honorary Air Commodore (HAC) of 603 Squadron, a role that, at Her Majesty’s own express wish, was sustained when she ascended the throne in 1952. The squadron lost its flying role in 1957, but survived in a ground support role for a further two years, before eventually becoming N0.2 Maritime Headquarters Unit (2MHU), providing operational support to the RAF Maritime force.

In 1999 the squadron was reformed from 2MHU; the number 603 was revived and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II graciously reassumed the title of HAC . Initially filling a Mission Support  and ‘Survive to Operate’ role, the Squadron later became a RAF Regiment ‘Force Protection’ unit, retaining this function until re-rolling for RAF Police duties in 2013, whilst still retaining the dual Force Protection capability of RAF Regiment. The squadron still operates from its original Learmonth Terrace Headquarters.

Since 2003 (in its previous Force Protection role) a high percentage of 603 Squadron’s Reservists have deployed to the Falkland Islands, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world.
Available trades

RAF Police

603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron is one of the RAF Reserves’ two specialised Police units, converting to this role as part of the Future Reserves 2020 programme as recently as 2013. The squadron’s RAF Police training will consist of the diverse range of General Policing Duties (Criminal Investigations); Protective Security required to safeguard personnel and equipment from enemy, criminal and terrorist threats, and Aviation Security duties, consisting of the security and protection of passengers, aircraft and their payloads, all over the world.

However employed, RAF Police need to be ready to react to a wide range of incidents professionally and effectively, and use their own initiative to resolve potentially stressful situations.

Although some serving RAF Police Reservists have previous police experience (civilian or military) this is not a prerequisite and the unit welcomes applications from all (male or female).

RAF Regiment

The unit also consists of RAF Regiment Gunners; airmen trained in infantry skills.  Gunners are required to master a range of skills, including infantry tactics, covert observation, target acquisition and close combat. Gunners also become expert at handling a wide range of infantry weapons. The RAF Regiment needs to operate 24 hours a day, in any weather, so our Gunners need to be robust and fit.

The progressively challenging training begins with general service knowledge, before moving onto weapons and tactics, living and operating in Field Conditions, Command, Control and Communications and other Force Protection skills.

Combat training is physically and mentally demanding and can take place anywhere in the world. Gunners need to be robust, fit, active and prepared to endure difficult and demanding situations.

At present, women cannot be accepted for this role.


603 (City of Edinburgh) Sqn
Royal Auxiliary Air Force
25 Learmonth Terrace

Recruiting: 0345 606 9069