Welcome to the Unit History page! As we establish this site the objective of this area is to provide place to share, promote and illuminate the history of this "quiet" but watchful Unit. Click the below link to see new items.

May 25th 2024 - A family connection: Dedicating the Unit Slate in St Clement Danes Church

If you are following the Association X feed (the social media formally known as twitter!) you will have seen that the Unit, Family, Veterans, Friends and Members attended a ceremony to dedicate the 591 SU Slate that has been laid in the church floor. Here, it sits amongst the badges of the Commands, Formations, Units and Squadrons that we have kept watch over, across the seven decades of our existence. I am sure that a write up will follow about this event elsewhere, but I want to share a link between the current Church family and our first Officer Commanding, Flt Lt Rider.  

Training with Partners

One of the first bits of research completed on our Unit History was a look at our first OC and his RAF career, which started in 1931 as a Wireless Operator Mechanic. In 1939, a Cpl, Rider volunteered to join the New Zealand Flight at RAF MARHAM where he was placed on training and maintenance duties. The history of this flight is more than amply explained here on this great website: 75(NZ) RAF | 75(nz)squadron (wordpress.com). Basically, William was to train the New Zealand Crews on Wireless Telegraphy and flew with them in their Wellington Bombers. We know this as in a photograph of a New Zealand Flight logbook, obtained from the RNZAF Museum, Cpl Rider flew in Wellington NZ 305 as the W/T operator alongside a Sqn Leader Kay as crew. This was on the 25th of July 1939. 

Later on Cpl Rider appeared in the crew itinerary for the flight back to New Zealand in October 1939, in Sqn Ldr C. E. Kay’s aircraft as per the attached photograph from the NZ Archives (Source: 75(NZ) RAF | 75(nz)squadron (wordpress.com))  This was however cancelled due to the outbreak of war and Kay stayed on to command 75 Sqn and Cpl Rider was promoted to Sgt and posted to 238 Sqn at Tangmere. 

The rest for us as they say is history, but when I saw a copy of “Oranges and Lemons”, the Magazine of the Friends of the Church there was an article on a family with links to the Church, whose original family name was “Kay”. Sqn Leader Kay had got married in St Clement Danes in 1932 and Kay family descendents are still involved in church life. And there we are indeed, 85 years later, laying a slate for a Unit whose first Commander was someone who flew alongside the father and grandfather of current members of the church!!!!! 

This is the first of one of the many stories that I am sure we can share on this page as we go forward, about the Unit we all know and are associated with. Oh! Don’t forget, if you are on X you can follow the association @591SU_Assoc

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