​The superb and unique Iraq No.1 Armoured Car Company RAF Hinaidi 1928-1933 Photograph Album compiled by Leading Air Craftsman T.L. Townsend, Royal Air Force, and later a Squadron Leader during the Second World War, whose album of approximately 254 photographs provides an exceptional visual and annotated account of the Armoured Car Company on operations, with some very rare images included. Together with recipients Royal Air Force Iraq Rifle and Pistol Association Prize Medal for 1931.

Price: £1,250


Product ID: CMA/21081
Condition: Good Condition
Availability: IN STOCK
Description:

The superb and unique Iraq No.1 Armoured Car Company RAF Hinaidi 1928-1933 Photograph Album compiled by Leading Air Craftsman T.L. Townsend, Royal Air Force, and later a Squadron Leader during the Second World War, whose album of approximately 254 photographs provides an exceptional visual and annotated account of the Armoured Car Company on operations, with some very rare images included. Together with recipients Royal Air Force Iraq Rifle and Pistol Association Prize Medal for 1931.

Photograph album – comprising approximately 254 photographs, nearly all annotated, being quite possibly the finest record of a Royal Air Force Armoured Car in Iraq, this being a record of the service of No.1 Armoured Car Company, covering the period from 1928 continuously through to 1933, as taken and compiled by Leading Air Craftsman T.L. Townsend, whilst serving with No.1 Armoured Car Company at R.A.F Station Hinaidi in Iraq. As mentioned the whole is beautifully annotated, many images of the men and equipment used, some taken on operations and manoeuvres, some attractive drawings by the recipient, and with a cloth Manston patch inserted onto the inside front cover, whilst for the back two pages, one has a fine selection of Iraq stamps, one with a Revenue overstamp, the other page has affixed the Menu for the No.1 Armoured Car Company Hinaidi For Airmen’s Farewell Boat Dinner on 25th October 1930, this bearing some 26 sigantures of fellow airmen, and includes the postings they are off to. Inserted into the binding is the ribbon of the Air Crew Europe Star, which presumably Townsend acquired for purpose after the Second World War.

Royal Air Force Iraq Rifle and Pistol Association Prize Medal, bronze, engraved on the reverse: ‘Rifle Eights Runners-Up No.1 A.C.C. L.A.C. T.L. Townsend 1931’, housed in its Elkington & Co fitted presentation case.

Condition: Good Condition.

On 19 December 1921, "No. 1 Armoured Car Company RAF" was formed at Heliopolis in the Kingdom of Egypt and then moved to Palestine, being disbanded there on 1 December 1923 with elements being absorbed into No. 2 Armoured Car Company RAF. During the 1920s further RAF Armoured Car Companies (Nos 3, 4, 5 & 6) were formed in Iraq but by 1930 they were consolidated into No. 1 Company with its base at RAF Hinaidi and sections at Mosul and RAF Shaibah.

During the Anglo-Iraqi War, the No. 1 Armoured Car Company RAF was composed of eighteen Rolls-Royce armoured cars and several Morris tenders. These vehicles were among the last of a consignment of ex-Royal Naval Armoured Car Division armoured cars that had been serving in the Middle East since 1915. In addition to the Rolls-Royce armoured cars, the company had two ancient tanks, named "Walrus" and "Seal.”

The Company was organised into a Headquarters and three sections. Each section had six armoured cars and two wireless tenders. The make-up of the Company did however vary from time to time. Various sections would be detached to other RAF bases in Iraq and on various duties throughout Iraq (and even beyond).

The Company was based at RAF Hinaidi Cantonment until it moved to RAF Habbaniya in 1936 (and Hinaidi became the Iraqi Rashid Airbase). RAF Habbaniya had purpose built, modern facilities for both men and machines in the Armoured Car Lines.

Thomas Leslie Townsend was born on 28th July 1904 in Lewisham, London, and having worked as a storekeeper for the American Writing Type Company Ltd, then joined the Royal Air Force as an Aircraftsman 2nd Class (No.46739) on 9th September 1924.

Posted via RAF Halton to 111 Fighter Squadron on 31st December 1924, he was then posted to the School of Technical Training for Maintenance training from 19th January 1927, and having been promoted to Aircraftsman 1st Class on 15th July 1927, was then posted to Northolt on 17th August 1927, having qualified as a driver of petrol driven vehicles. On 20th October 1928 he was posted to Iraq, and joined No.1 Armoured Car Company as a driver operating out of R.A.F. Hinaidi. During this period he compiled the most exceptional photograph album of his service.

Promoted to Leading Aircraftsman on 1st January 1930, and to Corporal on 16th November 1933, he was posted to the Home Establishment on 20th March 1934, and then joined the Headquarters at Manston on 24th April 1934. Posted to the School of Technical Training on 7th January 1935, he then joined Headquarters at Duxford on 22nd January 1935 and joined No.99 Bomber Squadron for flying duties. Townsend married Beatrice Clara Ayres at The Parish Church, Stokenchurch, Buckinghamshire, on 9th March 1935.

Posted to the depot on 14th September 1935, he then rejoined Duxford on 30th September 1935, and joined No.3 School of Technical Training on 15th November 1935. Promoted to Sergeant on 1st March 1937, he was then admitted to the Royal Naval Hospital at Chatham on 2nd April 1937, and remained there for 24 days.

Posted to RAF Station Honington on 17th March 1938, he was based there on the outbreak of the Second World War, being promoted to Flight Sergeant back on 1st January 1939, he was then promoted to Temporary Warrant Officer on 1st July 1940, and then discharged to a commission on 9th October 1941.

Granted an Emergency Commission as a Flying Officer (No.358670) with seniority backdated to 15th September 1941, Townsend then saw service with the Administrative and Special Duties Branch. Townsend was awarded the Royal Air Force Long Service and Good Conduct Medal on 9th September 1942. Promoted to Temporary Flight Lieutenant on 13th October 1942, he was then appointed to Acting Squadron Leader on 11th November 1943. Posted to Air Headquarters India on 22nd January 1944 he then joined the Headquarters of 231 Group South East Asia Command on 1st October 1944, and the Headquarters of No.236 Group on 15th May 1945. Posted to No.362 Motor Maintenance Unit on 1st April 1946, he then returned to Air Headquarters India on 21st September 1946, before being posted to No.364 Maintenance Unit on 31st July 1946, and to No.355 Maintenance Unit on 21st October 1946. Posted home to No.5 Personnel Dispersal Centre on 16th December 1946, he then joined the Headquarters of No.41 Group in 1947, followed by No.54 Maintenance Unit in 1948, and Air Movements Control at R.A.F. Manston on 10th August 1949 before being discharged in the rank of Squadron Leader on 19th September 1950. Townsend died on 28th May 1985.


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