The Royal Air Force Regiment (RAF Regt) is a specialist airfield defence Corps founded by Royal Warrant in 1942. After a 29 week training course, its members are responsible for defending airfields, and training Royal Air Force personnel in military skills. Members of the Regiment are known within the RAF as ’Rock Apes’ or ’Rocks’.
The genesis of the RAF Regiment was with the creation of No. 1 Armoured Car Company RAF in 1921 for operations in Iraq, followed shortly afterwards by Nos II and 3 companies. These were equipped with Rolls-Royce Armoured Cars and were highly successful in ground combat operations throughout the Middle East in the 1920s and 1930s. The RAF Regiment came into existence, in name, on 5 February 1942. From the start it had both field squadrons and light anti-aircraft squadrons, the latter originally armed with Hispano 20mm cannon and then the Bofors 40 mm gun anti aircraft gun. Its role was to seize, secure and defend airfields to enable air operations to take place. Several parachute squadrons were formed to assist in the seizing of airfields and No II Squadron retains this capability. 284 Field Squadron was the first RAF unit to arrive in West Berlin in 1945, to secure RAF Gatow.