Kent’s Own: The Story of No. 500 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force


Shrieking from the clouds, the Stukas achieved the measure of surprise they needed. The accuracy of the raid was good. Every runway was hit, the length of them just bomb craters, rock and earth. Fires were started in all the hangers eventually spreading to enormous proportions. As the operations room disappeared in one large explosion, the Station Commander fell dead with a piece of jagged concrete driven straight through his skull…

500 Squadron was formed in 1930 at Manston in Kent. Initially recruited from Kent men and women, it became international in character when war broke out with Battle Honours in the English Channel and North Sea, Dunkirk, Biscay Ports, Atlantic, North Africa, the Mediterranean and Italy. In peacetime, it won the coveted Cooper and Esher Trophy twice for the best performance in the auxiliary squadrons. Sadly, it fell victim to defence cuts in 1957 when all auxiliary squadrons were disbanded.

The squadron may have disappeared from the Royal Air Force Order of Battle, but it will never be forgotten. Its history lies in the annals of the service and the fact that the Old Comrades Association of 500 Squadron hold an annual reunion at their ancestral home, RAF Manston in Kent.


Robin Brooks was born in Sevenoaks, Kent, and served as an apprentice as an electrician before National Service in the RAF. Being an air cadet, he enjoyed his service in the trade of author writing aircraft servicing schedules. After demob, he did not want to return to being an electrician and took a job as a display designer in London. Brooks later returned to the tools and became an office equipment engineer initially on typewriters, but then moved to copiers and fax machines. Brooks retired early to enjoy his hobby that he has now become a full-time occupation i.e. aviation.


  • Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
  • Binding: paperback
  • Pages: 160
  • Illustrations: 100 b/w photographs

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1 Response

  1. Dear Sir/Madam,

    I hope you can help me with my question.
    I am working for the 322 squadron Dutch Airforce and i got a question from a friend.
    As you know our squadron also flew from Manston with our Spitfires during war but this question is something else. My friend had a talk with someone who is related to : Douglas Ronald Merry. Service number : 755900. He was working for the 500 squadron at Manston. I don’t know if there is a database at your field but it would be great if there is some information about Douglas. He was flight officer and went to Africa also. The family would like to get all the info there is. Hope you can help me with this.


    Sgt1 H.Luining
    322 sqn RNLAF

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