No 501 (County of Gloucester) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force, was formed in Bristol in June 1929 and has a distinguished history, first as a light bomber squadron, then during World War Two as combat fighter squadron, before ceasing flying operations in 1957. As a combat flying Squadron, it was presented with a Squadron Standard, and in 1964, the Squadron Standard was officially laid up in Bristol Cathedral.
In June 2001 No 501 Squadron was again reformed in a Force Protection role, at Royal Air Force Brize Norton as No 501 (County of Gloucester) Operational Support Squadron, and Squadron personnel were deployed to Iraq as part of Operation TELIC in 2003 and then to Afghanistan in 2006. In April 2013 No 501 Squadron reformed once again, with their role changing from Force Protection to Logistics Support. The Squadron now provides Reserve Royal Air Force Drivers and Suppliers to support the Royal Air Force Air Transport Fleet.
501 Squadron’s 50th Anniversary Service
On 20th September 2014, members the 501 Squadron Association (including those who served in 501 in 1940), along with the current Squadron personnel, and the Squadron Honorary Air Commodore, HRH Duke Of Gloucester, gathered together at Bristol Cathedral to participate in an evensong service which commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the laying up of the Squadron Standard in the Cathedral.
Following the service, which was undertaken by the Dean of Bristol, The Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, 501 Squadron and Association members held a reception in the Cathedral Chapter House. Here they had the opportunity to meet and speak with the Duke of Gloucester, the Lord Lieutenant of Bristol, Mrs M Prior and the Lord Mayor of Bristol, Councillor A Watson.