Air Training Corps
602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron Museum
The 602 Squadron Museum was officially opened on 22 October 1983 by Marshal of the Royal Air Force, The Lord Cameron of Balhousie. It was built to commemorate the outstanding achievements of No. 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force from its formation in 1925 until its disbandment in 1957.
The museum has now moved to it's new location in the Royal Highland Fusiliers Regimental Museum, 518 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3LW. The museum is open by appointment. Click here to see photos of the new museum.
602 was the first of 21 auxiliary squadrons to be formed within the Royal Air Force and began flying from Moorpark Aerodrome at Renfrew. It was originally a bomber squadron but converted to fighters in May 1939. Two of its pilots, The Maquis of Douglas & Clydesdale (later The Duke of Hamilton) and Flight Lieutenant David MacIntyre, were the first men ever to fly over Mount Everest. Such was the confidence of the Air Ministry in this unit that 602 was the first Auxiliary Squadron to be equipped with Spitfires - and, indeed, 7th in the whole Royal Air Force. With these Spitfires it was involved in the shooting down of the first German aircraft in UK skies in the Second World War. Later, the Squadron moved south into the thick of the Battle of Britain where it soon established itself as one of the leaders finishing the conflict with the second highest total of "kills", the lowest pilot loss rate and the longest serving squadron in the front line. The roll of honour, proudly displayed in the museum, records this momentous time in our nation's history.
After a spell at Prestwick and Ayr in early 1941, 602 returned south flying strike sorties into Europe from Kenley and Redhill and later provided fighter cover during the dieppe Raid in August 1942. In September the squadron moved north to the Orkney and Shetland Islands to intercept the high level German reconnaissance raiders over Scapa Flow. It flew from bases in the south of England from January 1943 and transferred to the Second Tactical Air Force in November flying offensive sweeps over France and providing fighter escorts. Involved in the "D" Day Invasion, 602 later flew from airfields in Europe before returning to England in September 1944 to concentrate on strikes against V2 rocket sites and other prime targets. The squadron disbanded on 15 May 1945 by which time it was credited with the destruction of 150 enemy aircraft.
After the war, 602 squadron was reformed in its auxiliary status flying spitfires from Abbots inch (now Glasgow airport) and, for a time, from Renfrew. The Spitfire gave way to Vampire jets in January 1951 which were flown until final disbandment in January 1957.
In 1941, Sir Patrick Dollan, then Lord Provost of Glasgow, wrote "Some day the City should provide a suitable memorial to the gallantry of the pilots of 602 Squadron". Some 40 years later, on learning of this statement and that nothing had been done, the cadets of 2175 (Rolls Royce) Squadron of the Air Training Corps accepted it as a challenge and within 18 months, with the help of many friends, established the Museum as a fitting tribute to the memory of the elite band of men.
Although not having any aircraft exhibits at present, the Museum houses many priceless artefacts and memorabilia including the Squadron silverware, a Rolls Royce Merlin Engine, uniforms and decorations, original drawings of 602 pilots by Orde, the Battle of Britain Memorial book, a photo gallery, maps, paintings and reference books.
Membership of the 602 Museum Association is available in the following
The museum specializes in visits from schools as an aid to
teaching history lessons. Pupils can learn about local history during World War
II with the aid of videos, presentations and activities.
There are many souvenir items available for purchase including prints of Squadron aircraft.
The committee of Management records it's grateful thanks to its many benefactors and, in particular, to Rolls-Royce plc and Flt Lt Bill McConnell, The Officer Commanding, Staff and Cadets of No. 2175 (Rolls-Royce) Squadron, Air Training Corps without whose untiring efforts the Museum would never have been built. It was erected alongside the ATC Squadron Headquarters at Hillington and its opening was attended by the Civic Heads of the city and many who had served with the Glasgow squadron since its early days.
For further information on the construction of the museum, see our squadron history.
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