7644 (Public Relations)
Station name: RAF Halton
Station address: Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP22 5PG
Motto: Vérité à jamais (French for ‘Always the truth’).
Mission: To provide media operations support for RAF and NATO forces around the world in both war and peace times.
Get in touch: 0345 606 9069
More about this squadron
The Reservists of 7644 (Public Relations) Squadron play an important role in supporting their full-time colleagues in the RAF, UK Armed Forces and NATO in media operations. These range from writing short news stories to running a large press information centre at an operating base. In the UK, our Reservists support the RAF by explaining its work and tell its story through public relations material at RAF stations or at events.
Although we generally recruit experienced people with a media or PR background, we train all recruits across a range of media and PR skills to make them effective, skilled multi-media communicators.
Roles and specialist skills
The squadron’s Reservists provide the RAF with specialist skills and expertise in media and journalism.
Media Operations Officers produce stories for magazines and newspapers or put together audio and video clips about Service personnel. Because RAF operations often happen at short notice in distant parts of the world, media or broadcasting stations may not be able to get there. Instead, Media Ops staff gather material to send back to media stations in the UK.
Media Ops Reservists also play an important role in giving officers of all ranks vital media advice and training. Giving media advice includes informing commanders about existing and potential media issues, helping them to make sure that their communications are co-ordinated with the rest of their activities.
Media training involves giving officers the confidence to be interviewed and attend press conferences. It also includes simulating real events, playing the role of a journalist or reporter. This gives officers authentic and invaluable experience of what it’s like in front of a microphone, a camera or a room full of people.
In recent years 7644’s members have taken part in operations around the world. In the Gulf, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan, Reservists were deployed to act as advisers to senior officers. Many have also worked in, or run, UK and multinational press information centres.
The squadron dates back to 1940 when the Government identified the need to keep the public informed about the war and let servicemen and women tell their own stories. Lord Beaverbrook suggested that the journalists reporting these stories should not only be information experts but also have a Service background.
A number of officers agreed to volunteer and together formed the first public relations (PR) unit in the RAF Reserves. A number of officers were kept after the war, as the RAF recognised the benefits of uniformed communications specialists. The tradition continues in the work of 7644 Squadron to this day.