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Netheravon shown within Wiltshire
|Population||1,064 (2001 census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
The writer Frank Sawyer (1906-1980), although born in Bulford, spent most of his life in Netheravon as a river keeper on the Avon and died on the banks of the river near the parish church. He developed the Pheasant Tail Nymph for fly fishing and wrote the books Keeper of the Stream and Nymphs and the Trout.
Netheravon Military Camps
Cavalry School - Choulston Camp
Military activity was first established at Netheravon in 1904 with the creation of a Cavalry school under the sponsorship of Major General Robert Baden Powell as the Inspector General of Cavalry. Baden-Powell envisioned developments in the use of Cavalry following his experiences in Southern Africa and India and lessons from the Second Boer War. The school emphasised the use of cavalry for scouting and reconnaissance, recognising that the traditional effects of mass of cavalry had been diminished by the availability of modern weapons. The Officers' Mess was established in the Manor House with the stables and buildings to the East of the A345 and training areas to the West.
Aviation operations and training
Following the establishment of Army flying training at nearby Larkhill and Upavon in 1910 the training areas to the East of Choulston camp were established as the first operational flying station for Army use during 1912, initially balloon operations but later for fixed wing aircraft. In 1914 the Royal Flying Corps undertook a concentrated period of tactical development at Netheravon, shortly before the declaration of the First World War. The site became a training establishment then known as No8 Training Depot Station, and continued to operate as such until transferred to the Royal Air Force on its creation in 1918, as RAF Netheravon. Going through a series of name changes it became No. 1 Flying Training School in December 1919.
During the First World War Netheravon was also a location used to establish new Squadrons prior to their transfer to mainland Europe, and after the formation of the RAF became home to a Bomber squadron. The school continued to operate from Netheravon until disbandment in 1931. Rotary wing trials were undertaken at Netheravon in 1933. Flying training recommenced at RAF Netheravon in 1938 for four years, when the site was transferred to Army Cooperation Command and supported glider operations and glider troop training.
Following the Second World War RAF NEtheravon continued to be used, briefly, for transport aircraft; the DC3 Dakota but due to limitations in the infrastructure transferred to the RAF Police for use as a Depot and training school, with aviation operations playing a minor part. The RAF Police left the site in 1963 whereupon it became a transit camp for units operating on Salisbury Plain Training Area until 1966 when it became an Army Air Corps site as AAC Netheravon, known as Airfield Camp.
Units of the Army Air Corps had been operating from Netheravon from 1962, having decanted from nearby AAC Middle Wallop, with a diverse range of units later regularised as 7 Army Aviation Regiment.
The airfield is claimed to be the longest continuously operated airfield in the world and was operated by 7 Regt AAC(V) of the Army Air Corps as AAC Netheravon from 1995 until the regiment's disbandment in 2009.
Airfield Camp closed in 2012 with the remaining units moving to nearby Trenchard Lines, Upavon.
The camp is also used as a parachute centre, on weekdays for the Joint Service Parachute Centre (JSPC) and at the weekends for the Army Parachute Association (APA).
With the establishment of the Airfield in 1912 the Cavalry School continued to operate in the remaining training areas until the beginning of the war, re-opening briefly in 1919. In 1922 the school amalgamated with the Royal Artillery Riding Establishment in Northamptonshire and the location was taken over by the Machine Gun School, following a move from Grantham.
The Machine Gun School was absorbed as an element of the Small Arms School Corps in 1926. Over time the school expanded to encompass support weapons in general, becoming the Support Weapons Wing of SASC. Support Weapons Wing remained at Netheravon until 1995 when Avon Camp was closed and the Wing moved to the Land Warfare Centre, Warminster.
Courses at Avon camp included the use of:
- Heavy Machine Gun
- General Purpose Machine Gun - Sustained Fire
- Man Portable Anti-Tank
- "Area selected: Salisbury (Non-Metropolitan District)". Neighbourhood Statistics: Full Dataset View. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
- Vines, Sidney (1984). Frank Sawyer - Man of the Riverside. London: George Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0-04-799023-6.
- English Heritage list entry for Dovecote, with map
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