RAF Castel Benito
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2013)|
|RAF Castel Benito|
|IATA: none – ICAO: none|
|Owner/Operator||Desert Air Force|
|Location||Near: Tripoli, Libya|
Originally a Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force) airfield where later the first units of Italian parachutists were trained and formed shortly before the Second World War. The first Italian Military Parachute School was located at Castel Benito. The first troops trained were two Libyan battalions, the Libyan Parachute Battalion and the 1st National Libyan Parachute Battalion, of the Royal Colonial Corps.
After it was captured by the British, the airfield was renamed RAF Station Castel Benito and was used by a number of operational squadrons involved in the desert war, sometimes for only a few days or weeks at a time.
In 1952, the station was renamed RAF Idris in honour of the Libyan King Idris at the request of the Libyan government. The station was used as a staging post for flights to and from the United Kingdom to the Middle East and Far East. It was also used in the 1950s as a base for aircraft using the Libyan desert bombing ranges (Tahuna) for practice. The station was closed in the late 1960s when the Libya became a republic.
Following the withdrawal of the RAF from Libya, the airfield became Tripoli Idris Airport. It is now known as Tripoli International Airport.
Units and aircraft
- Jefford, Wing Commander C.G., MBE,BA,RAF (Retd). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1988. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
- Sturtivant, Ray, ISO and John Hamlin. RAF Flying Training And Support Units since 1912. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 2007. ISBN 0-85130-365-X.