RAF Church Fenton

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RAF Church Fenton
Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg
Near Church Fenton, North Yorkshire in England
Control Tower RAF Church Fenton - geograph.org.uk - 72700.jpg
Control tower at RAF Church Fenton
EGXG is located in North Yorkshire
Shown within North Yorkshire
Coordinates 53°50′04″N 001°11′44″W / 53.83444°N 1.19556°W / 53.83444; -1.19556Coordinates: 53°50′04″N 001°11′44″W / 53.83444°N 1.19556°W / 53.83444; -1.19556
Type Royal Air Force station
Site information
Owner Ministry of Defence
Operator Royal Air Force
Site history
Built 1937 (1937)
In use 1937-2013 (2013)
Airfield information
Identifiers ICAO: EGXG
Elevation 9 metres (30 ft) AMSL
Direction Length and surface
06/24 1,877 metres (6,158 ft) Asphalt
16/34 1,666 metres (5,466 ft) Asphalt

Royal Air Force Church Fenton or RAF Church Fenton (ICAO: EGXG) is a former Royal Air Force station located 4.3 miles (6.9 km) south east of Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, England and 6.3 miles (10.1 km) north west of Selby North Yorkshire, near the village of Church Fenton.



Plans for a new airfield adjacent to the village of Church Fenton were announced in June 1935, it was subject to protest from the local population particularly concerning the waste of valuable farming land and was close to an existing airfield 2 mi (3.2 km) away at Sherburn. Despite the protests construction started in early 1936 on the 260 acres (1.1 km2) site, a mixture of private and West Riding County Council-owned farm land.

On 1 April 1937 the station was declared open and on 19 April the first station commander Wing Commander W.E. Swann assumed command. Within two months No. 71 Squadron RAF had arrived with the Gloster Gladiator.

Second World War[edit]

Opened in 1937,[1] it saw the peak of its activity during the years of the Second World War, when it served within the defence network of fighter bases of the RAF providing protection for the Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield and Humberside industrial regions.

During September 1940 it became home to the first RAF "Eagle squadron" of American volunteers being No. 71 Squadron RAF. The airfield was also home to both the first all-Canadian and all-Polish squadrons, with No. 242 Squadron RAF for the Canadians and No. 306 Squadron RAF for the Polish.[2]

As technologies evolved, the first night fighter Operational Training Unit (54 OTU) was formed at Church Fenton in 1940 and stayed until 1942.[3] Some of the squadrons stationed there flew the famous de Havilland Mosquito.


After the war it at first retained its role as a fighter base, being among the first to receive modern jet aircraft, namely the Gloster Meteor[4] and the Hawker Hunter.[4] Between October 1950 and March 1957 it was the base of No. 609 Squadron RAF, within the Royal Auxiliary Air Force and named "North Riding". The unit was equipped with Gloster Meteors.[5]

Hunting Jet Provost of No. 7 Flying Training School which was based at Church Fenton 1962-1966 and 1979-1992

In later years, its role was mainly flight training. No 7 Flying Training School was based here between 1962 and 1966 and again between 1979 and 1992, equipped with Hunting Jet Provost jet trainers.[6]

For some years it was home to the Royal Navy Elementary Flying Training School (RNEFTS) using the Jet Provost T3,[7] and again 1979-1992, triggered by the introduction of the Panavia Tornado, being the first station to receive the new turboprop-powered Short Tucano T1 basic fast jet trainers. From 1998-2003 Church Fenton was the RAF's main Elementary Flying Training airfield.


On 25 March 2013 it was announced that Church Fenton would close by the end of 2013. The units would be relocated to RAF Linton on Ouse by 31 December 2013.[8] By 19 December 2013, all units had relocated and the airfield was closed. Some equipment will be relocated to RAF Topcliffe. MOD security will continue to secure the site until disposal. A NOTAM was issused suspending the air traffic zone (ATZ) at the end of 2013.[citation needed]

Yorkshire Universities Air Squadron and ATC[edit]

The station was home to Yorkshire Universities Air Squadron and it is from there that they used to conduct their flying training in the Grob Tutor Aircraft. Much of the station is now derelict and fenced off and the Officers Mess has been demolished. The airside section of the station is closed with various hangars incorporating YUAS’s aircraft, engineering support, fire/ambulance facilities and a sports hangar. The station used to have a fully functioning and manned Air Traffic Control Tower.

The Station headquarters remains and used to incorporate YUAS’s administration, presentation and social facilities. There was a canteen facility known as the "Feeder" and a basic accommodation block. Yorkshire UAS ceased operations at RAF Church Fenton on 19 December 2013, following the closure of the airfield.

RAF Church Fenton is also home to 2434 (Church Fenton) Squadron Air Training Corps.

Current operational units[edit]

  • 2434 (Church Fenton) Squadron ATC

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Halpenny 1982, p. 48.
  2. ^ Halpenny 1982, p. 49.
  3. ^ Halpenny 1982, p. 50.
  4. ^ a b Halpenny 1982, p. 51.
  5. ^ Halley 1988, p. 426.
  6. ^ Sturtivant 2007, p. 154.
  7. ^ Halpenny 1982, p. 52.
  8. ^ "Defence Estate Rationalisation Update". Ministry of Defence (MoD). Retrieved 26 March 2013. 


  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1981-1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Halpenny, B,B. Action Stations: Military Airfields of Yorkshire v. 4.Patrick Stephens Ltd, 1982. ISBN 978-0850595321.
  • Sturtivant, R. RAF Flying Training and Support Units since 1912. Air Britain, 2007. ISBN 0-85130-365-X.

External links[edit]