RAF Colerne

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RAF Colerne
Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg
RAF Colerne.JPG
The airfield from above
IATA: noneICAO: none
Summary
Airport type Military
Owner Ministry of Defence
Operator Royal Air Force
Location Colerne, Wiltshire
Built 1939 (1939)
In use 1940-Present
Elevation AMSL 581 ft / 177 m
Coordinates 51°26′28″N 002°16′57″W / 51.44111°N 2.28250°W / 51.44111; -2.28250Coordinates: 51°26′28″N 002°16′57″W / 51.44111°N 2.28250°W / 51.44111; -2.28250
Map
RAF Colerne is located in Wiltshire
RAF Colerne
RAF Colerne
Location in Wiltshire
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
00/00 0 0 Asphalt
00/00 0 0 Asphalt
00/00 0 0 Asphalt
RAF Colerne
Active 1940-Unknown
Country United Kingdom
Branch  Royal Air Force
Type Operational headquarters
Part of No. 10 Group RAF
Garrison/HQ Colerne, Wiltshire, England

RAF Colerne, now known as Colerne Airfield or AEF Colerne, is a former World War II RAF Fighter Command and Bomber Command airfield located on the outskirts of the village of Colerne, Wiltshire.

The airbase is currently home to 21 Signal Regt, Royal Signals, the 93 (City of Bath) Air Training Corps detached flight and Bristol University Air Squadron, who operate the Grob Tutor in a flying training role for the RAF. BUAS recruits from several universities in the South-West and has been stationed at Colerne, alongside 3 Air Experience Flight, for many years. They fly the Air Training Corps cadets using the same aircraft as part of their flying experience they are entitled to during their time in the ATC.

History[edit]

Originally there had been a farm called Doncombe and a Vine Yard on the site of the airfield, the name of Doncombe Lane and Doncombe Hill being the last link to the farm.

From 1940 to 1955 RAF Fighter Command units were based here. During the Battle of Britain the airfield served as a satellite field to RAF Middle Wallop, and squadrons rotated back and forth from there on a daily basis.[1] Later it was a Training station for Night Fighter navigators. Using the latest night fighter procedures, the Squadron was 238 O.C.U. and Bristol Brigand Aircraft was used for this purpose. Also on this Squadron they had Bristol Buckmaster Aircraft for Pilot Training, and a number of Balliol Aircraft which basically was a Pilot Trainer shaped similar to the Spitfire but both the Pilot and Trainee sat side by side were used as targets for the Brigand aircraft to practice radar interceptions on.

Between 4 May 1948 and 1 March 1962 No. 49 Maintenance Unit RAF was based at the airfield.[2]

After this it became a Transport Airfield, and Hastings aircraft were flown from RAF Colerne. After the demise of the Hastings and the new C-130 Hercules being introduced to the RAF Air Support Command. The Hercules were based at RAF Lyneham and for many years Major Servicing of the Hercules was carried out at RAF Colerne by the Air Engineering Squadron until the station closed in 1976. A/c No. XV198 crashed, killing all crew on board here in September 1973. It was also the home of 2 Field Squadron RAF Regiment from 1962 - 1975. For a number of years up until its closure as an RAF Station it housed one of the RAF's regional collections of historic aircraft including Neville Duke's world record breaking Hawker Hunter and a rare example of the rocket-engined Messerschmitt Me 163 B, Werknummer 191904 (since returned to Germany).

In April 1983 the entire Thickwood Estate Married Quarter houses serving RAF Colerne and located opposite Lucknam Park were purchased by The Welbeck Estate Group.

RAF units[edit]

Used by the British Army as its training facility for the Junior Leaders Regiment of the Royal Corps of Transport. Young men from the age of 16 were trained in a variety of the skills needed to enable them to become better soldiers in the Army. Basic driver training was done on simulators, car driver training to licence level and motorcycle training were undertaken here.

The Regiment consisted of:- 30 (Junior Leader) Squadron RCT, 57 (Junior Leader) Squadron RCT and 90 (Junior Leader) Squadron RCT.

Estranged from the regiment at Driffield in Yorkshire was 32 Driver Training Squadron RCT. Here young soldiers were sent to the ASMT at Leconfield to be taught to drive the basic vehicles of the Army (typically a Land Rover and a 4 Tonne HGV Lorry) and to qualify as Driver Trade B3 before being posted to a full-time working regiment where their technical trade training would be continued.

Current Use[edit]

Main article: Colerne Airfield

Colerne Airfield is now home to 21 Signal Regiment, Royal Signals, the 93 (City of Bath) Squadron Air Training Corps detached flight and Bristol University Air Squadron, who operate the Grob Tutor in a flying training role for the RAF. BUAS recruits from several universities in the South-West and has been stationed at Colerne, alongside 3 Air Experience Flight, for many years. They fly the Air Training Corps cadets using the same aircraft as part of their flying experience they are entitled to during their time in the ATC. Several other military cadet units (such as CCF and ACF) use Colerne for training.

Squadrons[edit]

Squadron Equipment From To To Notes
No. 19 Squadron RAF Supermarine Spitfire VB 23 July 1942 31 July 1942 RAF Perranporth [3]
No. 24 Squadron RAF Handley Page Hastings C.1 1 January 1957 5 January 1968 RAF Lyneham [4]
No. 29 Squadron RAF de Havilland Mosquito XIIII/XXX 22 February 1945 11 May 1945 RAF Manston [5]
No. 36 Squadron RAF Hastings C.1/C.2 1 September 1958 1 July 1967 RAF Lyneham [6]
No. 74 Squadron RAF Gloster Meteor F.3 15 February 1946
9 June 1946
2 June 1946
14 August 1946
RAF Bentwaters
RAF Horsham St Faith
[7]
No. 87 Squadron RAF Hawker Hurricane I
Hurricane IIC
28 November 1940
7 August 1941
18 December 1940
27 January 1942
RAF Charmy Down Detachment at RAF Charmy Down.
Det at RAF St Mary's.[8]
No. 89 Squadron RAF Bristol Beaufighter IF 25 September 1941 19 November 1941 en route Egypt Reformed here.[8]
No. 114 Squadron RAF Hastings C.1/C.2 13 April 1959 30 September 1961 Disbanded Reformed here.[9]
No. 118 Squadron RAF Spitfire IIA 7 April 1941 9 April 1941 RAF Warmwell [9]
No. 124 Squadron RAF Spitfire VII March 1943 26 July 1943 RAF Northolt As an detachment from RAF North Weald.[10]
No. 125 Squadron RAF Boulton Paul Defiant I
Defiant II
Beaufighter IIF
16 June 1941
25 January 1942
7 August 1941
RAF Fairwood Common
RAF Charmy Down

RAF Fairwood Common
Dets at RAF Fairwood Common
RAF Charmy Down.[10]
No. 131 Squadron RAF Spitfire IX
Spitfire VII
10 February 1944
29 February 1944
22 February 1944
24 March 1944
Example [11]
No. 137 Squadron RAF Hurricane IV
Hawker Typhoon IB
2 January 1944 4 February 1944 RAF Lympne [12]
No. 151 Squadron RAF Defiant I
Mosquito II/XII/VI/XIII
30 April 1943
17 November 1943
16 August 1943
25 March 1944
RAF Middle Wallop
RAF Predannack
[13]
No. 165 Squadron RAF Spitfire VC/IXB 10 February 1944
7 March 1944
1 March 1944
10 March 1944
RAF Fairwood Common
RAF Culmhead
[14]
No. 175 Squadron RAF Hurricane IIB
Typhoon IB
8 April 1943 29 May 1943 RAF Lasham [15]
No. 183 Squadron RAF Typhoon IB 24 March 1943 8 April 1943 RAF Gatwick [16]
No. 184 Squadron RAF Hurricane IID 1 December 1942 1 March 1943 RAF Chilbolton Det at RAF Milfield.[16]
No. 219 Squadron RAF Mosquito XVII 26 March 1944 1 April 1944 RAF Bradwell Bay [17]
No. 245 Squadron RAF Meteor F.3 10 August 1945 18 February 1946 RAF Fairwood Common Reformed here.[18]
No. 256 Squadron RAF Defiant I 6 February 1941 26 March 1941 RAF Squires Gate Det at RAF Middle Wallop.[19]
No. 263 Squadron RAF Westland Whirlwind I 28 January 1942
15 August 1942
10 February 1942
13 September 1942
RAF Fairwood Common
RAF Warmwell
[20]
No. 264 Squadron RAF Defiant II
Mosquito II
Mosquito XIII
1 May 1942
30 November 1944
30 April 1943
1 December 1944
RAF Odiham [20]
No. 285 Squadron RAF Defiant III
Martinet I
25 August 1943 19 November 1944 RAF Andover As an detachment from RAF Woodvale.[21]
No. 286 Squadron RAF Miles Master III
Defiant III/I
Hurricane I
Airspeed Oxford
30 December 1941
2 March 1942
24 January 1942
30 April 1942
RAF Lulsgate Bottom
RAF Lulsgate Bottom
[21]
No. 307 Squadron RAF Defiant I 26 March 1941 26 April 1941 RAF Exeter [22]
No. 316 Squadron RAF Hurricane I/IIA/IIB 18 June 1941 2 August 1941 RAF Northolt [23]
No. 317 Squadron RAF Hurricane I 26 June 1941 27 June 1941 RAF Fairwood Common [23]
No. 402 Squadron RAF Hurricane IB
Spitfire VB
4 March 1942 17 March 1942 RAF Fairwood Common [24]
No. 406 Squadron RAF Mosquito XXX 17 September 1944 27 November 1944 RAF Manston [24]
No. 410 Squadron RAF Mosquito XIII/XXX 28 July 1944 9 September 1944 RAF Hunsdon [25]
No. 417 Squadron RAF Spitfire IIA/VB 26 January 1942 24 February 1942 RAF Tain [26]
No. 456 Squadron RAF Beaufighter IIF/VIF
Mosquito II
Mosquito VI
December 1942

17 August 1943
29 March 1943

17 November 1943
RAF Middle Wallop

RAF Fairwood Common
[27]
No. 488 Squadron RAF Mosquito XIII 3 May 1944
29 July 1944
12 May 1944
9 October 1944
RAF Zeals
RAF Hunsdon
[28]
No. 501 Squadron RAF Spitfire I/IIA 9 April 1941 25 June 1941 RAF Chilbolton [28]
No. 504 Squadron RAF Spitfire IXE
Meteor III
28 March 1945 10 August 1945 Disbanded Dets at RAF Andrews Field and RAF Lübeck.[29]
No. 511 Squadron RAF Hastings C.1/C.2 1 May 1957 1 September 1958 Disbanded [29]
No. 587 Squadron RAF Oxford
Hawker Henley III
Hurricane IV
Miles Martinet
Hurricane IIC
10 April 1944 1 October 1944 RAF Weston Zoyland As an detachment from RAF Culmhead.[30]
No. 600 Squadron RAF Beaufighter IIF 27 April 1941
27 June 1941
18 June 1941
6 October 1941
RAF Fairwood Common
RAF Predannack

Det at RAF Predannack.[31]
No. 604 Squadron RAF Mosquito XIII
Mosquito XII
13 July 1944
28 July 1944
25 July 1944
6 August 1944
RAF Zeals
A-8 Picauville

Det at A-15 Maupertus.[32]
No. 616 Squadron RAF Meteor I/III 17 January 1945 28 February 1945 RAF Andrews Field Det at B 58 Melsbroek.[33]
No. 662 Squadron RAF Auster AOP 5/6/4 1 February 1949 10 March 1957 Disbanded [34]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ RAF, Groups in the Battle of Britain, accessed February 2009
  2. ^ "RAF Colerne". Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 30.
  4. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 32.
  5. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 34.
  6. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 37.
  7. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 48.
  8. ^ a b c d Jefford 1988, p. 51.
  9. ^ a b c d Jefford 1988, p. 57.
  10. ^ a b c d Jefford 1988, p. 58.
  11. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 59.
  12. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 60.
  13. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 62.
  14. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 64.
  15. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 65.
  16. ^ a b c d Jefford 1988, p. 66.
  17. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 72.
  18. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 77.
  19. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 79.
  20. ^ a b c d Jefford 1988, p. 80.
  21. ^ a b c d Jefford 1988, p. 83.
  22. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 85.
  23. ^ a b c d Jefford 1988, p. 86.
  24. ^ a b c d Jefford 1988, p. 89.
  25. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 90.
  26. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 91.
  27. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 93.
  28. ^ a b c d Jefford 1988, p. 94.
  29. ^ a b c d Jefford 1988, p. 95.
  30. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 97.
  31. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 98.
  32. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 99.
  33. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 101.
  34. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 104.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Jefford, 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.

External links[edit]