RAF Cosford

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RAF Cosford

Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg

Near Cosford, Shropshire in England
RAF Cosford crest.png
EGWC is located in Shropshire
EGWC
EGWC
Shown within Shropshire
Coordinates 52°38′42″N 002°15′20″W / 52.64500°N 2.25556°W / 52.64500; -2.25556Coordinates: 52°38′42″N 002°15′20″W / 52.64500°N 2.25556°W / 52.64500; -2.25556
Type Royal Air Force station
Site information
Owner Ministry of Defence
Operator Royal Air Force
Open to
the public
Access to RAF Museum only
Website RAF Cosford
RAF Museum - Cosford
Site history
Built 1938 (1938)
In use 1938-Present
Airfield information
Identifiers ICAO: EGWC,
Elevation: 83 metres (272 ft) AMSL
Runways
Direction Length and surface
06/24 1,186 metres (3,891 ft) Asphalt

Royal Air Force Cosford or RAF Cosford (formerly DCAE Cosford)[1] (ICAO: EGWC) is a Royal Air Force station in Cosford, Shropshire, just to the northwest of Wolverhampton and next to Albrighton.

Use of the station[edit]

History[edit]

RAF Cosford opened in 1938 as a joint aircraft maintenance, storage and technical training unit. It has remained mainly a training unit to this day. The Fulton Mess barrack block was constructed just before WW2 as the largest single building barrack block in the UK. It is now used for technical training.

A substantial Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service hospital was established at RAF Cosford, the most westerly such RAF hospital in the UK. Constructed of wooden spurred hutting the hospital closed on 31 December 1977 and was demolished in 1980. For the three summers between 1978 and 1980 the empty hospital formed the venue for annual training camps for the Royal Observer Corps, with wards and theatres converted into barrack accommodation and training rooms.

The extensive sports facilities at Cosford, based around a banked indoor running track, became well known nationally through televised annual indoor championships that featured top athletes from all over the world.

Cosford today[edit]

Runway 24 at RAF Cosford, as seen during final approach.

Schools currently stationed there include: No. 1 School of Technical Training, No 1 Radio School, the Defence School of Photography and the RAF School of Physical Training. Flying units include the University of Birmingham Air Squadron, No 8 Air Experience Flight and No 633 Volunteer Gliding Squadron. The Wales and West regional headquarters and West Mercian Wing headquarters of the Air Training Corps are based there, along with 2497 (Cosford) Squadron of the ATC.

Cosford became part of the Defence College of Aeronautical Engineering (DCAE), which was formed on 1 April 2004. Other units located at Cosford include elements of the Defence College of Communications and Information Systems (DCCIS), the Defence School of Photography (DSOP) and the RAF School of Physical Training.

In early 2009 there was a strong chance that the DCAE would relocate to RAF St Athan and therefore a decision was given to rename the base RAF Cosford.[2]

Operational units[edit]

  • Defence College of Aeronautical Engineering Cosford
    • HQ DCAE
    • Aerosystems Training Wing
    • Military Training Wing
  • Lodger Units
    • The RAF Museum Cosford.
    • No 1 Radio School (Part of the Defence College of Communication and Information Systems (DCCIS).
    • Defence School of Photography (Part of the Defence Intelligence and Security Centre (DISC)).
    • RAF School of Physical Training.
    • University of Birmingham Air Squadron
    • No 8 Air Experience Flight (Operating the Grob 115 Tutor)
    • HQ Wales and Western Region Air Training Corps.
    • Headquarters West Mercia West Wing Air Training Corps.
    • No 633 Volunteer Gliding Squadron (Operating the Grob 109B Vigilant T.Mk.1 motor-glider)
    • 2497 Squadron (Air Training Corps)
    • Wrekin Gliding Club
    • Royal Air Force Cosford Flying Club
A Grob G 109B Vigilant Motor Glider operated by 633 VGS at RAF Cosford.
A Grob G 115E Tutor operated by No. 8 Air Experience Flight RAF based at RAF Cosford.

Aerospace museum[edit]

There is also the Aerospace Museum at the site, which is a branch of the Royal Air Force Museum. Amongst the large collection of military aircraft is a unique collection of research and development aircraft, including one of two existing examples of the TSR2, a multi-role combat aircraft, controversially scrapped by the Wilson Government and still a point of discussion within the RAF. There are also collections of missiles and airliners.

The Cold War Exhibition opened on 7 February 2007 by former prime minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher and HRH Princess Anne. Exhibits include the only collection of three V bombers (Valiant, Victor and Vulcan) in the same place in the world.

Plans[edit]

Following the UK Government's 2001 Defence Training Review (DTR), the Ministry of Defence proposed handing over armed forces skills training to a private sector bidder for a 25-year term, and it was announced on 17 January 2007 that the Metrix consortium had been awarded Preferred Bidder status for Package 1 of this programme. As a consequence, it is anticipated that all technical training will move from Cosford to Metrix's main campus to be built on the RAF St Athan site over a 5-year period from 2008.[3] This in turn has been deferred with no anticipated move from Cosford to St Athan for DCAE and No1 RS staff and trainees before 2014–15 at the earliest. For those other training schools, headquarters and units at present at Cosford, decisions have yet to be made about their future location.[1]

On 31 January 2008, the Government announced that when 1 Signal Brigade and 102 Logistics Brigade withdraw from Germany they will move to Cosford. It was also noted that Metrix propose to establish a Learning Centre and Design facility at the Cosford site.

In popular culture[edit]

RAF Cosford was the location for James May's Toy Stories, where the BBC's Top Gear presenter constructed a 1:1 scale Supermarine Spitfire completely out of Airfix with the help of students from the Thomas Telford school and Air Cadets from the ATC.

RAF Cosford also holds a popular airshow every year in June, with aircraft enthusiasts from all over the country coming to witness aircraft such as the Boeing CH-47 Chinook, Panavia Tornado, Hawker Hurricane, Red Arrows and many other military aircraft. Alongside the airshow, is a fun fair, craft fair, military vehicle gatherings and sometimes open cockpit visits.

References[edit]

External links[edit]