RAF Watchfield

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RAF Watchfield
Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg
IATA: noneICAO: none
Summary
Airport type Military
Operator Royal Air Force
Location Watchfield
Coordinates 51°37′14″N 001°38′52″W / 51.62056°N 1.64778°W / 51.62056; -1.64778
Map
RAF Watchfield is located in Oxfordshire
RAF Watchfield
RAF Watchfield
Location in Oxfordshire
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
00/00 0 0 Concrete
00/00 0 0 Concrete
00/00 0 0 Concrete

RAF Watchfield is a former Royal Air Force station which was located 7.2 miles (11.6 km) north east of Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, England.

The airfield opened in 1940 using grass runways and operated until 1950[1] or 1972.[2]

Based units[edit]

The airfield was used by a large amount of units like No 4 Air Observer & Navigation School (which came from RAF Ansty) between 20 July 1940 and 30 August 1941 flying the Tiger Moth. No 11 Air Observer & Navigation School also joined on 20 July 1940 but left slightly earlier on 19 July 1941 moving to another airfield.[1]

A small group of maintenance units used the airfield for temporary use like No 5 Maintenance Unit and a Sub-site of No 7 Maintenance Unit between September and November 1940. No 50 Group Pool were also present during 1940.[1]

No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School from RAF Hamble were present for a short time arriving 20 July 1940.[3]

Beam approach[edit]

RAF Watchfield was used as one of the first airfields which taught Blind/Beam Approach which meant that when no other aircraft were flying the in country due to the weather, aircraft from Watchfield flew constantly teaching pilots how to land in dangerous conditions. The first unit to use the station for this purpose was the Blind Approach School between 28 September 1940 and 1941 which turned into No. 1 Blind Approach School between 1941 and 31 October 1941 which then turned into No. 1 Beam Approach School which operated between 31 October 1941 and 31 December 1946.[1]

Smaller beam approach units also used the airfield like Blind Approach Calibration Flt between 12 July and October 1941 before turning into Beam Approach Calibration Flt which operated between October 1941 and 3 July 1942 and then No. 1 Beam Approach School which helped to create a Beam Approach Technical Training School which operated between October 1942 and 4 December 1943 and the Beam Approach Development Unit which operated between 4 October 1942 and 12 April 1943.[1]

Other units[edit]

Air traffic control[edit]

Watchfield was also involved in Air Traffic Control as the School of Air Traffic Control used Watchfield between 1 November 1946 and 10 February 1950 before moving to RAF Shawbury.[4]

Current use[edit]

The airfield is currently used for a wind farm called Westmill Wind Farm which is owned by Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "RAF Watchfield". Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "RAF Watchfield". Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "HAMBLE'S AIRFIELDS". HAMBLE LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "RAF Shawbury". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 

External links[edit]