RAF Halton

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RAF Halton
Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Near Halton, Buckinghamshire in England
Halton.png
Teach Learn Apply
EGWN is located in Buckinghamshire
EGWN
EGWN
Shown within Buckinghamshire
Coordinates 51°47′30″N 000°44′10″W / 51.79167°N 0.73611°W / 51.79167; -0.73611Coordinates: 51°47′30″N 000°44′10″W / 51.79167°N 0.73611°W / 51.79167; -0.73611
Type Royal Air Force station
Site information
Owner Ministry of Defence
Operator Royal Air Force
Website www.raf.mod.uk/rafhalton/
Site history
Built 1913 (1913)
In use 1913–present
Garrison information
Occupants Recruit Training Squadron
Specialist Training School
Defence Media Operations Centre
Defence College of Logistics and Personnel Administration
Training Analysis Centre
Defence Centre of Training Support
7644 (VR) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force
Joint Service Gliding Centre
613 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
Headquarters Hertfordshire & Buckinghamshire Wing Air Training Corps.
Airfield information
Identifiers ICAO: EGWN
Elevation 104 metres (341 ft) AMSL
Runways
Direction Length and surface
02/20 1,190 metres (3,904 ft) Grass
08/26 840 metres (2,756 ft) Grass
Halton Radio – 130.425 (MHz)

Royal Air Force Halton or more simply RAF Halton is one of the largest Royal Air Force stations in the United Kingdom, located near the village of Halton near Wendover, Buckinghamshire.

HRH the Duchess of Cornwall is the Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Halton.

History[edit]

The first recorded military aviation at Halton took place in 1913 when the then owner of the Halton estate, Alfred de Rothschild invited No 3 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps to conduct manoeuvres on his land. Following a gentleman's agreement between Rothschild and Lord Kitchener, the estate was used by the British Army throughout the First World War. In 1916 the Royal Flying Corps moved its air mechanics school from Farnborough, Hampshire to Halton, and in 1917, the school was permanently accommodated in workshops built by German PoWs.

The whole estate was purchased by the British Government for the nascent Royal Air Force at the end of the First World War for £112,000.[1]

In 1919 Lord Trenchard established the No. 1 School of Technical Training at RAF Halton for RAF aircraft apprentices, which remained at the station until it moved to RAF Cosford in the early 1990s. Also in 1919, Halton House – a French-style mansion built for Lionel de Rothschild – was re-opened as the station's Officers' Mess. Halton House continues to be used as the station's Officers' Mess.

Princess Mary's RAF Hospital Halton was opened in 1927 as a large military hospital, although this was closed in 1995 due to the Government defence cuts. The buildings remained derelict until 2007–08 when they were demolished for new housing in a development called Princess Mary Gate.

During the Second World War RAF Halton continued its training role. Additionally No 112 Squadron and No 402 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force were located at Halton for part of the war.

In July 1952 the uncrowned Queen Elizabeth II performed one of her first duties as Sovereign by presenting a colour to Number 1 School of Technical Training (No. 1 S of TT); the first to be awarded to an apprentice school, and the first ever to be presented to an 'other rank' when Sergeant Apprentice Hines, of the 63rd Entry, received the colour from Her Majesty.

When No. 1 School of Technical Training moved to RAF Cosford in 1993, they took over guardianship of the Queen's Colour and on 31 October 1997, Her Majesty presented RAF Halton with its second colour. RAF Halton was the only station to be granted the dignity of two Queen's colours.

From 1917–1963, a spur railway line ran from Wendover to Halton to supply coal and goods to the station.

The history of the RAF station and specifically apprenticeship training over the years is preserved by the Trenchard Museum located at RAF Halton, and managed by the RAF Halton Apprentices Association.[2] In 2010 a major project by members of the station re-excavated the training trenches used during the First World War and made them available as an educational exhibit.

In 1985 a large portion of the pre war NCO married quarter housing estate at RAF Halton was sold to The Welbeck Estate Group. Following extensive refurbishment the houses were sold on the open market.[citation needed]

On the 7th November 2016 in a speech to the House of Commons made by the Defence Secretary it was announced that the RAF Halton Airfield would cease to be part of the MOD estate and is scheduled to be disposed of by 2022. [3]

Following the announcement made by the Defence Secretary on the 7th November regarding the disposal of the RAF Halton Airfield by 2022 a further announcement was made on the 9th December in a letter from the Defence Secretary to MP David Liddington confirming the MOD plan to close the entire RAF Halton estate in the following phases;

The run down is planned to occur in three phases before disposal of the site as an RAF Station.

  • Phase 1 - Airfield disposal.
  • Phase 2 - Relocation of School of Recruit Training and Airmans' Command School to RAF College Cranwell.
  • Phase 3 - Relocation / rationalisation of Lodger Units.

The Station Commander of RAF Halton in partnership with the Ministry of Defence released the following statement on the 12th December 2016 in regards to the planned closure;

The MOD can confirm that we are in consultation with Aylesbury Vale District Council regarding our intent to dispose of the whole of the RAF Halton site.

This is in line with the ‘Better Defence Estate’ Strategy, which seeks to optimise the Defence footprint, and contribute to the Governments Housing target.’

Current role[edit]

RAF Halton is the RAF's centre for recruit training and airmen's development training, and also hosts a number of other independent units. Units based at Halton currently include:

  • Recruit Training Squadron – initial training for all non-commissioned entrants to the RAF (Including the integration of the RAF Regiment entrants as of the 2nd of April 2016 as part of a new mission statement).
  • Airmen's Command Squadron – leadership and management training for non-commissioned officers.
  • Specialist Training School – Health and Safety, Environmental Protection, Quality Management and Management and Procedural Skills Training.
  • Joint Information Activities Group (JIAG), merger of Defence Media Operations Centre (DMOC) and the Joint Information Operations Training and Advisory Team (JIOTAT)[4]
  • Joint Media Operations Centre[5] media and communications training and a deployable joint media operations teams, part of the JIAG
  • Supply & Movements Training Wing (part of the Defence College of Logistics and Personnel Administration)[6] – trains RAF personnel in all aspects of supply, movements and logistic management. It also trains Royal Navy and British Army personnel in movements disciplines.
  • Training Analysis Centre (part of No 22 (Training) Group) – carries out training needs analysis, and proposes appropriate training strategies for RAF ground trades and branches (with the exception of medical, musician and fire-fighter).
  • Defence Centre of Training Support[7] – training military instructors and training managers, e-learning support services to the MoD, computer-based training production.
  • No 7644 (VR) Squadron, RAuxAF[8] – a specialist media operations squadron.
  • Joint Service Gliding Centre – adventurous training[9] in the form of gliding for members of the Armed Forces.
  • No 613 Volunteer Gliding Squadron – gliding activities for the Air Cadet Organisation.[10]
  • Headquarters Hertfordshire & Buckinghamshire Wing Air Training Corps.[11]

The camp also includes a grass airfield, used mainly by gliders, light aircraft, microlights and the RAF hot air balloon.[12] The airfield is also the home of the Royal Air Force Gliding and Soaring Association[13] Chilterns Gliding Centre, the Halton Aeroplane Club[14] and the RAF Halton Microlight Club.[15]

Logistics services to RAF Halton are provided by a multi-activity contract currently operated to Serco (2017).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]