Olympic marathon runners at Imjin Barracks
Location within Gloucestershire
|Owner||Ministry of Defence|
|Occupants||Allied Rapid Reaction Corps|
The Barracks were named after the Battle of the Imjin River because of the connection with the Gloucestershire Regiment which formed part of the United Nations contingent in the Korean War, and was thought to be an appropriate name, for ARRC which is the HQ of a multinational force.
RAF Innsworth was a non flying Royal Air Force station, on the north side of the city of Gloucester, located within the parish of Innsworth. For the last 13 years of its life it was the headquarters of Personnel and Training Command but following the collocation of the two remaining RAF Headquarters, at RAF High Wycombe in 2006, RAF Innsworth closed in March 2008.
The station opened in 1940, the first unit based there being No 7 School of Technical Training who trained engine and airframe fitters and mechanics. Over 2000 officers and men were based at Innsworth by the time training began in earnest in 1941, this being delayed due to the arrival of 1500 RAF evacuees from Dunkirk.
In December 1941, No 2 WAAF Depot was opened at Innsworth and from then on the Station became increasingly associated with the Women’s branch of the service. By the end of 1941 the strength of the Station had risen to well over 4000 including trainees. Eventually it was decided to reserve the Station almost exclusively for WAAF training, including barrage balloon training amongst other vital roles.
By the end of the war nearly 5000 people were living on the Station, three quarters of them WAAF. It retained its training role, with the opening of No. 2 RAF School of Cookery in 1948. It was also the home to 33 RAF Regt Wing which deployed squadrons to emergencies in Cyprus and Northern Ireland. The station housed the Education Book Depot, which would have come in handy with both Nos. 7 & 13 Schools of Recruit Training. Innsworth was also the headquarters of No.4 Police District, and maintained a police presence up until very recently, when it was the HQ of PSS (WR).
In 1951 the Headquarters of the RAF Record Office which had been based nearby in Gloucester and Barnwood, moved to the station and gained Group status. Three years later in 1954 No. 5 Personnel Despatch Unit arrived, charged with the administration and processing of personnel selected for overseas service.
Just after the war ended the RAF Base Accounts Office moved from York to Gloucester and grew into the Central Pay Office and became part of the RAF Personnel and Training Command, which formed in 1994, based at Innsworth. Many other changes have taken place at Innsworth over recent years; these include the formation of Personnel Management Agency, contractorisation of the Station Support Services and the transfer of certain administrative functions (RAF pay and pensions) to the tri Service, Armed Forces Personnel Administration Agency (AFPAA), all in 1997. In March / April 2005 the MOD Medals Office and Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) were established at Innsworth under AFPAA management.
The Station has always maintained a close association with the city of Gloucester, and on 7 April 1960, received the Honour of the Freedom of the City. The station has subsequently also received the freedoms of the Borough of Tewkesbury and the Borough of Cheltenham.
In 2005 it was announced that HQ Personnel and Training Command was to co-locate with HQ RAF Strike Command at RAF High Wycombe. The new collocated HQ's were subsequently merged to form Air Command and the decision was taken to close RAF Innsworth. The drawdown took place over the next three years with elements of the Personnel Management Agency moved to High Wycombe and RAF Cranwell and RAF Innsworth finally closed on 31 March 2008.
The Innsworth site is now managed by the Army and has been renamed Imjin Barracks. Whilst the old Command HQ and most other buildings are now empty and being looked after under a care and maintenance programme, the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (formed by a merger of the Armed Forces Personnel Administration Agency and the Veterans Agency, in April 2007) including the MoD Medal Office and Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre continues to operate from the site and in 2010 the base became home to the NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) which relocated to Innsworth from the Rheindahlen Military Complex in Germany.
- "The Korean War was a United Nations campaign and it is significant that nine of our partners in the ARRC fought alongside the British under the UN flag. It is also a name that generates tremendous and understandable local pride as the 1st Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment won a Battle Honour for their part at the battle, and their Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel James Carne, was awarded the Victoria Cross and the US Army's Distinguished Service Cross for his actions, and Lieutenant Philip Curtis was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross."(Farewell Innsworth, welcome Imjin, An Estate and Environment news article, 24 November 2008).
- "The former RAF Innsworth site in Gloucestershire was officially renamed Imjin Barracks at a special ceremony on Friday 21 November 2008". It was formerly known as RAF Innsworth.(Farewell Innsworth, welcome Imjin, An Estate and Environment news article, 24 November 2008).
- "The fanfare of ownership and naming has subsided and the real business of making a home for ARRC begins in a material way" (Work begins at Imjin barracks, This is Glostershire, February 14, 2009)
- "In 2010, Imjin Barracks in Gloucester (formerly RAF Innsworth) will become home to the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) - a deployable NATO HQ relocating from Germany" (Defence in the South West, MOD, retrieved 2009-12-06)