RAF Clifton

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RAF Clifton

RAF York

RAF Rawcliffe

Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Airport typeMilitary
OwnerMinistry of Defence
OperatorRoyal Air Force (RAF)
LocationClifton Without, North Yorkshire
In use1936-1939 Civilian Use
1939-1946 RAF use
1946-1955 Civilian Use
Elevation AMSL46 ft / 14 m
Coordinates53°58′50″N 001°06′28″W / 53.98056°N 1.10778°W / 53.98056; -1.10778Coordinates: 53°58′50″N 001°06′28″W / 53.98056°N 1.10778°W / 53.98056; -1.10778
RAF Clifton is located in North Yorkshire
RAF Clifton
RAF Clifton
Location in North Yorkshire
Direction Length Surface
ft m
00/00 0 0 Asphalt
00/00 0 0 Asphalt
00/00 0 0 Asphalt

Royal Air Force Station Clifton or RAF Clifton is a former Royal Air Force station located 1.5 miles (2.4 km) north west of York city centre and 2.6 miles (4.2 km) south west of Haxby, North Yorkshire, England.

The airfield was opened in 1936 as a civilian airport but by 1939 the station was taken by the Royal Air Force (RAF) for use in the Second World War and was returned in 1946 when the airport reopened. However, in 1955 the airfield was closed for good. The airfield during wartime was also known as RAF York and RAF Rawcliffe.

Station history[edit]

The airfield was originally York Municipal Aerodrome which opened in 1936 after an air circus had used the site previously but on 1 September 1939 the site was requisitioned by the RAF for Bomber Command.[1]

The first squadron to use the airfield was No. 613 Squadron RAF between 7 September 1940 and 8 July 1941 as a detachment while the main squadron were at RAF Firbeck.[2] The airfield was empty until No. 4 Squadron RAF arrived on 27 August 1940 originally with the Westland Lysander III/IIIA adding the Tomahawk IIA in April 1942 and the North American P-51 Mustang I in May 1943.[3]

On 27 June 1942 No. 169 Squadron RAF arrived with the Mustang I as a detachment from RAF Doncaster. The squadron stayed until 12 October 1942.[4]

During its lifetime Clifton was used by RAF Bomber Command, RAF Army Cooperation Command, Fleet Air Arm, RAF Fighter Command and RAF Maintenance Command.[8]

Current use[edit]

Memorial plaque to the former aerodrome

The airfield site now forms a housing estate,[7] industrial estate, shopping centre[9] and Local Nature Reserve (Clifton Backies).[10]

However, there are two stubs of the original runways still visible north of the A1237 near the roundabout leading to the shopping centre. There is also a stub of another runway and taxiway visible to the south of the A1237 just west of Wigginton Road.[11]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "RAF Clifton Airfield". Control Towers. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  2. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 100.
  3. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 24.
  4. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 64.
  5. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 74.
  6. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 103.
  7. ^ a b "York (Clifton) (Rawcliffe)". Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  8. ^ "Clifton Airfield". Clifton (Without) Parish Council. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  9. ^ Otter, Patrick (1999). Yorkshire airfields in the Second World War (4 ed.). Newbury, Berkshire: Countryside Books. p. 296. ISBN 1-85306-542-0.
  10. ^ "Park rangers who put nature in the city". York Press. 27 August 2010. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Clifton". www.forgottenairfields.com. Retrieved 27 November 2017.


  • 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]