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|Near Cosford, Shropshire in England|
Shown within Shropshire
|Type||Royal Air Force station|
|Owner||Ministry of Defence|
|Operator||Royal Air Force|
|Access to RAF Museum only|
RAF Museum – Cosford
|Elevation||83 metres (272 ft) AMSL|
Use of the station
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 the Second World War 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, located around a banked indoor running track, became well known nationally through televised annual indoor championships that featured top athletes from all over the world.
Schools currently stationed there include: No. 1 School of Technical Training, No. 1 Radio School RAF, 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 situated there, along with No 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.
- 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
- The Band of the Royal Corps of Signals
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 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.
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 was anticipated that all technical training would move from Cosford to Metrix's main campus to be built on the RAF St Athan site over a 5-year period from 2008. This in turn was 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 were yet to be made about their future location.
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 proposed to establish a Learning Centre and Design facility at the Cosford site.
In December 2012 the Government announced training facilities from RAF Cosford would be moved by end of 2015 to the site of the former RAF Station at Lyneham as part of the projected tri-service Defence College of Technical Training, in common with Army and Royal Navy training facilities that would also be consolidated on the site. However, on 15 September 2015, the Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon announced in Parliament by written statement that the Lyneham site would only be used by the army and that Cosford would not be closed and remain as a separate RAF training establishment which would be given extra work, with a fourth training school (No 4 School of Technical Training) moving to Cosford from MoD St Athan in south Wales. The announcement was described in local media as "a Government U-turn".
In popular culture
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 in the style of an Airfix kit with the help of students from the Thomas Telford school and Air Cadets from the ATC.
RAF Cosford Air Show
RAF Cosford also holds a popular airshow every year in June, which is held traditionally on the second Sunday of the month. The show usually has attendance figures over 50,000 and is the RAF's only remaining official air show. The flying displays usually consists of various UK military display aircraft, civilian display teams and historic aircraft. Alongside the airshow, there is a fun fair, craft fair, military vehicles and displays showcasing the work of RAF Cosford.
- RAF Cosford
- RAF Cosford History
- Government News Network – Wednesday 17 January 2007 13:22
- "RAF Cosford future is safe after U-turn". Shropshire Star. 15 September 2015. p. 1.
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