RAF Fairwood Common
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|RAF Fairwood Common|
|Gower Peninsula, Swansea in Wales|
Shown within Swansea
|Type||Royal Air Force station|
|Operator||Royal Air Force|
|Built||15 June 1941|
|Elevation||83 metres (272 ft) AMSL|
Royal Air Force Fairwood Common or more simply RAF Fairwood Common (IATA: EGFH, ICAO: SWS) is a former Royal Air Force station located at Fairwood Common on the Gower Peninsula to the west of Swansea. It is now the location of Swansea Airport.
RAF Fairwood Common was built on what was originally common land during the Second World War. The aerodrome was declared operational on 15 June 1941 after taking nearly a year to develop. Built as a day and night fighter station elements of the first day fighter squadron arrived on 14 June 1941 (79 Squadron equipped with Hawker Hurricane Mk.II aircraft). On 17 June 1941 the first night fighter squadron arrived (a flight of 600 Squadron equipped with Bristol Beaufighter Mk.II aircraft) and by the end of June 1941 a second Hurricane equipped day fighter squadron arrived (317 Squadron). The aerodrome became a 10 Group RAF Fighter Command Sector Station within a few months of opening, taking on the responsibility of the air defence for the whole of South and West Wales and the protection of convoys in the Bristol and St George's Channels.
On 23 January 1942, No. 615 Squadron (County of Surrey Squadron) Auxiliary Air Force, arrived from RAF Angle, equipped with Hawker Hurricane fighters, operating there until 17 March when the squadron moved by train to Liverpool Docks, boarding the Johan van Oldenbarnevelt. On 20 March the ship moved to the Firth of Clyde and then, filled with Army and RAF personnel, on 23 March it sailed in convoy to India.
The aerodrome fulfilled a variety of military roles during the Second World War, following which it was decommissioned by the RAF in 1949. During the period 15 June 1941 to 31 March 1947 over 66 squadrons/flights operated from the aerodrome.
Renamed Fairwood Common, the aerodrome became the home of Swansea and District Flying Club and School and they hosted a number of air shows, air races and motor sports events from 1950 to 1955. In 1957 the County Borough of Swansea took over the aerodrome and on 1 June 1957 Swansea Airport was officially opened by Group Captain Douglas R S Bader, CBE, DSO and Bar, DFC and Bar. The airport was developed for commercial usage by Cambrian Airways Ltd on behalf of the local council.
- Jones, I (2007). Airfields and Landing Grounds of Wales: West. ISBN 978-0-7524-4418-5.
- Hunt, L (1972). Twenty-one Squadrons: History of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, 1925–57. Garnstone Press. ISBN 978-0-85511-110-6.
- Arthur, N (1988). Swansea at War - A Pictorial Account 1939–1945. ISBN 0-948946-14-8.
- Arthur, N (1988). Swansea since 1900 - Ninety Years of Photographs. ISBN 0-948946-20-2.
- Delve, K (2007). The Military Airfields of Britain - Wales and the West Midlands. ISBN 978-1-86126-917-1.
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