RAF Henlow

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RAF Henlow
Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg
Near Henlow, Bedfordshire in England
RAF Henlow station crest.jpg
EGWE is located in Bedfordshire
Shown within Bedfordshire
Coordinates 52°00′56″N 000°18′12″W / 52.01556°N 0.30333°W / 52.01556; -0.30333Coordinates: 52°00′56″N 000°18′12″W / 52.01556°N 0.30333°W / 52.01556; -0.30333
Type Royal Air Force station
Site information
Owner Ministry of Defence
Operator Royal Air Force
Site history
Built 1917 (1917)/8
In use 1918-Present
Airfield information
Identifiers ICAO: EGWE
Elevation 47 metres (154 ft) AMSL
Direction Length and surface
02/20 1,179 metres (3,868 ft) Grass
09L/27R 711 metres (2,333 ft) Grass
09R/27L 1,049 metres (3,442 ft) Grass
13/31 948 metres (3,110 ft) Grass
Henlow Radio - 121.100 (Mhz)

RAF Henlow is a Royal Air Force station in Bedfordshire, England, equidistant from Bedford, Luton and Stevenage. It houses the RAF Centre of Aviation Medicine, the Joint Arms Control Implementation Group (JACIG), the Signals Museum and 616 Volunteer Gliding Squadron.


Henlow was chosen as a military aircraft repair depot in 1917 and was built by MacAlpine during 1917 and 1918. 4 Belfast Hangars were built and are now listed buildings. An additional hangar was added to the inventory in the 1930s and this too is now listed. Originally a repair depot for aircraft from the Western Front, the Station officially opened on 18 May 1918 when Lt Col Robert Francis Stapleton-Cotton arrived with a party of 40 airmen from Farnborough. The parachute testing unit moved The Officers Engineering School moved there in 1927. During the Second World War Henlow was used to assemble the Hawker Hurricanes which had been built at the Hurricane factory operated by Canadian Car and Foundry in Fort William, Ontario, Canada, under the leadership of Elsie MacGill. After test flying in Fort William, they were disassembled and sent to Henlow in shipping containers for reassembly there. Over 1,400 Hurricanes (about 10% of the total) were built by Canadian Car and Foundry. Henlow was also used as a repair base. Hurricane fighters were dismantled there to be shipped to Malta as well. After the war, Henlow became the RAF Signals Engineering Establishment, but was reduced to a Radio Engineering Unit in 1980.

A major RAF technical training college was also formed at Henlow after the Second World War and this was amalgamated with RAF College Cranwell in 1965. The RAF Officer Cadet Training Unit then moved in, but this also moved to Cranwell in 1980. In 1983, the Land Registry took over part of the site. The missile-corporation MBDA has recently test-fired CAMM missiles from a truck at Henlow.

Henlow Camp, a civilian settlement, has grown up around RAF Henlow since the station's establishment.


Today, RAF Henlow houses the Joint Arms Control Implementation Group (JACIG), elements of the RAF'S Police Wings, the RAF Centre for Aviation Medicine (RAF CAM), DE&S, 616 Volunteer Gliding Squadron which operates Vigilant T1 motor gliders. The Minden Band of The Queen's Division (British Army) are stationed at RAF Henlow. A civilian flying school also operates from the site. No 3 Tactical Provost Squadron gradually transitioned over to Royal Air Force Honington in 2015.

Administratively, RAF Henlow was part of a combined base, RAF Brampton Wyton Henlow but this has been disbanded with RAF Brampton being closed.[1]


Henlow facilities include a Medical and Dental Centre, Officers' Mess, WOs' and Sgts' Mess, Junior Ranks Club - 'Whittles', Junior Ranks Mess and Coffee Shop - 'Crystals', Welfare housing - 'Whittle's Inn', Gymnasium, Swimming pool, bowling alley, an 8 runway grass airfield and a 9 hole golf course open to the public.


RAF Henlow is also home to 2482 (Henlow) Sqn Air Training Corps.

Operational units[edit]

  • RAF Centre of Aviation Medicine
    • Joint Arms Control Implementation Group
    • No 3 Tactical Police Wg and various elements of the RAF Police's specialist capabilities
    • 3 (RAuxAF) Sqn, RAF Police Reserve Squadron
    • Air Defence and Air Traffic Systems Delivery Team (DE&S)
    • Logistics Network Enabled Capability Team (DE&S)
    • Tucano and Hawk Integrated Project Team (DE&S)
    • Information Systems Support Team (Joint Force Command)
    • The Band of The Queen's Division - A Band of the Corps of Army Music

The Signals Museum[edit]

The Signals Museum is focused on the development of electronic communications by the RAF since World War I. Exhibits include radio and electronic equipment and memorabilia, a typical RAF Y Station from World War II, and the training of Aircraft Apprentices and boy entrants for Signals and Communications trades.

The museum is open on Tuesdays and also by appointment. Because of the Museum's location on a working air base, all visitors must present a photo ID for entry.

The Museum is also open on the first Saturday of each month (except in January). Opening times are 10.00 to 16.00 (10 am to 4 pm). No booking is needed on these days, but photo ID has to be presented at the Main Guard Room for Temporary Passes to be issued.


  1. ^ "RAF Wyton". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 9 May 2012. 

External links[edit]