Hullavington Airfield

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Hullavington Airfield
Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
2012 - Hangar at the former RAF Hullavington (geograph 3125250).jpg
Hangar at the former RAF Hullavington in 2012
Summary
Airport type Military
Owner Ministry of Defence
Operator Royal Air Force
Location Hullavington, Wiltshire
Built 1937
In use 1937-2016
Elevation AMSL 201 ft / 104 m
Coordinates 51°31′30″N 002°08′00″W / 51.52500°N 2.13333°W / 51.52500; -2.13333Coordinates: 51°31′30″N 002°08′00″W / 51.52500°N 2.13333°W / 51.52500; -2.13333
Map
EGDV is located in Wiltshire
EGDV
EGDV
Location in Wiltshire
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
06/14 3,460 1,070 Asphalt
06/15 3,490 1,250 Asphalt

Hullavington Airfield (IATA: ICAO: EGDV) is an airfield in Hullavington, near Chippenham, Wiltshire, England. The site is the former RAF Hullavington [1] a Royal Air Force station.

The airfield is due to formally close in the coming years.[2] As of 1 September 2016, the airfield was closed to flying.

History[edit]

The site was opened on 14 June 1937[3] with No 9 Flying Training School arriving from RAF Thornaby on 10 July in the same year.[4] Leonard Cheshire V.C. trained here in 1939.[5] With the beginning of the Second World War top officers from allied nations came to Hullavington to share ideas and ways of using aircraft. Ten Blenheims from No 114 Squadron arrived at the base on 1 September 1939,[3] and were later joined by seven from No 139 Squadron.[4] This was a safety move as a sustained attack was expected at the East Anglian bomber bases on the announcement of war being declared. As this didn't happen, all the Blenheims had departed Hullavington by 16 September 1939.[4] An effective Met. Office was also stationed at Hullavington. An aircraft which left every day at dawn flew at various heights in order to send data back for the Met. Office to assess the weather.[6]

In 1970, RAF Hullavington hosted the World Aerobatic Championships.[7]

In 1992, the entire airfield was designated as a conservation area.[8] English Heritage (now Historic England) later stated that "It embodies, to a unique degree, the improved architectural quality associated with the post-1934 expansion of the RAF. Most of the original buildings have survived and form a particularly coherent and well-ordered ensemble."[9]

In 1993, one Senior Aircraftman was convicted of arson and sent to jail for 5 years.[10] His accomplice received a fine of £1000. The hangar was the location of all the parachutes for the armed services, and the damage and loss of stock affected morale at the base.[11]

Units posted to the station[edit]

The station has performed many roles, summarised with dates below.

Royal Air Force[edit]

Royal Air Force Regiment[edit]

Air Transport Auxiliary[edit]

  • No. 8 Ferry Pilot Pool between November 1940 and March 1941.[citation needed]
  • No. 1427 (Ferry Training) Flight between 18 May and 5 September 1942.[citation needed]

Defence Codification Data Centre[edit]

The Defence Codification Data Centre (DCDC) lodged in a purpose-built computer suite at RAF Hullavington from its establishment in 1966 until its dispersal to Glasgow in 1986, where it merged with its parent body, the Defence Codification Authority.[citation needed]

Current usage[edit]

Today the barracks of the site (east of the airfield) is the home of 9 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps[25] and was renamed in 2003 to Buckley Barracks after the VC winner John Buckley.[26]

The airfield, west of the barracks, is still referred to as Hullavington Airfield after its RAF origins.[25] In 1992 and 1993 two Volunteer Gliding Schools moved in,[27] operating the Viking, a modified version of the civilian Grob 103.[28] During 2013, 621 VGS and 625 VGS merged to form 621 VGS.[27] As of 1 September 2016, it was announced by 621 VGS Historical Flight that there would be no further flying from Hullavington.[29]

Hangar 88 is currently used by Karting Hullavington.[30]

Future[edit]

In early 2016, the UK Government announced that the site was one of twelve that will be sold as part of the strategy for the MoD estate, although no date for the sale was given.[2] In November 2016, the MoD gave an estimated disposal date of 2029.[31]

In March 2017, Dyson, a company designing and manufacturing electrical goods which has headquarters nearby at Malmesbury, submitted plans to convert two 1940s hangars into a research and development centre.[32][33]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ UKGA about EGDV
  2. ^ a b "Defence Minister Mark Lancaster announces release of MOD sites for development". MoD. Retrieved 18 January 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Philpott 2008, p. 273.
  4. ^ a b c Ashworth 1982, p. 104.
  5. ^ "Obituary: Lord Cheshire VC", 1 August 1992, The Independent, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-lord-cheshire-vc-1537228.html
  6. ^ 'Personal Memories of Two World Wars', Raymond Welcomme (January 1987)
  7. ^ "1970". German Aerobatics. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  8. ^ "Conservation Area description: Hullavington Airbase" (PDF). Wiltshire Council. October 2005. Retrieved 25 April 2017. 
  9. ^ "Historic Military Aviation Sites: Conservation Guidance" (PDF). Historic England. 2003. Retrieved 25 April 2017. 
  10. ^ "Airman jailed for pounds 19m fire [sic]". The Independent. 7 January 1993. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  11. ^ "Corporal 'laughed as hangar burned'". The Independent. 7 January 1993. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  12. ^ a b c "RAF Hullavington airfield". Control Towers. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  13. ^ Lake 1999, p. 135.
  14. ^ a b c d e f "Hullavington". Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  15. ^ Lake 1999, p. 120.
  16. ^ Lake 1999, p. 113.
  17. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 57.
  18. ^ Lake 1999, p. 116.
  19. ^ "625 Volunteer Gliding Squadron at Hullavington Airfield « 625 VGS 625 VGS". www.625vgs.org.uk. Retrieved 2016-09-01. 
  20. ^ a b Lake 1999, p. 64.
  21. ^ Lake 1999, p. 19.
  22. ^ Ashworth 1982, p. 105.
  23. ^ "On a wing and a prayer". Wiltshire Life. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  24. ^ "15 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment". RAF Regiment. Royal Air Force. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  25. ^ a b "Home". 621 Volunteer Gliding Squadron. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  26. ^ "Barracks to salute hero". This is Wiltshire. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  27. ^ a b "The History of Hullavington Airfield". 621 Volunteer Gliding Squadron. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  28. ^ "Aircraft at 621VGS". 621 Volunteer Gliding Squadron. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  29. ^ "621 VGS Historic Flight - Timeline | Facebook". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2016-09-01. 
  30. ^ "Intro". Karting Nation. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 
  31. ^ "A Better Defence Estate" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. November 2016. p. 24. Retrieved 9 November 2016. 
  32. ^ "Dyson buys Hullavington airfield for new tech centre". BBC News: Wiltshire. 28 February 2017. 
  33. ^ "Planning application 17/02344/FUL". Wiltshire Council. 13 March 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2017. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Ashworth, Christopher (1982). Action Stations 5; Military Airfields of the South-West. Cambridge: Patrick Stephens. ISBN 0-85059-510-X. 
  • Jefford MBE, Wg Cdr C G (1988). RAF Squadrons. A comprehensive record of the movement and equipment of all RAF squadrons and their antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury: Airlife. ISBN 1-85310-053-6. 
  • Lake, A (1999). Flying units of the RAF. Shrewsbury: Airlife. ISBN 1-84037-086-6. 
  • Philpott, Wing Commander (Ret'd) Ian M (2008). The Royal Air Force 1930 to 1939 an encyclopedia of the inter-war years, Volume II - Rearmament. Barnsley: Pen & Sword. ISBN 1-84415-154-9. 

External links[edit]