RAF Linton-on-Ouse

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RAF Linton-on-Ouse
Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire in England
The Control Tower, R.A.F, Linton on Ouse - geograph.org.uk - 547880.jpg
The old air traffic control tower at RAF Linton-on-Ouse
A Flumine Impugnamus
(Latin for 'From the [mighty] river we strike')[1]
RAF Linton-on-Ouse is located in North Yorkshire
RAF Linton-on-Ouse
RAF Linton-on-Ouse
Shown within North Yorkshire
Coordinates54°02′56″N 001°15′10″W / 54.04889°N 1.25278°W / 54.04889; -1.25278Coordinates: 54°02′56″N 001°15′10″W / 54.04889°N 1.25278°W / 54.04889; -1.25278
Grid referenceSE490617[2]
TypeRoyal Air Force station
Area276 hectares (680 acres)[3]
Site information
OwnerMinistry of Defence
OperatorRoyal Air Force
1937-42 & 1945-2020
Royal Canadian Air Force
Controlled byNo. 6 Group RCAF
RAF Bomber Command
* No. 4 Group RAF
RAF Fighter Command 1945-57
RAF Flying Training Command 1957-68
RAF Training Command 1968-77
* No. 23 Group RAF
Site history
Built1936 (1936)–1937
In useMay 1937–2020 (2020)
Battles/warsCold War
Airfield information
IdentifiersIATA: HRT, ICAO: EGXU, WMO: 03266
Elevation16.2 metres (53 ft) AMSL
Direction Length and surface
03/21 1,834 metres (6,017 ft) asphalt
10/28 1,338 metres (4,390 ft) asphalt
Source: RAF Linton-on-Ouse Defence Aerodrome Manual[4]

RAF Linton-on-Ouse (IATA: HRT, ICAO: EGXU) is a former Royal Air Force (RAF) station at Linton-on-Ouse in North Yorkshire, England, 10 miles (16 km) north-west of York. It had satellite stations at RAF Topcliffe and Dishforth Airfield (British Army).

The station opened in 1937. With the transfer of pilot training to RAF Valley on Anglesey in 2019, the station closed in 2020. In February 2021, the MOD confirmed that no alternative military use had been identified for the site and that it would therefore be sold.


RAF Linton-on-Ouse opened on 13 May 1937 as a bomber airfield and was the home of No. 4 Group RAF until 1940.[5] The base's first commander was Wing Commander A. D. Pryor.[6]

When the Second World War began, bombers were launched from Linton to drop propaganda leaflets over Germany[5] and the base was eventually used to launch bombing raids on Norway, The Netherlands, Germany, and Italy.[5] Linton was one of 11 stations allocated to No. 6 Group, Royal Canadian Air Force during the war.[7]

In May 1941 the station was bombed by the Luftwaffe resulting in the death of 13 airmen including the station commander, Group Captain Garroway. A York Press article refers to the 'mystery' of how Garroway was killed – the station's record books state he was directing firefighting when he met his death, not taking shelter. His son, who was also in the RAF, was later killed in action.[8][9][10]

At the end of the war the station was involved with transporting passengers and freight back to the UK.[11] After which it became a Fighter Command station operating the Gloster Meteor, Canadair Sabre and Hawker Hunter until it was closed and put under care and maintenance in 1957.[11]

On 9 September 1957,[11] the base was reopened as the home of No. 1 Flying Training School (FTS) and was responsible for training pilots for both the RAF and the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm.[11]

In October 1975 Headquarters No. 23 Group RAF disbanded at the station.[12]

In 1981 the BBC filmed episode 5 'Chopped' of the Fighter Pilot series at the base. Chief Flying instructor at the time was Squadron Leader John David Lunt (Later Group Captain).[13]

In 1985, engineering and supply services were contracted out to private firms. The contract for this is currently held by Babcock International.[14][15]

In 1999 the entire NCO married quarter site at Linton Woods were purchased by The Welbeck Estate Group and underwent a major upgrade.[16]

A Short Tucano T1 at RAF Linton-on-Ouse.

No. 72(R) Squadron provided Basic Fast Jet Training (BFJT) at Linton-on-Ouse on the Short Tucano T1 before the Squadron's move to RAF Valley in November 2019.[17]

The Yorkshire Universities Air Squadron relocated to RAF Linton-on-Ouse from RAF Church Fenton in 2014. YUAS operated the Grob Tutor T1 aircraft.[18]

The station also housed a memorial room (limited public opening) which recounts the history of the base and the units which have been associated with it.[19][20]

A Grob Tutor T1 at RAF Linton-on-Ouse

Drawdown and closure[edit]

In October 2014, it was confirmed by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) that basic fast-jet training would move from Linton-on-Ouse to RAF Valley in Anglesey in 2019. The move was part of the UK Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) which saw the Beechcraft Texan T1 replace the Tucano T1 in the basic fast-jet training role.[21] At that time, the MOD did not confirm what future role Linton-on-Ouse would have, but in July 2018, it was stated that the RAF would vacate the base by 2020 and it would be disposed of completely.[22][23] However, in March 2019, the MOD indicated it was considering options for other defence uses for the site, before a final decision was made.[24]

Flying training ceased in October 2019, when the final student pilots graduated and training fully relocated to Valley.[25][26] The final flying unit to depart was the Yorkshire Universities Air Squadron, which relocated to RAF Leeming on 1 December 2020.[27] The MOD notified the Civil Aviation Authority that the aerodrome would close on 18 December 2020.[28] In February 2021, the MOD confirmed that no alternative military use had been identified for the site and that it would therefore be made available for sale by the end of 2023.[29]

In August 2021, the station was used to support COVID-19 countermeasures for personnel returning from Afghanistan on Operation Pitting.[30]

Proposed processing centre for asylum seekers[edit]

In April 2022, the government announced its intention to convert the camp into a reception, accommodation and processing centre for asylum seekers, as a way of defraying the £4.7 million per day cost of hotels being used.[31] The plan was met by resistance from local residents who claim that asylum seekers will outnumber existing residents.[32][33] The press has used the moniker "Guantánamo-on-Ouse" to describe the proposal, in reference to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.[33][34] However, on 9 August 2022, the government backtracked on this policy, with Defence Secretary Ben Wallace stating this plan would now not go ahead.[35]


LocationYorkshire, England

In the summers of 1960 and 1961, the perimeter track and parts of two runways were used to form the 1.7 mile, Linton-on-Ouse circuit, on what was still an operational RAF base, with the racing organised by the Northern branch of the British Racing and Sports Car Club. The 1960 meeting was held in torrential rain and Tony Hodgetts recalls blue sparks coming off his fingers as he cranked the field telephone which was used by the marshals to communicate with race control. The meeting was dominated by Jimmy Blumer in his Cooper Monaco T49. The final meeting in 1961 was marred by a fatal accident to a flag marshal. The driver of the Formula Junior car involved was a serving RAF officer and, following the inquest into the death of the marshal, the venue was no longer available. After this sad incident and a near fatality to another flag marshal at Full Sutton Circuit, Tony Hodgetts and Garth Nicholls started a campaign which resulted in flag marshals working face to face instead of back to back, a system which is still in use and is considerably safer.[36]


The following squadrons were here at some point:[37]


November 2008 incident[edit]

In early November 2008 Wing Commander Paul Gerrard, who was based at the station, was involved in an unusual mid-air rescue. Sixty-five-year-old Jim O'Neill was flying a four-seater Cessna 182 from Scotland to Essex after a family holiday, when he had a stroke which caused temporary blindness. Gerrard was on a training flight, and after being alerted to the situation, located O'Neill's aircraft and over a 45-minute period, guided O'Neill to a safe landing at Linton.[38]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pine, L. G. (1983). A Dictionary of Mottoes. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 1. ISBN 0-7100-9339-X.
  2. ^ Birtles 2012, p. 39.
  3. ^ "Defence Estates Development Plan 2009 – Annex A". GOV.UK. Ministry of Defence. 3 July 2009. p. 12. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  4. ^ "RAF Linton-on-Ouse Defence Aerodrome Manual (DAM)" (PDF). RAF Linton-on-Ouse. Military Aviation Authority. 27 June 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Halpenny, Bruce Barrymore Action Stations: Military Airfields of Yorkshire v. 4 – Page 122
  6. ^ 1938 Air Force Lists
  7. ^ Dunmore 1991, p. 4.
  8. ^ "Bombing raid mystery is solved at RAF Linton-on-Ouse". York Press. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  9. ^ "GARRAWAY Derek Peter". www.rememberthefallen.co.uk. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  10. ^ "New memorial to RAF ground staff unveiled at RAF Linton-on-Ouse". York Press. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  11. ^ a b c d Halpenny, Bruce Barrymore Action Stations: Military Airfields of Yorkshire v. 4 – Page 130
  12. ^ Barrass, M. B. (2015). "Groups 20–29". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  13. ^ "Fighter Pilot episode 5 'Chopped'". BBC. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  14. ^ "Babcock". RAF Linton-on-Ouse. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  15. ^ "Air". Babcock International. Archived from the original on 27 October 2015. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  16. ^ "Relatives of hero pilot visit building named in his honour". www.raf.mod.uk. Archived from the original on 1 February 2008. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  17. ^ "Royal Air Force". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  18. ^ "The History of Yorkshire Universities Air Squadron". UAS. Royal Air Force. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  19. ^ Delve 2006, p. 183.
  20. ^ "RAF Linton-on-Ouse Memorial Room". RAF website. 2017. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  21. ^ "RAF pilot training boost welcomed". BBC News. 25 October 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  22. ^ "Future of RAF Linton-on-Ouse airbase in doubt". York Press. 31 October 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  23. ^ Witherow, John, ed. (24 July 2018). "Red Arrows base axed in cost-cutting manoeuvre". The Times. No. 72595. p. 7. ISSN 0140-0460.
  24. ^ Ellwood, Tobias (25 March 2019). "RAF Linton-on-Ouse: Closures:Written question – 234753". UK Parliament. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  25. ^ Sedgwick, Philip (1 November 2019). "Final chapter in flight operations". Darlington and Stockton Times. No. 44–2019. p. 66. ISSN 2516-5348.
  26. ^ "Final flights as RAF base prepares for closure". The Northern Echo. Newsquest. 29 October 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  27. ^ "RAF Leeming: And then there were two | RAF Leeming Station Facebook Page". Facebook. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  28. ^ "Removal of RAF Linton on Ouse MATZ/ATZ | Civil Aviation Authority". Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  29. ^ Laycock, Mike (11 December 2021). "RAF base set to be sold in late 2023". York Press. Newsquest Media Group. Retrieved 13 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  30. ^ "Soldiers support each other on return from Afghanistan". British Army. 27 August 2021. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  31. ^ Former RAF Linton-on-Ouse to become asylum centre BBC News, 14 April 2022. Retrieved 14 April 2022
  32. ^ Hymas, Charles (31 May 2022). "Migrant camp delayed after legal action by Tory council". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  33. ^ a b "Refugee centre will be a 'Guantanamo-on-Ouse', say councillors". York Press. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  34. ^ "'Guantánamo-on-Ouse' plans to place 1,500 asylum seekers in Yorkshire village". The Guardian. 24 April 2022. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  35. ^ "Linton-on-Ouse: Asylum centre plan for ex-RAF site scrapped". BBC News. 9 August 2022. Retrieved 9 August 2022.
  36. ^ Swinger, Peter (2008). Motor Racing Circuits in England : Then & Now. Ian Allan Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7110-3104-3.
  37. ^ "Linton-on-Ouse". Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust. Retrieved 6 March 2023.
  38. ^ Wainwright, Martin (8 November 2008). "Pilot Struck blind in flight shepherded to safe landing by RAF". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 November 2008.


  • Birtles, P. (2012). UK Airfields of the Cold War. Midland Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85780-346-4.
  • Delve, Ken. The military airfields of Northern England – County Durham, Cumbria, Isle of Man, Lancashire, Merseyside, Manchester, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Yorkshire. Marlborough, Wiltshire, UK: Crowood Press, 2006. ISBN 1-86126-809-2.
  • Dunmore, Spencer and William Carter. Reap the Whirlwind: The Untold Story of 6 Group, Canada's Bomber Force of World War II. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: McLelland and Stewart Inc., 1991. ISBN 0-7710-2924-1.

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