RAF Maintenance Command

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Maintenance Command
Active 1 April 1938–31 August 1973
Country United Kingdom
Branch Royal Air Force
Garrison/HQ RAF Andover
Motto(s) Service

RAF Maintenance Command was the Royal Air Force command which was responsible for controlling maintenance for all the United Kingdom-based units from formation on 1 April 1938 until being renamed RAF Support Command on 31 August 1973.


Maintenance Command was formed in 1938.[1] No. 40 Group RAF was formed within the command on 3 January 1939, and responsible for all equipment except bombs and explosives.[2] No. 42 Group RAF was made responsible for fuel and ammunition storage. In 1940 technical control (but not administrative control) of No. 41 Group and No. 43 Group of Maintenance Command passed to the Ministry of Aircraft Production (MAP).[1]

From 7 October 1940 operational control of salvage was administered by a section of No. 43 Group RAF (Maintenance), known as No. 43 Group Salvage, with a headquarters at the Morris Motor Works in Cowley. The administrative headquarters later moved to Magdalen College, Oxford.[3] Maintenance units responsible for salvage were responsible for vast areas of the country.

Responsibility for these Groups returned to Maintenance Command after World War II following the absorption of the Ministry of Aircraft Production into the Ministry of Supply (MoS).[1] The foundation stone for a new Command Headquarters at RAF Andover was laid in November 1960.[4]

When the RAF took delivery of the Blue Danube nuclear weapon (in sections) the HCCL plant near Leeds was one of only four places from where 40 Group organised armed escorted road convoys direct to RAF Wittering. The others were AWRE Aldermaston, ROF Burghfield, ROF Chorley (Lancashire), and Woolwich Arsenal.

No. 40 Group was disbanded on 28 July 1961. Maintenance Command was absorbed into Support Command in August 1973.[1]


As of 1940 the Command was organised as a headquarters and four Groups:

  1. Equipment Group
  2. Aircraft Group
  3. Armament and Fuel Group
  4. Repair and Salvage Group[5]

Maintenance Units included:


Commanders-in-Chief included:[6]


Further reading[edit]

  • Robin D. S. Higham, Unflinching Zeal: The Air Battles Over France and Britain, May–October 1940, pp.131–2
  • C Crowley, Aspects of Industrial Hygiene in Maintenance Command Royal Air Force, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, 1951
  • The Years Between: Memories of the London Blitz and RAF Maintenance Command During World War Two, by Eric G. Ayto, Athena Press, ISBN 978-1-84748-105-4