RAF Oakington

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RAF Oakington
Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Airport type Military
Owner Ministry of Defence
Operator Royal Air Force
Location Oakington
Built 1939
In use 1940-1970
Coordinates 52°16′13.48″N 000°03′55.42″E / 52.2704111°N 0.0653944°E / 52.2704111; 0.0653944Coordinates: 52°16′13.48″N 000°03′55.42″E / 52.2704111°N 0.0653944°E / 52.2704111; 0.0653944
RAF Oakington is located in Cambridgeshire
RAF Oakington
RAF Oakington
Location in Cambridgeshire
Direction Length Surface
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00/00 0 0 Concrete
00/00 0 0 Concrete
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Royal Air Force Oakington or more simply RAF Oakington is a Royal Air Force station located 0.5 miles (0.80 km) north of Oakington, Cambridgeshire, England and 5.1 miles (8.2 km) north—west of Cambridge.


Second World War[edit]

Construction was started in 1939, but was affected by the outbreak of war, the original plan called for Type C hangars two type J were erected instead. It was used by No. 2 Group in July 1940 for No. 218 Squadron which had recently returned from France. In September, Oakington was passed on for the No. 2 Group which stationed the first Short Stirling Squadron No. 7. The newly formed No. 3 Photographic Reconnaissance Unit RAF started to use RAF Oakington to conduct high altitude work for Bomber Command's targets however there were poor surface conditions at RAF Oakington so No. 3 PRU often operated from RAF Alconbury.

Post war[edit]

Vickers Varsity navigation trainer of No.5 FTS in 1971

During the 1950s RAF Oakington was an Advanced Flying Training School, No. 5 Flying Training School RAF (5 FTS), which reformed at the airfield on 1 June 1954. Its initial role was to convert trainee pilots to jets using De Havilland Vampire T.5 single seat jets and Vampire T.11 twin-seat jets. In March 1962 these types were exchanged for the Vickers Varsity T.1 twin piston-engine navigational trainers. 5 FTS was disbanded on 31 December 1974 when the need for training on piston engined aircraft reduced.[1] The airfield was then closed, becoming a British Army barracks.

The airfield's land area had contracted after the war, and much evidence of this former military use is visible in farmland surrounding the current perimeter.

British Army use[edit]

The barracks were occupied by the Royal Highland Fusiliers from 1989 to 1993[2] and by the Cheshire Regiment from 1993 to 1996.[3]

Immigration Reception Centre[edit]

In 2000 the station domestic area was leased to the Home Office, and converted for use as Oakington Immigration Reception Centre until November 2010.

Future use[edit]

Since 2007 plans have been developed to build Northstowe, a new settlement of 9,500 houses on the site.[4] Demolition of parts of the site commenced in late January 2011 by the contractor Sovereign Plant Ltd. Work started on the first 1500 homes and related facilities in 2014.


  • Sturtivant, Ray, Hamlin, John and Halley, J.J., Royal Air Force Flying Training and Support Units, 1997, Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd, ISBN 0-85130-252-1


  1. ^ Sturtivant et al, 1997, p. 153
  2. ^ "Royal Highland Fusiliers". British Army units 1945 on. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "The Cheshire Regiment". British Army units 1945 on. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "Villagers quake as plans for town grow". Cambridge Evening News. 2 March 2007. Retrieved 15 May 2007. [dead link]

External links[edit]