RAF Topcliffe

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RAF Topcliffe
Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Near Topcliffe, North Yorkshire in England
Grob g109b zh268 motorglider arp.jpg
Grob Vigilant T.1 motor glider. The glider is flown by 645 and 634 Volunteer Glider Squadron, which is based at Topcliffe.
EGXZ is located in North Yorkshire
Shown within North Yorkshire
Coordinates 54°12′20″N 001°22′56″W / 54.20556°N 1.38222°W / 54.20556; -1.38222Coordinates: 54°12′20″N 001°22′56″W / 54.20556°N 1.38222°W / 54.20556; -1.38222
Type Royal Air Force station
Site information
Owner Ministry of Defence
Operator Royal Air Force
Site history
Built 1939 (1939)/40
In use 1940-Present
Airfield information
Identifiers ICAO: EGXZ, WMO: 03275
Elevation 28 metres (92 ft) AMSL
Direction Length and surface
03/21 1,814 metres (5,951 ft) Asphalt
08/26 430 metres (1,411 ft) Asphalt
13/31 1,262 metres (4,140 ft) Asphalt

Royal Air Force Topcliffe or RAF Topcliffe (ICAO: EGXZ) is a Royal Air Force station in North Yorkshire, England. It is a satellite station serving in the role of a Relief Landing Ground for Tucano aircraft of the Central Flying School (CFS) based nearby at RAF Linton-on-Ouse (one of two, the other being Dishforth Airfield). As such, no RAF personnel are based permanently at the airfield and airfield services are provided by personnel assigned to RAF Linton-on-Ouse.

Topcliffe is also used by the Air Training Corps as a motor glider airfield for Gliding induction courses and Gliding scholarships.


Topcliffe opened in September 1940 as a bomber station in RAF Bomber Command and was home to 77 and 102 Squadrons flying the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley heavy bomber.[1] There was a decoy site at Raskelf. 419 and 424 Squadrons (RCAF) moved in flying Vickers Wellington bombers and later, the Handley Page Halifax III.[1] On 1 January 1943 the station was transferred to No. 6 Group RCAF and became a training station. The station, along with sub-stations at Wombleton, Dalton and Dishforth were designated as No. 61 (Training) Base in late 1943.[2]

No.1 Air Navigation School was located here between March 1957 & December 1961. The Air Electronics school came in January 1962 and from 1967 became the Air Electronics & Engineers School flying Vickers Varsity T.1 aircraft.

From October 1964 the Northern Communications Squadron flew Avro Anson C.19 aircraft, replacing them with Beagle Basset CC.1 in 1965. The squadron left Topcliffe in January 1969.

The Airman Aircrew Initial Training School was located here from January 1967 until February 1970.

No. 15 Aviation Flight AAC flew de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver AL.1 aircraft from the early 1970s and No. 666 Aviation Squadron AAC flew Westland Scout AH.1 helicopters from here between 1973 and 1978.

The Army moved on to the site in 1974 and renamed much of it Alanbrooke Barracks. However all the flying facilities remain intact. The wartime control tower, with modifications, is still used, and the station is referred to as RAF Topcliffe by the RAF.[2]

During the eighties it was the home of the Royal Navy Elementary Flying School. In the nineties it was temporarily home to a Short Tucano squadron of RAF Central Flying School. It was the home of the Tucano Air Navigation Squadron, teaching student navigators of both the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy until April 2002 when it moved to RAF Linton on Ouse.[2]

The station is now home to No. 645 Volunteer Gliding Squadron RAF, who teach Air Cadets to fly The Grob Vigilant T.1 Motor Glider and is currently joined by No. 635 Volunteer Gliding Squadron RAF, who have been temporarily re-located from their former airfield.[2]

Other uses[edit]

Handley Page Hastings of 24 & 47 Squadrons based at Topcliffe in 1952

During the 1990s and until 2001, the airfield was utilised by Merlin Parachute Club, home to both the 4 Para Parachute display team and the York University Sport Parachute Club.[2]

As of March 2012, RAF Topcliffe is the permanent base of one of the two Yorkshire Air Ambulances.[3]

The airfield is now a small enclave within Alanbrooke Barracks since the Army took over the rest of the former RAF Station in 1974.



  1. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 00.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Airfield History". No. 645 Volunteer Gliding Society. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "HRH The Duke of York KG officially opens our Northern Airbase". Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 


  • Jefford, C.G, MBE,BA ,RAF (Retd). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1988. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.

External links[edit]