RAF West Kirby

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Royal Air Force Station West Kirby
Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
West Kirby, Merseyside
RAF West Kirby.png
Royal Air Force Station West Kirby is located in Merseyside
Royal Air Force Station West Kirby
Royal Air Force Station West Kirby
The site of RAF West Kirby within Merseyside
Coordinates 53°23′N 3°08′W / 53.38°N 3.14°W / 53.38; -3.14
Type Training Camp
Site information
Open to
the public
Site history
In use 1940-1957

RAF West Kirby was a Royal Air Force basic training camp near West Kirby, Merseyside, England.


The camp at Larton,[1] then in Cheshire, was actually located 3 mi (4.8 km) from West Kirby village, from which it took its name. The camp entrance was on Saughall Massie Road, almost opposite Oldfield Lane.[2]


It was set up at the beginning of the Second World War, as a basic training camp, to train new recruits into the Royal Air Force. Known as a "square bashing camp" in the vernacular, it was very first base of most personnel there during the 1940s to 1960, although the final passing out parade took place on 20 December 1957.[3] Most of the personnel were newly called up in the rank of AC2, the very lowest rank in the RAF, for their 2 years National Service in the British armed forces.[citation needed]

At this base, the men were given their initial training on their first entry into RAF which included first learning of RAF parade ground drill with rifles, intensive physical fitness training, training in ground combat and defence under Non Commissioned Officers of the RAF Regiment and some education about the RAF and its history. Men while undergoing their basic training at West Kirby were accommodated in wooden barrack huts, each one housing about twenty men. Because West Kirby was a basic training camp with no airfield there, discipline was very much stricter than in any normal RAF operational or trade training camp.

Recruits normally spent a period of eight weeks on their training at West Kirby before being posted on to their "trade training" camp elsewhere in the United Kingdom. Approximately 150,000 conscripts went through its gates up until 1960,[3] when the camp was demolished and the land converted back into farming fields. A dedication plaque was installed, where the camp entrance used to be, in 2004.[4] Later, a commemorative stone was installed.



  1. ^ "Location of RAF West Kirby". Ventnor Radar. Retrieved 29 October 2016. 
  2. ^ "Wirral Walk - Royden Park, Frankby". Cheshire Life. 15 July 2015. Retrieved 29 October 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "History of RAF West Kirby". RAF West Kirby Association. Retrieved 29 October 2016. 
  4. ^ "Commemorative Plaque". RAF West Kirby Association. Retrieved 29 October 2016. 

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