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Report - RAF Church Fenton - Church Fenton - December 2012

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by sammydoublewhammy, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. sammydoublewhammy

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    Plans for a new airfield adjacent to the village of Church Fenton were announced in June 1935, it was subject to protest from the local population particularly concerning the waste of valuable farming land and was close to an existing airfield 2 mi (3.2 km) away at Sherburn. Despite the protests construction started in early 1936 on the 260 acres (1.1 km2) site, a mixture of private and West Riding County Council-owned farm land.
    On 1 April 1937 the station was declared open and on 19 April the first station commander Wing Commander W.E. Swann assumed command. Within two months No. 71 Squadron RAF had arrived with the Gloster Gladiator.
    After the war it at first retained its role as a fighter base, being among the first to receive modern jet aircraft, namely the Gloster Meteor and the Hawker Hunter. Between October 1950 and March 1957 it was the base of No. 609 Squadron RAF, within the Royal Auxiliary Air Force and named "North Riding". The unit was equipped with Gloster Meteors.
    For some years it was home to the Royal Navy Elementary Flying Training School (RNEFTS) using the Jet Provost T3, and again 1979-1992, triggered by the introduction of the Panavia Tornado, being the first station to receive the new turboprop-powered Short Tucano T1 basic fast jet trainers. From 1998-2003 Church Fenton was the RAF's main Elementary Flying Training airfield.In later years, its role was mainly flight training. No 7 Flying Training School was based here between 1962 and 1966 and again between 1979 and 1992, equipped with Hunting Jet Provost jet trainers.
    The base is still home to Yorkshire Universities Air Squadron and it is from there that they conduct their flying training in the Grob Tutor Aircraft. Much of the base is now derelict and fenced off and the Officers Mess has been demolished. The airside section of the base remains open with various hangars incorporating YUAS’s aircraft, engineering support, fire/ambulance facilities and a sports hangar. The base still has a fully functioning and manned Air Traffic Control Tower.
    The Station headquarters remains and incorporates YUAS’s administration, presentation and social facilities. There is a canteen facility known as the "feeder" and a basic accommodation block.
    RAF Church Fenton is also home to 2434 (Church Fenton) Squadron Air Training Corps.




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