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Report - RAF Church Fenton - August 2015

Goldie87

28DL Regular User
Regular User
#1
On 1 April 1937 RAF Church Fenton 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. During September 1940 it became home to the first RAF "Eagle squadron" of American volunteers with the Brewster Buffalo I for one month before changing to the Hawker Hurricane I. The airfield was also home to both the first all-Canadian and all-Polish squadrons, with No. 242 Squadron RAF for the Canadians and No. 306 Squadron RAF for the Polish. As technologies evolved, the first night fighter Operational Training Unit was formed at Church Fenton in 1940 and stayed until 1942.

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. 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 Aircraft Jet Provost T3 trainers. In 1992 the descision was taken to close Church Fenton, with the exception of the operational side. In December 2013 the remaining parts were sold and became Leeds East Airport.

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