75 years of service at RAF Woodvale
RAF Woodvale has celebrated its 75th birthday as an active RAF airfield. Formed on December 1 1941, RAF Woodvale was originally built as an all weather, night fighter airfield for the defence of Liverpool.
It has gone through many changes over the years. During the Second World War RAF Squadrons flew up from the south of London to rest for short periods.
These included a number of Polish squadrons - six Polish airmen are buried in Formby after being killed while operating from the base.
Fighters based at RAF Woodvale flew in combat operations against Nazi aircraft which were bombing areas including Liverpool, Bootle and Southport.
In April 1945, RAF Woodvale briefly became a tender for the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Airfield at Burscough, known as HMS Ringtail II.
After the war and a period of inactivity, RAF Woodvale reopened in June 1946, with 14 Spitfires from 611 (West Lancashire) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force. Spitfires and Hurricanes flew the temperature and humidity flight from the base from 1953 to 1958.
In June 1957 the legendary Spitfire made its last operational flight, in active military marking from RAF Woodvale.
On January 1 1958 Meteors operated from No 5 Civilian Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit until its disband- ment in 1971.
Since 1971 RAF Woodvale has been an RAF training unit.
To commemorate RAF Woodvale’s 75th anniversary, station personnel and invited guests attended a short Rededication Ceremony in the hangar followed by a reception in the Officers Mess.
The Station Commander, Wing Cdr David Hooton said: “Commanding RAF Woodvale on the occasion of its 75th anniversary is an extremely proud moment for me. The station is not ‘front line’ but quietly and efficiently gets on with the task of supporting the Royal Air Force in many ways, as it always has.”
To learn more about RAF Woodvale visit http://www.raf.mod.uk/ organisation/45squadron.cfm
Airmen of one of the Polish Squadrons stationed at RAF Woodvale during its early days
A Spitfire stands proud on the airfield as fellow squadron pilots fly over head
Above: Spitfire pilots racing to their planes