75 years of ser­vice at RAF Wood­vale

Southport Visiter - - Visiter Life -

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

Photo by Bill Robin­son

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.