RAF Halton

RAF Halton
Near Halton, Buckinghamshire in England

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Shown within Buckinghamshire
Coordinates 51°47′30″N 000°44′10″W / 51.79167°N 0.73611°W / 51.79167; -0.73611Coordinates: 51°47′30″N 000°44′10″W / 51.79167°N 0.73611°W / 51.79167; -0.73611
Type Royal Air Force station
Site information
Owner Ministry of Defence
Operator Royal Air Force
Website RAF Halton
Site history
Built 1913 (1913)
In use 1913–present
Garrison information
Occupants Recruit Training Squadron
Specialist Training School
Defence Media Operations Centre
Defence College of Logistics and Personnel Administration
Training Analysis Centre
Defence Centre of Training Support
7644 (VR) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force
Joint Service Gliding Centre
613 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
Headquarters Hertfordshire & Buckinghamshire Wing Air Training Corps.
Airfield information
Identifiers ICAO: EGWN
Elevation 104 metres (341 ft) AMSL
Direction Length and surface
02/20 1,190 metres (3,904 ft) Grass
08/26 840 metres (2,756 ft) Grass
Halton Radio – 130.425 (MHz)

Royal Air Force Halton or more simply RAF Halton is one of the largest Royal Air Force stations in the United Kingdom, located near the village of Halton near Wendover, Buckinghamshire.

HRH the Duchess of Cornwall is the Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Halton.


The first recorded military aviation at Halton took place in 1913 when the then owner of the Halton estate, Alfred de Rothschild invited No 3 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps to conduct manoeuvres on his land. Following a gentleman's agreement between Rothschild and Lord Kitchener, the estate was used by the British Army throughout the First World War. In 1916 the Royal Flying Corps moved its air mechanics school from Farnborough, Hampshire to Halton, and in 1917, the school was permanently accommodated in workshops built by German PoWs.

The whole estate was purchased by the British Government for the nascent Royal Air Force at the end of the First World War for £112,000.[1]

In 1919 Lord Trenchard established the No. 1 School of Technical Training at RAF Halton for RAF aircraft apprentices, which remained at the station until it moved to RAF Cosford in the early 1990s. Also in 1919, Halton House – a French-style mansion built for Lionel de Rothschild – was re-opened as the station's Officers' Mess. Halton House continues to be used as the station's Officers' Mess.

Princess Mary's RAF Hospital Halton was opened in 1927 as a large military hospital, although this was closed in 1995 due to the Government defence cuts. The buildings remained derelict until 2007–08 when they were demolished for new housing in a development called Princess Mary Gate.

During the Second World War RAF Halton continued its training role. Additionally No 112 Squadron and No 402 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force were located at Halton for part of the war.

In July 1952 the uncrowned Queen Elizabeth II performed one of her first duties as Sovereign by presenting a colour to Number 1 School of Technical Training No 1 S of TT); the first to be awarded to an apprentice school, and the first ever to be presented to an 'other rank' when Sergeant Apprentice Hines, of the 63rd Entry, received the colour from Her Majesty.

When No. 1 School of Technical Training moved to RAF Cosford in 1993, they took over guardianship of the Queen's Colour and on 31 October 1997, Her Majesty presented RAF Halton with its second colour. RAF Halton was the only station to be granted the dignity of two Queen's colours.

From 1917–1963, a spur railway line ran from Wendover to Halton to supply coal and goods to the station.

The history of the RAF station and specifically apprenticeship training over the years is preserved by the Trenchard Museum located at RAF Halton, and managed by the RAF Halton Apprentices Association.[2] In 2010 a major project by members of the station re-excavated the training trenches used during the First World War and made them available as an educational exhibit.

In 1985 a large portion of the pre war NCO married quarter housing estate at RAF Halton were sold to The Welbeck Estate Group. Following extensive refurbishment they were sold to local buyers.

On the 7th November 2016 in a speech to the House of Commons made by the Defence Secretary it was announced that the RAF Halton Airfield would cease to be part of the MOD estate and is scheduled to be disposed of by 2022. [3]

Current role

RAF Halton is the RAF's centre for recruit training and airmen's development training, and also hosts a number of other independent units. Units based at Halton currently include:

The camp also includes a grass airfield, used mainly by gliders, light aircraft, microlights and the RAF hot air balloon.[12] The airfield is also the home of the Royal Air Force Gliding and Soaring Association[13] Chilterns Gliding Centre, the Halton Aeroplane Club[14] and the RAF Halton Microlight Club.[15]

Logistics services to RAF Halton are provided by a multi-activity contract currently awarded to Serco.

See also


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