- Jan 30, 2014
- Reaction score
RAF Church Fenton
'Twas a nice easy mooch from about a year ago with @Urbexbandoned. Because I'm so far behind in posting reports I always have to go back and read Tracey's report to jog my memory so I can write some shite here as an intro. I can remember it was a boiling hot day and the pollen levels were reading at about 4 billion parts per square metre. After hacking through a shitload of undergrowth for a good half an hour we eventually found something which resembled an RAF base. I was only a few more sneezes away from death. The jungle made it difficult to navigate around and I remember thinking at the time to make sure I returned during the winter so we could actually see where we were going, but I haven't returned since. I bunged my photo's onto my hard drive back then and only just had a look again recently, and to be honest I was pretty disappointed as they're all a bit samey. Derpy barrack blocks and a JR's mess, blah blah peely blah.. the Upwood of the future..
First opened in 1937, RAF Church Fenton is the former home of the first American Eagle Squadrons and was formally regarded as one of the UK's most important strategic airfields, offering rapid reaction fighter defence to the industrial cities of Sheffield, Bradford and Leeds during the second World War. Now, after decades of faithful service in defence of the realm, the air station stands as a lonely hostage to both time and decay.
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 their Gloster Gladiators. During September 1940 Church Fenton became home to the first "Eagle squadron" of American volunteers - No. 71 Squadron RAF and their Brewster Buffalos and Hawker Hurricanes. The airfield was also home to both the first all-Canadian and all-Polish squadrons, No. 242 Squadron RAF and No. 306 Squadron RAF respectively.
As air warfare became a more tactical and technological pursuit, the first night-fighter Operational Training Unit was formed at Church Fenton in 1940 and some of the squadrons stationed there began to fly the famous de Havilland Mosquito. After the close of the war, the station 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, Church Fenton became the RAF's main Elementary Flying Training airfield.
On 25 March 2013 it was announced that Church Fenton would close by the end of 2013 and By 19 December, all units had been relocated and the airfield was closed. Some equipment was be relocated to RAF Topcliffe and MoD security continued to secure the site until disposal. A NOTAM was issued suspending the air traffic zone at the end of 2013.
As always thanks for looking and feedback always appreciated