Catterick airfield first opened in 1914 as a Royal Flying Corps aerodrome with the role of training pilots and to assist in the defence of the North East of England. It came under RAF administration in 1918 and housed Number 49 Training Depot.
In 1927 it temporarily came under the administration of the British Army, under the Army Air Co-Operation Command which would supply the army with any air support needs that would be required. This continued until 1939 when the station was handed back to the RAF.
During World War II the airfield operated a small satellite station called RAF Scorton near the village of Scorton.
After World War II, Catterick’s runway could not be extended for the jet age due to the perimeter being bounded by the Great North Road (A1) and the River Swale. Therefore, Catterick’s importance declined though it still housed training institutes for many years.
Catterick served as a RAF Regiment depot occupied by operational Squadrons and was the training base for the RAF Regiment from 1946 until 1994 when the Regiment’s training facilities moved to RAF Honington. Catterick was also the training centre for the RAF Fire Service until the 1990s.
The base was handed over to the Army in 1994 and now is named Marne Barracks and is part of the huge Catterick Garrison complex. It currently houses 5th Regiment Royal Artillery.
Memories of RAF Catterick
(Memories written by members of Forces Reunited)
RAF Catterick, Basic Gunner Training in 1973
Written by Roy Byron Thomas
I was a remuster from the Supply Trades so not the ordinary basic Gunner. I have one memory from recruitment in 1973 that of an instructor one Sgt Davies. I woulkd very much like to know what become of him once he had retired. Did he take on a pub as planned or did he disappear into the hills of Wales. He once borrowed an item of my kit to go on leave and of course I never saw it again. In closing he was a good trainer, well I made it.