Unit History: RN Air Station Odiham

RN Air Station Odiham
Aircraft operations began from the site in 1925 but it was not until October 1937 that it was opened as a permanent airfield, ironically by Erhard Milch, then the Chief of Staff for the ’’Luftwaffe’’.
During World War Two P-51 Mustangs and Hawker Typhoons were flown out of the base. After the Allied invasion of Europe the site became a prisoner of war camp. Following the end of the War RAF Fighter Command assumed control of the base and operated Spitfires, Hunters and Javelins. As part of Her coronation celebrations Queen Elizabeth II reviewed the Royal Air Force at Odiham in 1953.
After a short period in "care and maintenance" status the base was reopened as part of Transport Command. In this role the Westland Whirlwind and then the Bristol Belvedere helicopters were operated from the base. From 1961 to 1981 the Westland Wessex was based here, joined by the Puma in 1971.
In 1981 the Wessex helicopters moved to RAF Aldergrove(number 72 Squadron), followed by No. 33 Squadron’s Puma’s in 1997 to RAF Benson.
The first Chinook HC.1s were delivered to the RAF in 1980 and arrived at Odiham in 1982. The first HC.2 arrived in 1993. The RAF ordered the Chinook HC.3, a special forces variant, in 1995. These are yet to enter service.
618 VGS arrived in July 2000. The Unit operates the Vigilant T Mk 1. The Unit provides basic flying and gliding training to members of the Air Cadet Organisation. The Squadron operates normally at weekends and also runs four continuous week courses each year.

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