Unit History: RAF Cranwell
RAF Cranwell ( ICAO: EGYD) is a Royal Air Force station in Lincolnshire close to the village of Cranwell, near Sleaford. It is currently commanded by Group Captain N Wharmby.
The history of military aviation at Cranwell goes back to November 1915 when the Admiralty requisitioned 2500 acres (10 km?) of land from the Earl of Bristol’s estate. And on the 1 April 1916 the Royal Naval Air Service, Training Establishment, Cranwell was officially born. The first commander was Commodore Godfrey M. Paine.
As the naval personnel were held on the books of HMS Daedalus, a hulk that was moored on the River Medway, this gave rise to a misconception that Cranwell was first established as HMS Daedalus.
With the establishment of the Royal Air Force as an independent service in 1918, the RNAS Training Establishment became RAF Cranwell. Cranwell became the entry point for all those who wished to become permanent officers in the RAF and the selection process was extremely stringent. Initially the course took two years but by the fifties this had expanded to three. Until 81 Entry, arriving in September 1959, all flying training took place at the College; basic training on Piston Provosts and advanced on either Vampires or Meteors. With the arrival of 81 Entry the Academic syllabus was improved to allow cadets to gain degrees in humanities or AFRAES. To enable this to happen in the three year course only basic training was carried out at Cranwell on the new Jet Provosts Mks 3 and 4.Cadets still received their wings on passing out of Cranwell but went on to advanced flying courses at either Oakington or Valley. In 1962 Whittle Hall was built to support the new syllabus, opened by Sir Frank Whittle. This meant that the old East and West Camps which had been used for lectures were re-deployed for other activities.
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