Unit History: RAF Innsworth
RAF Innsworth was a non flying Royal Air Force station, on the north side of the city of Gloucester, located within the parish of Innsworth. For the last 13 years of its life it was the headquarters of Personnel and Training Command but following the collocation of the two remaining RAF Headquarters, at RAF High Wycombe in 2006, RAF Innsworth closed in March 2008.
The station opened in 1940, the first unit based there being No 7 School of Technical Training who trained engine and airframe fitters and mechanics. Over 2000 officers and men were based at Innsworth by the time training began in earnest in 1941, this being delayed due to the arrival of 1500 RAF evacuees from Dunkirk.
In December 1941, No 2 WAAF Depot was opened at Innsworth and from then on the Station became increasingly associated with the Women’s branch of the service. By the end of 1941 the strength of the Station had risen to well over 4000 including trainees. Eventually it was decided to reserve the Station almost exclusively for WAAF training, including barrage balloon training amongst other vital roles.
By the end of the war nearly 5000 people were living on the Station, three quarters of them WAAF. It retained its training role, with the opening of No. 2 RAF School of Cookery in 1948. It was also the home to 33 RAF Regt Wing which deployed squadrons to emergencies in Cyprus and Northern Ireland. The station housed the Education Book Depot, which would have come in handy with both Nos. 7 & 13 Schools of Recruit Training. Innsworth was also the headquarters of No.4 Police District, and maintained a police presence up until very recently, when it was the HQ of PSS (WR).
In 1951 the Headquarters of the RAF Record Office which had been based nearby in Gloucester and Barnwood, moved to the station and gained Group status. Three years later in 1954 No. 5 Personnel Despatch Unit arrived, charged with the administration and processing of personnel selected for overseas service.
Just after the war ended the RAF Base Accounts Office moved from York to Gloucester and grew into the Central Pay Office and is now part of the RAF Personnel and Training Command, which formed in 1994, based at Innsworth. Many other changes have taken place at Innsworth over recent years; these include the formation of Personnel Management Agency, contractorisation of the Station Support Services and the transfer of certain administrative functions (RAF pay and pensions) to the tri Service, Armed Forces Personnel Administration Agency (AFPAA), all in 1997. In March / April 2005 the MOD Medals Office and Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) were established at Innsworth under AFPAA management.
The Station has always maintained a close association with the city of Gloucester, and on 7 April 1960, received the Honour of the Freedom of the City. The station has subsequently also received the freedoms of the Borough of Tewkesbury and the Borough of Cheltenham.
In 2005 it was announced that HQ Personnel and Training Command was to co-locate with HQ Strike Command at RAF High Wycombe. The new collocated HQ’s were subsequently merged to form Air Command and the decision was taken to close RAF Innsworth. The drawdown took place over the next three years with elements of the Personnel Management Agency moved to High Wycombe and Cranwell and RAF Innsworth finally closed on 31 March 2008.
Memories of RAF Innsworth
(Memories written by members of Forces Reunited)
RAF Innsworth in 1954
Written by Eduard Eady
Posted to RAF Innswoth during 1953 on to the RAF Police Flight under Flt/Sgt Bill Sutherley. Recall patrols in Gloucester and Cheltenham, with Flt Lt Dawson as Officer i/c police. names recalled are Paul tarpey, Bert Short, Len cunningham, Welsh Rugby International, Jock McWhirr, Ian Gordon,
Peter Curtais, Tony Charles Scott, who became a pro: wrestler under the name of Tony Charles.
RAF Innsworth in 1951
Written by Mark McCann
I was aq station policeman who fell for a serving waaf named doreen allsop who was working for the aoc at his home.we dated for some time got engaged but I was posted to Germany and she sent me a dear john letter.I returned to speak with her I was devastated to find she had a boy friend.The last I saw of her was her standing waving me off on the bus.I have never stopped thinking of her and still do even 60 years have passed.I wish I knew what became of her.
If anyone reading this can help me find Doreen or tell me what happened to her I would be very much obliged.Put my mind at rest.
, RAF Innsworth in 2014
Written by Mark McCann
I was engaged to a member of the WRAF whilst station at Innsworth.I have repeatedly asked the question does anyone remember Doreen Allsop. I know it is a long time ago,1951 but surely with all the members there are on Forces Reunited there are more than me still alive.I would love to kmow what became of Doreen I think of her a great deal.Anyone out there who can help contact me through Forces Reunited PLEASE