Unit History: RAF Upper Heyford

RAF Upper Heyford
RAF Upper Heyford.
RAF Upper Heyford was a Royal Air Force station located 5 miles north-west of Bicester near the village of Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, England.
The station was established as a Royal Flying Corp aerodrome in 1915 but was not bought into use for flying until July 1918 by the Royal Air force.  The Handley-Page Hampden bomber equipped the 16th Operational Training Unit in 1940.  Upper Heyford was the home of No. 70 Wing RAF with No's: 18 and 57 Squadrons which were part of No. 2 Group RAF. From March 1946 until June 1950 it was the home of No.1 Parachute Training School RAF
During the inter-war years and continuing through the Second World War until 1950 Upper Heyford was used mainly as a training facility.  Then during the Cold War the USAF leased the airfield from the Ministry of Defence as part of the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) alliance. In 1952, the USAF's Strategic Air Command (SAC) B-47 bomber aircraft arrived and stayed until 1965. The 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing (TRW) took up residence with the RF-101C "Voodoo" until 1969. By the mid-1970's, the F-100's of the 20th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) arrived and were replaced soon after by the F-111E, "Aardvark". The US drawdown brought a close to US occupancy and operations at the air base in 1994, at which time the site was returned to the Ministry Of Defence.  Upper Heyford was unique among bases in the United Kingdom as only the flight-line area required military identification to access.

RAF Upper Heyford during WW2

In November 1940 it was the first station to receive in December 1941 the Avro Manchester heavy bomber. 44 Sqn was the first in RAF Bomber Command to fly operationally with the Lancaster on 2 March 1942 from Waddington.

Concrete runways were laid during 1943 after which two Royal Australian Air Force Lancaster squadrons took up residence. The final WWII raid from Waddington took place on 25/26 April 1945.

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