15% DISCOUNT

RAF in Herefordshire

Like many landlocked British counties, RAF activities in Herefordshire have been limited in the century or so that air power has paid a crucial role in the defence of these shores, but even during World War Two there were only three active stations within its borders, one of those limited to technical training.

A number of sites in the county have been used as airfields, including Hereford Racecourse and Lugg Meadows on the outskirts of Hereford, both used as bases for No. 50 Gliding School, but the day-to-day business of the RAF was mainly restricted to three locations.

RAF Hereford/RAF Credenhill

Opened – 1940

Closed – 1994, site turned over to the Army

Also known as RAF Credenhill, Hereford is best known today as the regimental depot of the SAS, moving there in 1999, the former RAF station redesignated as Stirling Lines in 2000.

RAF Hereford September 1940

(RAF Hereford September 1940)

A non-flying station was created at the site five miles north east of Hereford at the start of WW2, creating a mini-city of wooden and brick buildings, RAF Hereford designated as a School of Technical Training. The station underwent continual development during the war, increasing the number on site to 7000, with courses offering training in many technical specialisations to air crew and related personnel.

RAF training courses continued post war, the station eventually passing to the Army in 1994, five years later the SAS moving in.

RAF Madley

Opened – 1941

Closed – 1954

Three runways were laid and a number of buildings were constructed on arable land six miles south west of Hereford, between the villages of Madley and Kingstone, creating an RAF radio signals training school.

Eric Sykes was based at RAF Madley during World War Two

(Eric Sykes was based at RAF Madley during World War Two)

More than 4,000 radio operators (including Eric Sykes) were trained at Madley, with a Mountain Rescue Team formed at the station in 1944 due to the high number of accidents at nearby mountain ranges over the border in Wales – the population of Kingstone village growing from 300 to 5000 during the war.

The most infamous flight from Madley came at the end of WW2 when Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s Deputy Fuhrer, boarded an aircraft that departed the station in October 1945, his destination Nuremberg, where he would stand trial for war crimes. Hess had taken a solo flight to Scotland in May 1941 under the auspices of an attempt to broker a peace deal, but ended up imprisoned at the Tower of London before being transferred to Abergavenny in Wales, where he spent three years incarcerated before standing trial.

RAF Shobdon

Opened – 1939

Closed – 1953, now a civilian airfield

Present Day Shobdon Airfield

(Present Day Shobdon Airfield)

Starting life as an army camp, Shobdon acted as a reception point for casualties evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940, before a runway was constructed in a joint project between the RAF and the US Army in 1943, No. 1 Glider Training School moving to the station seven miles west of Leominster. Glider pilots were trained in advance of the Normandy and Arnhem landings, the Gliding School closing in 1953, shortly before the site was handed over to Herefordshire County Council.

Other Articles You May Also Enjoy

RAF veteran Stanley Booker celebrates his 102nd birthday – a true British hero
RAF veteran Stanley Booker celebrates his 102nd birthday – a true British hero
SHOT down over France three days before the D-Day landings, betrayed to the Gestapo then sent to a German slave labour c
Read More
RAF in Dorset
RAF in Dorset
Dorset's RAF history dates back to WWI, the county important in the defence of Britain from the threat of both airship a
Read More
RAF in Somerset
RAF in Somerset
The county of Somerset has long-standing links with the RAF dating back to the 1920s
Read More
Avro Shackleton
Avro Shackleton
The longest serving RAF maritime patrol aircraft known for its ‘growl’
Read More
RAF in Berkshire
RAF in Berkshire
For a location bordering the western outskirts of England’s capital city, it is perhaps surprising that Berkshire boaste
Read More
101 Squadron
101 Squadron
No. 101 Squadron pays tribute to one of its most famous sons
Read More
Tempest Project Gathers Pace
Tempest Project Gathers Pace
Tempest project gathers pace as Defence Chiefs sign official treaty
Read More
RAF in Oxfordshire Part Two
RAF in Oxfordshire Part Two
RAF in Oxfordshire part two K-W
Read More

Leave a comment