1940s


 

Day Month Year Event
    1943 Construction of the station began by the McAlpine company
and was to consist of a 2000 yard runway, two T2 hangars and
50 loop dispersals.
 
16th Sep 1943 The US 32nd General Field Hospital moved to the Fairford
town area.
 
  Dec 1943 Before the station opened and while still under
construction Airspeed Oxford training aircraft
from No 3 (P) Advanced Flying Unit based at South Cerney
used Fairford for flying training.
 
17th Jan 1944 A station opening party arrived in preparation for the
official opening the next day.
 
18th Jan 1944 The RAF station opened as part of Number 38 (Airborne
Forces) Group, RAF.
 
13th Feb 1944 Senior officers from No 38 Group HQ visited RAF Fairford
by air, the station’s first official aircraft movement.
18th Mar 1944 620 Squadron, RAF arrived  from RAF Leicester East with 50
Stirling aircraft and 100 Horsa gliders and immediately
begun flying Special Operations Executive (SOE) support missions. 
Most SOE
missions saw aircraft from RAF Fairford stop at Tarrant Rushton
airfield before heading off to Europe.
 
25th Mar 1944 190 Squadron, RAF arrived also with 50 Stirling IV aircraft and 25
Horsa gliders.
 
30th Mar 1944 190 and 620 Sqns were split into 9, 10, 23 and 24
Flights.  
 
29th Apr 1944 RAF Fairford lost its first Horsa glider when it crashed
in the local Fairford area.
 
1st May 1944 The US 32nd Field Hospital left Fairford town and later
became the first hospital to be setup in occupied
France.
 
17th Apr 1944 A Horsa glider, LJ263, crashed into the RAF Fairford
control tower.
 
22nd May 1944 The final exercise for D-Day took place, Exercise
Turnaround.
 
2nd Jun 1944 The station was sealed in preparation for D Day.
 
5th Jun 1944 As part of D-Day RAF Fairford supported Operation Tonga
when 45 Stirlings with 900 paratroopers from the 6th
Airborne departed to secure bridges on the River Orne in
France.
6th Jun 1944 Missions for Operation Mallard were flown as support for
the previous day’s Operation Tonga.  25 Stirlings
supported D-Day+1 by transporting the 6th Airborne
Landing Brigade to France as re-enforcements.
18th Jun 1944 190 Sqn took part in Op Townhall VIII, a large re-supply
mission in Europe.
 
19th Jun 1944 4 Waco gliders arrived at RAF Fairford for trials with
the Stirling tow aircraft.
 
29th Jun 1944 2886 Squadron of the RAF Regiment who were previously at RAF
Fairford moved to the Hawkhinge area.
27th Jul 1944 A P-47D, 42-75863, crashed while taxiing at RAF
Fairford.
 
  Jul 1944 Missions flown to support SOE and SAS operations over
Europe increased to the rate of 20 a night.
22nd Jul 1944 RAF Fairford’s aircraft continued to suffer losses, on
this day two Stirlings, LJ 882 and LJ684, went missing
while on missions over Europe.
 
28th Jul 1944 Two Dakotas ferried SAS troops from RAF Fairford to a
landing site in Normandy, France.
  Aug 1944 With the D-Day invasion missions over RAF Fairford
returned to flying SOE and SAS support missions each
night.
 
6th Sep 1944 A Stirling aircraft, EF296, crashed on landing due to a
burst tyre.
 
16 Sep 1944 190 and 620 Sqns towed 32 Horsa gliders to
Rome/Crompton, Italy as part of Operation Molton to
retrieve survivors.
 
16th Sep 1944 Operation Market Garden missions were launched in
support of Arneham.  Pathfinders from 21 Landing Company
left RAF Fairford in 12 Stirlings.
 
5th Oct 1944 An advanced party moved to RAF Great Dunmow, Essex to
prepare for the moving of 190 and 620 Sqns there.
 
14th Oct 1944 190 Sqn left RAF Fairford for RAF Great Dunmow as the
front line moved from France to Holland. 
16th Oct 1944 620 Sqn and the station HQ left Fairford for RAF Great
Dunmow.  RAF Fairford became a satellite station of RAF
Keevil.
 
20th Oct 1944 Albemarle aircraft with Waco and Horsa gliders from
Flights C, D and F of the 22nd Heavy Glider Conversion
Unit moved to RAF Fairford.
 
12th Dec 1944 Ninety-seven C-47s from the 50th Troop Carrier Wing
stopped at RAF Fairford for 3 days before returning to
their base in France when their exercise was cancelled.
 
21st Oct 1945 The Flights from 22 Heavy Glider Conversion Unit moved
from RAF Fairford to their parent station RAF Blakehill
Farm.
 
27th Jan 1946 1529 Radio Aids Training Flight with Oxfords moved to
RAF Fairford until mid 1946.
 
Jan 1946 1556 Radio Aids Training Flight came to RAF Fairford
until July.
 
  Feb 1946 1555 Radio Aids Training Flight came to RAF Fairford,
staying longer than the others until August 1947.
  Sep 1946 47 Squadron arrived with Halifax Mk7 aircraft and carried out
exercises with airborne forces before moving to
Dishforth in Sept 1948.
 
  Apr 1947 It was approved for RAF Fairford to accept in the near
future up to 24 aircraft, 2 Squadrons and 283 Wing.
14th Apr 1947 283 Wing RAF and 113 Squadron arrived at RAF Fairford with
the task of providing the 6th Airborne Division with
transport training.  283 Wing HQ moved to RAF Fairford
from Palestine.
21st Aug 1947 297 Squadron moved to RAF Fairford from RAF Brize Norton with
Halifax aircraft.
 
19th Sep 1947 295 Squadron was reformed with Halifax aircraft but disbanded
in Oct 1948.
 
22nd Oct 1947 By this time RAF Fairford was home to 24 Halifax, 5
Hamilcar gliders, 1 Oxford and 1 Tiger Moth aircraft.
7th Aug 1948 The UK government approved a request by the United States to
operate heavy bombers from airfields in England.
 
Sep 1948 As part of a reduction in forces 295 and 297 Sqns were
reduced to 12 Halifax aircraft.
 
15th Sep 1948 113 Sqn was disbanded at RAF Fairford, while 47 Sqn
moved to Dishforth.
 
1st Oct 1948 295 Sqn was disbanded and became part of 297 Sqn.
 
1st Nov 1948 297 Sqn left Fairford for Dishforth.
 
13th Dec 1948 A Harvard, FT224, crashed close to Fairford.
 
Dec 1948 Wartime station RAF Fairford was closed.
 
  Aug 1949 Until June 1950 RAF Fairford’s runway was used by 204
Advanced Flying School based at nearby RAF Brize Norton who
flew Mosquito training aircraft.

 

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