First developed in 1916
when a Training Depot was established. Americans assisted by
providing an electrical power station.
Camp came into use by RFC
in Jan 1917 when 118 Sqn was mobilised; later in Nov 1918 No.44
Training Depot Station arrives.
No 2 Sqn based here during
1919, later replaced by 5 Sqn (Bristol Fighters) on return from
duties in France. Sqns later disbanded and Bicester closed in
Airfield re-opened in Jan
1928, following several years of re-development as a bomber
station. First aircraft were Hawker Horsleys (100 Sqn) , and
then in 1935 Hawker Harts (33 Sqn)
In Nov 1934 the only RAF
Sqn of Sidestrands arrive (101 Sqn, now at Brize Norton), to
be replaced by Overstrands in Jul 1936.
A special feature of the
Station was a railway line that lead straight to main stores!.
During the expansion period
of the 1930's Bicester had a major facelift, resulting in much
new accommodation, including the Officers Mess and Watch Office
During 1937/38, Blenheim
bombers arrive to equip 90 and 101 Sqns. At the outbreak of
war 104 and 108 Blenheim Sqns arrive - supplemented by Ansons
- and aircrew training commences.
In late 1939 a secret bomber
- later known as the Halifax - is assembled here and flown to
King George visits on 19
Jul 1940. Many of the aircrew he meets later die during the
next 14 months of war.
Also in 1940 Weston-on-the-Green
comes into use as a satellite station, used for night flying
training. Hinton-in-the-Hedges also used, and at Grendon Underwood
a dummy airfield established.
Throughout the war , Bicester
sees many changes of Sqns and Flights, mostly connected with
or for aircrew training purposes.
Airfield becomes a non-flying
unit in late 1944, and is transferred to 40 Group, Maintenance
Command, later serving as a Motor Transport depot.
71 MU arrives in Dec 1953
for the repair, salvage and transportation of damaged aircraft.
Is later known as RSS and based at Abingdon until 1993.
Oxford University Air Sqn
arrives in 1959 (Chipmunks) and stays until 1975, when it then
moves over to RAF Abingdon
Bicester closes as an active
station on 31 Mar 1976, however flying conitues with gliders
from the RAF Gliding & Soaring Assoc'n.
In the mid 1980's part
of the Technical and Domestic area is utilsed as a storage site
by the USAF, now departed.
In the late 1990's Bicester
was due to be re-developed and most of the airfield built on.
However, due to the historic nature of the airfieid and it's
buildings this has now been - for the present - quashed.
RAF Bicester, in 50 years,
never despatched one offensive sortie!