Points of Interest:
Building started in 1935,
and No.2 Flying Training School arrives in Aug 1937 bringing
Hawker Harts, Furies and Audaxes.
6 MU (41 Group) arrives
and opens in Oct 1938, using D-type hangars now occupied by
March 1939 sees arrival
of Harvards, by outbreak of war more than 25 received along
with Oxfords and Blenheims.
Following fall of France,
HQ 15 SFTS lodges at Brize Norton during 1940 until Kidlington
On 16 Aug 1940 the airfield
is attacked by two Ju 88's, destroying many aircraft that were
hangared for protection against the elements.
During 1941 No.2 SFTS continues
to train RAF pilots, whilst 6 MU handles Blenheims, Hampdens,
Hurricanes, Spitfires and Fairey Battles.
No.25 Blind Approach Training
Flight forms in Nov 1941, remaining until Jul 1942 (as 1525
The recently formed Heavy
Glider Conversion Unit arrives at Brize Norton on 15 Jul 1942,
and the station becomes the training centre for Army glider
No.6 MU now erects and
handles Horsa gliders. Whitley V bombers are used as glider
tugs,. The unit is established to have 56 Horsas and 34 Whitleys.
The first re-surfacing
of the runways took place from 10 Feb to 20 Apr 1943, with flying
training transferred to Grove.
HGCU moves to North Luffenham
in Mar 1944. Brize Norton is switched to 38 Gp control and Albermarles
from 296 and 297 Sqns arrive.
Further trianing of Horsa
pilots continue during 1944 in preparation for the assault on
On night of 5th/6th June
1944, 296/297 Sqns using 18 Albermarles towed 5th Parachute
Brigade to landing Zone 'Z' near river Orne in Normandy.
During 6th June, 40 Horsa
gliders were towed in support of Operation Mallard carrying
part of the 6th Airborne Division.
At the end of the war more
than 200 enemy aircraft are brought to UK for examination or
use as transports. First to land at Brize Norton was a Ju88
on 10 May 45.
None fo the captured aircraft
were conserved and all eventually are scrapped (rumour has it
that a large pit near Base Hangar was used to dispose of the
December 1945 sees arrival
of the School of Flight Efficiency and Transport Command Development
Unit (TDCU). Principle task is the development of airborne delivery
of mixed loads.
TDCU uses Dakotas, Halifaxes,
Hamilcars, Horsas, Liberators, Stirlings, Yorks, and even a
few Hoverfly helicopters!
6MU continues to dispose
of Spitfires, but in Jan 48 receives its first Meteor jet. TDCU
leaves for Abingdon in Jun 49.
21 Gp Training Command
takes control of the airfield on 4th July 1949, with Harvards
from the Exanining Wing of the Central Flying School arriving
(later supplemented by Mosquitos)
Soon after, Bomber Command
takes control of the airfield on 1st June 1950 in preparation
for use by American forces planning SAC bases in UK.
First Americans arrive
in June 1950 but official handover is not until 16th April 1951,
seeing mainly B-29's using the airfield until being replaced
by B-47 Stratojets in Sep 1953
The base's first tanker
squadron arrives in Dec 54 using KC-97G's
On 16th Jan 1957 the 1st
B-52B to land in Britain lands (3395 - City of Turlock of the
93 BW(H)) after a flight from Castle AFB California.
On 28th Mar 1958 the 1st
KC-135 to visit UK lands at Brize Norton.
B-47's, B-52's, KC-135's
and the occasional Convair B-58 Hustler use the airfield until
the mid 1960's when the airfield is prepared for handover to
The last USAF aircraft
to leave is a B-47E, (53-1884), which flew out on 3rd Apr 65,
3 days after the airfield was handed back to the RAF.
Brize Norton is developed
for use as a main base for UK's Transport Force, with many new
facilities being built including what is now known as 'Base
Base Hangar costs nearly
£2m, and is completed (late) in June 67. At the time the
largest cantilever structure in Europe.
No's 10 and 53 Sqns arrive
in mid-1967, bringing with them the VC10 and Belfast fleets
having operated form Lyneham and Fairford respectively until
Brize Norton was ready.
On 1st August Transport
Command is superseded by Air Support Command (which gave rise
to the call sign ASCOT - Air Support Command Operational Tasking).
Britannias arrive from
Lyneham (99 and 511 Sqns) once the Hercules fleet is at full
strength, and supplement the transport operations at Brize Norton.
Brize Norton becomes focus
of attention following evacuation of personnel frrm Cyprus in
1974 (7400+ personnel).
Belfasts and Britannias
are phased out or service following a cretinous decision by
the then Labour government. The RAF is also dramatically cut
down in size with the closure of many overseas bases by the
socialist's (what's new?)
The Hercules fleet suffer
major problems, so XR366 is retained until autumn 1976 as it
is the only aircraft capable of flying outsize loads (evidence
of the stupidity of the earlier decisions).
115 Sqn arrives from Cottesmore
with the Argosy fleet in Feb 78, later to be replaced by Andover
E1's (already in the hands of 241 OCU at Brize Norton).
No 1 PTS arrives from Abingdon
in 1976, shortly followed by 38 Gp TCW. Also during the late
1970's Concorde uses Brize Norton for pilot training.
As the airfield has been
extended the runway has been strengthend and so it was that
Brize Norton was chosen as the base for the Tristar fleet in
the early 1980's.
VC10's contunue to support
military exercises on a world wide basis, and provide substantial
The conversion of ex-civil
VC10's into tankers sees the arrival of the K2 and K3 tankers,
the first arriving in 1985. 101 Sqn reforms at Brize Norton
on 1st May 1984.
The first TriStar commences
trooping flights in June 1983, using ex-BA aircraft. 216 Sqn
reforms on 1st Nov 1983.