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CHURCH FENTON AIRFIELD

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  RAF CHURCH FENTON
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A military airfield, constructed as a fighter base as part of the RAF's pre-war expansion scheme and used the Second World War. It opened in 1937 whilst construction work was still being carried out. To begin with it only had grass landing surfaces but by the end of 1939 concrete runways had been laid. Its main role in the Second World War was to protect the industrial cities of Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield and Humberside from enemy air attack. It was the base for several famous fighter squadrons during World War II. Air photos of the wartime site show E-shaped blast pens for fighter aircraft on the east side of the airfield. During the Battle of Britain, as part of 12 Group Royal Air Force Fighter Command the airfield was used by hard hit squadrons from the main battle area further south to recoup and work back to operational strength. It was also used later in the war by Operational Training Units (such as 54 OTU) particularly for night fighters. As the allies went on the offensive the base was used for attacks on Germany. It was retained after the war by the RAF and used as a base for a Flying Training School. During the Cold War the base was expanded. Two of the original hangars remain, see SE 53 NW 49.

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