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DUXFORD IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  USAAF STATION 357, RAF DUXFORD, RAF DUXFORD, USAAF STATION 357
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A former military airfield, now part of the Imperial War Museum. The site was briefly used for military aviation in the military manouveres of 1912. It was developed as a Training depot station in 1917-1918 using German prisoners as labour. It was retained after World War One. Its interwar role was as a training airfield then as a fighter station. In 1938 it became the first Royal Air Force station to receive Spitfire fighter aircraft. The airfield facilities, much of which were originally wooden, were rebuilt in stages between 1928 and 1939. In World War Two the airfield formed part of 12 Group Fighter Command, and during the battle of Britain was used to reinforce the hard-pressed 11 Group further south- it was aslo a Sector Airfield of 12 Group with a Sector Operations Room and staff. Douglas Bader was Squadron leader at Duxford during part of that time (after moving from Coltishall). The base was used by Czech and Polish squadrons. Later it was used to evaluate and test new aircraft by the Air Fighting Development Unit. In 1942 the United States Army 8th Air Force, 78th Fighter group took control of the base (as Station 357). The Americans laid down a new longer runway. The post-war military use of the base for jet fighters entailed the further redevelopment and extension of a runway by 1951. It closed for operational flying in 1961. In 1968 the site was used for filming of a film entitled "The Battle of Britain"- during the course of which a real World War One aircraft hangar was destroyed. After 1976 the site became part of the Imperial War Museum. One domestic building and small of groups technical buildings from World War One remain, but a larger number of Inter-war and World War Two period buildings have survived. A conservation area has been proposed for the site.

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