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YATESBURY AIRFIELD

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Yatesbury Airfield was first established in October 1916 as the site of two Royal Flying Corps (RFC) training aerodromes specialising in Corps Reconnaissance training. The airfields were established in two main areas or camps: Camp 1 and Camp 2, both of which had their own technical and domestic sites and landing grounds. RFC Yatesbury became a Training Depot in 1918 and closed in 1919 and all buildings in Camp 2 were removed. A number of General Service hangars (see records 1308172 and 1308180) remained in Camp 1 and one of which survives today. A Prisoner of War camp (see record???) was also established to provide labour for the camp and surrounding area.

In 1936 the site of Camp 1 was redeveloped as a civilian flying training school (No. 10 Elementary Reserve & Flying Training School) and run by the Bristol Aeroplane Company Ltd to train pilots for the Royal Air Force (RAF). Various facilities were built including officers mess and accommodation blocks (see record 1432187). In 1939 the airfield was taken over by the Air Ministry and brought up to wartime standards including the construction of various Bellman and Blister hangars, Stanton air raid shelters and a Sommerfield Track (steel mesh matting) was laid on the two runways. A number of airfield defences were also built (see records 1416449, 1422428, 1422429 and 1422430). In addition in 1938/39 RAF Training Command established a large wireless training school (No. 2 Electrical and Wireless School, later renamed No. 2 Radio School)) on the site of the First World War aerodrome at Camp 2. Over 50,000 men were trained here during the War on wireless theory and aerial training. At the eastern end of this camp, the No. 9 RDF School (later named the No. 9 Radio School) was opened in 1942 to teach the then secret radar. In 1947 air training stopped, though the wireless school continued until its closure in 1965.

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