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RAF BICESTER

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A well preserved military airfield with multiple phases of use. Bicester Airfield first opened in late 1917 as a Royal Flying Corps training station and was one of the permanent RAF stations with substantial buildings and a grass airfield. The first combat units of World War II were Blenheim-equipped Nos 104 and 108 Squadrons, later merging to form No 13 OTU. Bicester closed as an active station in March 1976, part being taken over by the Army. The airfield is now the RAF Gliding Centre and the domestic site (located to the west of the A421) is currently used by the Ministry of Defence as the headquarters of the Defence Clothing and Textiles Agency. The hangars and other specialised buildings are located at the technical site between the flying field the A421. Bicester is special because it retains a large number of buildings and structures, not only from the expansion period, but from the early expansion period of 1925-1928. These buildings and structures, amongst others, include two Type A Aeroplane Sheds, four Type E Barrack Blocks, a parachute store, the station armoury, a decontamination centre, the station sick quarters, and a watch office with tower. Bicester is the best preserved of the bomber bases constructed as the principal arm of Sir Hugh Trenchard's expansion of the RAF from 1923. It retains, better than any other military airbase in Britain, the layout and fabric relating to both pre-1930 military aviation and the development of Britain's strategic bomber force in the period up to 1939. The grass flying field still survives, bounded by a group of bomb stores built in 1938-9 and airfield defences built in the early stages of the Second World War. Please see (SP 52 SE 64) to (SP 52 SE 121), (SP 62 SW 27) and (SP 52 SE 125) to (SP 52 SE 135) for more details of the various features of RAF Bicester. Sections of the airfield have been Scheduled.

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