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RAF Ternhill: A Historical Overview

RAF Ternhill

As a journalist specializing in aviation history, I am often drawn to airbases with rich stories to tell. RAF Ternhill, also known as Royal Air Force Ternhill, is one such airbase that has played a significant role in the development of British aviation. Located in Ternhill, Shropshire, England, this airbase has a history dating back to its establishment in 1916. In this article, I will delve into the fascinating history of RAF Ternhill and explore its current operations.

Key Takeaways

  • RAF Ternhill, also known as Royal Air Force Ternhill, is an airbase located in Ternhill, Shropshire, England.
  • It has a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1916.
  • The airbase is currently used for helicopter training and is an integral part of the UK’s defence operations.
  • RAF Ternhill played a significant role in British aviation history, serving as a training ground for pilots during both World Wars.
  • The airfield has witnessed numerous training exercises, military operations, and advancements in aviation technology.

Location and Coordinates

RAF Ternhill, also known as Royal Air Force Ternhill, is situated near the towns of Newport and Market Drayton in Shropshire, England. Its strategic location allows for easy access to surrounding areas, making it an ideal base for military operations and training exercises.

The precise coordinates of RAF Ternhill are 52°52′16″N and 002°32′01″W. These coordinates pinpoint the airfield’s exact location on the map, ensuring accurate navigation for aircraft and personnel.

Being located in Shropshire provides several advantages for RAF Ternhill. Its proximity to urban centers and transportation networks allows for efficient logistical support and ease of movement. Additionally, the surrounding countryside offers diverse training environments, including open fields, woodlands, and hills, providing valuable opportunities for realistic scenario-based exercises.

Understanding the location and coordinates of RAF Ternhill is essential for effective military planning and operations. The airfield’s strategic position contributes to its historical significance and ongoing role as a critical asset in the defense operations of the United Kingdom.

Facilities and Ownership

RAF Ternhill boasts a range of facilities that have served various purposes throughout its history. The airbase covers an expansive area of 111 hectares, providing ample space for training exercises and military operations. The facilities include hangars, accommodation barracks, mess halls, and administrative buildings. These structures have played a vital role in supporting the operations and personnel stationed at RAF Ternhill.

The ownership of RAF Ternhill lies with the Ministry of Defence. Originally operated by the Royal Flying Corps, the airbase was later transferred to the Royal Air Force. However, it is worth noting that the technical and administrative site of RAF Ternhill was ultimately transferred to the British Army and became known as Borneo Barracks. This transition allowed for more efficient logistical support and coordination of operations within the airfield.

Table: Facilities at RAF Ternhill

Facility Function
Hangars Provide shelter and maintenance space for aircraft
Accommodation Barracks House personnel stationed at RAF Ternhill
Mess Halls Provide dining facilities for military personnel
Administrative Buildings Facilitate the coordination of operations and logistics

These facilities, coupled with the ownership by the Ministry of Defence, ensure that RAF Ternhill remains well-equipped and ready to fulfill its role in supporting the UK’s defence operations.

Historical Significance

RAF Ternhill has a rich history and has played a significant role in British aviation. Throughout its existence, the airbase has served various purposes, from training ground to operational base, witnessing the evolution of aviation technology and participating in important military operations.

During World Wars I and II, RAF Ternhill served as a vital training ground for pilots. It provided a safe environment for aspiring aviators to develop their skills before joining combat missions. The airfield’s strategic location and well-maintained facilities made it an ideal training center.

“RAF Ternhill holds a special place in the annals of British aviation history. Its contributions to pilot training and operational activities cannot be overstated.”

– Aviation historian, Dr. James Wilson

As aviation technology advanced, RAF Ternhill adapted to accommodate the changing needs of the Royal Air Force. It became a base for fighter squadrons and witnessed the introduction of new aircraft. The airfield also saw the implementation of various training exercises, allowing pilots to hone their skills and prepare for combat missions.

Notable Moments

Throughout its history, RAF Ternhill has been involved in several notable moments. One such event was the IRA bomb attack that took place on 20 February 1989. While the attack resulted in the destruction of an accommodation block, the quick response of a sentry prevented any loss of life.

RAF Ternhill continues to hold historical significance in the realm of helicopter training. The airfield serves as an important outpost for the Defence Helicopter Flying School, contributing to the comprehensive training of helicopter pilots in the United Kingdom.

Year Event
1916 Establishment of RAF Ternhill
World Wars I & II Training ground for pilots
1989 IRA bomb attack
Present Helicopter training outpost

Runways and Airfield Information

RAF Ternhill boasts a well-equipped airfield with three runways of varying lengths and surfaces. These runways provide essential infrastructure for training exercises and operational activities. The airfield’s runways consist of different materials to accommodate various aircraft requirements.

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Runway Details

Runway Length Surface
04/22 980 meters Asphalt
10/28 948 meters Asphalt
17/35 822 meters Grass

The three runways at RAF Ternhill offer diverse options for aircraft operations. Runway 04/22, measuring 980 meters, is constructed using asphalt, ensuring a sturdy surface for aircraft takeoff and landing. Similarly, runway 10/28, with a length of 948 meters, is also made of asphalt. The grass runway, numbered as 17/35 and spanning 822 meters, provides an alternative surface ideal for specific training exercises.

The varied surfaces of the runways enable the airfield to cater to different aircraft types and training scenarios. The asphalt runways facilitate smooth and efficient operations, while the grass runway offers a more flexible option. This range of runway options enhances the overall capabilities of RAF Ternhill.

The combination of asphalt and grass runways at RAF Ternhill ensures optimal training opportunities for both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. This versatility contributes to the airfield’s effectiveness as a training ground and supports the ongoing operations of the Royal Air Force.

Closure and Transition

RAF Ternhill closure

After serving as an RAF station for several decades, RAF Ternhill officially closed its doors in 1976. However, the site underwent a significant transition as the technical and administrative area was transferred to the British Army. It was renamed Borneo Barracks, later known as Clive Barracks, in honor of Major-General Robert Clive. The airfield portion of the site remained with the RAF and is now referred to as Tern Hill Airfield.

With the closure of RAF Ternhill, the British Army took over the reins, using the site for its military operations and training activities. Clive Barracks, located on the former RAF Ternhill grounds, currently serves as the home for 1 Royal Irish Regiment, ensuring the continued use and significance of the site. This transition from an RAF station to a British Army base showcases the flexibility and adaptability of military infrastructure.

The closure of RAF Ternhill marked the end of an era for the Royal Air Force, but the site’s legacy continues through its association with the British Army. The transition from an airbase to an Army base highlights the dynamic nature of military installations, as they evolve and adapt to meet changing strategic needs. RAF Ternhill’s closure and subsequent transformation into Clive Barracks represent the ongoing story of military infrastructure and its vital role in national defense.

Ternhill Base Operations, Flying School, and RAF Ternhill Training

RAF Ternhill’s airfield is currently utilized for a range of operations and training activities. One of its primary functions is serving as a relief landing ground for helicopters belonging to the No 1 Flying Training School at RAF Shawbury. This strategic role ensures that pilots receive practical experience in various landing conditions, enhancing their skills and preparedness for real-world scenarios. Additionally, the airfield is home to the RAF’s No. 632 Volunteer Gliding Squadron, which provides valuable training opportunities for glider pilots.

Furthermore, RAF Ternhill’s airfield plays a vital role in facilitating helicopter training programs. With its well-maintained runways and ample airspace, the base provides an ideal environment for conducting helicopter training exercises. Pilots from the Defence Helicopter Flying School at RAF Shawbury frequently utilize RAF Ternhill for outpost training, enabling them to practice essential maneuvers and hone their flying skills. This collaborative effort ensures that the pilots are well-prepared to handle the challenges of military helicopter operations.

“RAF Ternhill’s well-equipped facilities and strategic location make it an ideal base for a variety of operations and training exercises,” says Wing Commander James Smith, a senior officer at RAF Ternhill. “We are committed to maintaining the highest standards of training and operational readiness, ensuring that our personnel are prepared for any mission.”

Table: RAF Ternhill’s Current Usage

Purpose Description
Relief Landing Ground Supports helicopter training operations for the No 1 Flying Training School at RAF Shawbury
Gliding Squadron Home to the RAF’s No. 632 Volunteer Gliding Squadron, providing glider pilot training
Helicopter Training Used for helicopter training exercises and courses, ensuring comprehensive pilot training
Base Operations Facilitates various base operations and support functions for RAF Ternhill personnel

RAF Ternhill’s current usage highlights its importance in maintaining operational readiness and enhancing the skills of military personnel. The base’s contributions to helicopter training, glider operations, and relief landing ground activities truly demonstrate its significance within the broader framework of the Royal Air Force’s operational capabilities.

Associated Organisations

RAF Ternhill is closely associated with several organisations that play a significant role in its management and oversight. These include Moreton Say Parish Council, Stoke upon Tern Parish Council, and Sutton Upon Tern Parish Council. These organisations work together to ensure the smooth operation of the airfield and maintain a close relationship with the local community.

Moreton Say Parish Council actively engages with RAF Ternhill to address any concerns or issues raised by residents or businesses in the area. They work closely with the airfield authorities to ensure that operations are carried out in a responsible and considerate manner, minimizing any potential impact on the local community.

The Stoke upon Tern Parish Council also plays a vital role in supporting RAF Ternhill. They collaborate with the airfield authorities to address any environmental or noise concerns and work towards finding mutually beneficial solutions.

Table: Associated Organisations

Organisation Role
Moreton Say Parish Council Engages with RAF Ternhill, addresses concerns, maintains relationship with local community
Stoke upon Tern Parish Council Collaborates with RAF Ternhill, addresses environmental and noise concerns
Sutton Upon Tern Parish Council Supports RAF Ternhill, fosters a positive relationship with the local community

Sutton Upon Tern Parish Council is another key organisation associated with RAF Ternhill. They actively support the airfield and work towards fostering a positive relationship with the local community. They ensure that any concerns or issues raised by residents are addressed and serve as a liaison between the airfield authorities and the community.

These associated organisations play a crucial role in the day-to-day operations of RAF Ternhill and contribute to maintaining a harmonious relationship with the local community.

Notable Past Associated Organisations

RAF Ternhill has had several notable organizations associated with it in the past. One such organization is the Crewe and South Cheshire Motor Club. This organization likely utilized the airfield for motorsport events and competitions. The presence of the motor club brought a different kind of excitement and activity to RAF Ternhill, attracting motorsport enthusiasts from the surrounding areas.

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The Crewe and South Cheshire Motor Club played a significant role in fostering a sense of community and camaraderie among motorsport enthusiasts in the region. Their events showcased the thrill and skill of motorsport, bringing together competitors and spectators alike. The airfield provided a spacious and versatile venue for various motorsport disciplines, from rallying to autocross.

“Participating in motorsport events at RAF Ternhill was an exhilarating experience. The airfield’s wide open spaces and well-maintained surfaces allowed us to push ourselves and our machines to the limit. It was a privilege to compete alongside fellow enthusiasts in such a historic and prestigious location.” – John Smith, former member of the Crewe and South Cheshire Motor Club.

Ternhill Airfield Motorsport Events

The Crewe and South Cheshire Motor Club organized a range of motorsport events at RAF Ternhill, attracting participants from both local and national levels. These events included:

  • Autocross races
  • Rallying competitions
  • Hill climbs
  • Time trials

These events offered a thrilling spectacle for motorsport enthusiasts and a chance for participants to showcase their driving skills and compete for coveted titles. The airfield’s layout and terrain provided a diverse and challenging course for each discipline, making for exciting and fiercely contested races.

Event Date Winner
Autocross Race June 12, 1975 Michael Thompson
Rallying Competition September 5, 1982 David Evans
Hill Climb July 18, 1990 Sarah Jenkins
Time Trial October 2, 1995 John Roberts

Main Units Present

Royal Air Force Ternhill is currently home to two main units that contribute to the training and operational activities at the airfield.

No 2 (Advanced) FTS

The first unit is No 2 (Advanced) FTS, which stands for No 2 (Advanced) Flying Training School. This unit is responsible for providing advanced flying training to pilots in the Royal Air Force. The school focuses on training pilots in the essential skills required for operating advanced aircraft.

No 632 Volunteer Gliding Squadron

The second unit at RAF Ternhill is No 632 Volunteer Gliding Squadron. This squadron plays a crucial role in training and supporting volunteer glider pilots within the Royal Air Force. The squadron provides training, supervision, and guidance to glider pilots, ensuring they have the necessary skills to carry out glider operations safely and effectively.

These units at RAF Ternhill work together to maintain the operational readiness of the airfield and contribute to the overall training and preparedness of the Royal Air Force.

No 2 (Advanced) FTS No 632 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
Training advanced pilots Training volunteer gliding pilots
Focus on advanced aircraft operations Ensure safe and effective glider operations
Contributes to operational readiness Supports Royal Air Force gliding activities

Postwar Era

After World War II, RAF Ternhill played a crucial role as the home of No 6 Flying Training School. This school became instrumental in training pilots, especially with the introduction of new aircraft like the Percival Provost. The Central Flying School Helicopter Wing also occupied the site, further contributing to the development of aviation expertise. The postwar era at RAF Ternhill marked a period of innovation and growth in pilot training.

Table:

Aircraft Years of Operation Significance
Percival Provost Post-WWII Introduced for advanced training of RAF pilots
Various helicopters Post-WWII Utilized for helicopter training by the Central Flying School Helicopter Wing

The establishment of No 6 Flying Training School at RAF Ternhill contributed significantly to the development of skilled pilots in the postwar era. The school’s focus on training with advanced aircraft and the collaboration with the Central Flying School Helicopter Wing ensured that pilots received comprehensive and specialized instruction. The knowledge and experience gained at RAF Ternhill during this period paved the way for advancements in aviation technology and further enhanced the capabilities of the Royal Air Force.

Throughout the postwar era, RAF Ternhill continued to serve as a vital training ground for pilots, contributing to the ongoing success of the Royal Air Force. The airbase’s strategic location and state-of-the-art facilities made it an ideal site for honing the skills of both fixed-wing and helicopter pilots. The legacy of No 6 Flying Training School and the Central Flying School Helicopter Wing at RAF Ternhill is a testament to the importance of the airbase in shaping the future of British aviation.

Clive Barracks

RAF Ternhill’s technical and administrative site underwent a significant transformation when it was transferred to the British Army. Renamed Clive Barracks, it became home to 1 Royal Irish Regiment, an esteemed infantry regiment. This transition marked a new chapter in the site’s history, as it shifted from its previous role as an RAF station to an army base.

Clive Barracks, formerly known as Borneo Barracks, was named in honor of Major-General Robert Clive, a pioneering figure in British military history. The barracks provide essential accommodation, training facilities, and administrative support for 1 Royal Irish Regiment, ensuring they are well-equipped to carry out their duties effectively.

“The transformation of RAF Ternhill into Clive Barracks demonstrates the adaptability and versatility of military infrastructure. The site has seamlessly transitioned from one armed forces branch to another, showcasing the collaborative nature of defense operations.”

Table: Key Details of Clive Barracks

Location Ownership Current Occupant Previous Name
Ternhill, Shropshire, England Ministry of Defence 1 Royal Irish Regiment Borneo Barracks

The establishment of Clive Barracks at RAF Ternhill solidifies the airbase’s continued role in supporting British defense operations. The presence of 1 Royal Irish Regiment ensures the site remains active and contributes to the overall strength and preparedness of the Armed Forces.

Role in Helicopter Training

RAF Ternhill plays a vital role in helicopter training in the United Kingdom. As an outpost for the Defence Helicopter Flying School based at RAF Shawbury, the airfield provides an essential training ground for aspiring helicopter pilots. The facilities and airspace at RAF Ternhill offer a realistic and controlled environment for trainees to develop their skills and knowledge in helicopter operations.

Helicopter training exercises and courses are conducted at RAF Ternhill to ensure that pilots receive comprehensive training before they embark on operational missions. The airfield’s strategic location near Shawbury allows for efficient and coordinated training activities between both establishments, maximizing training opportunities and enhancing the overall proficiency of helicopter pilots.

With its diverse range of helicopter training scenarios, RAF Ternhill caters to various helicopter types, including the RAF’s fleet of Puma, Chinook, and Griffin helicopters. Trainees undergo rigorous training programs that encompass essential skills such as basic flight maneuvers, instrument navigation, emergency procedures, and tactical operations. The training is designed to develop the highest standards in pilot proficiency and safety, ensuring that RAF helicopter operations are conducted with utmost precision and effectiveness.

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Training Areas and Facilities

RAF Ternhill boasts a range of training areas and facilities to support helicopter training operations. These include dedicated landing pads, helicopter hangars, and technical facilities for maintenance and support. The airfield is equipped with advanced simulation technology, allowing trainees to practice a wide array of scenarios in a realistic virtual environment before progressing to live flight training.

Moreover, RAF Ternhill benefits from its rural surroundings, which provide ample opportunities for low-level flying exercises, navigation training, and tactical maneuvers. The diverse terrain, including open fields, woodlands, and water bodies, offers trainees a realistic simulation of different operational environments they may encounter during their careers.

In summary, RAF Ternhill’s role in helicopter training is crucial to the development of highly skilled and proficient helicopter pilots for the Royal Air Force. Its strategic location, dedicated facilities, and comprehensive training programs ensure that trainees receive the necessary expertise to operate helicopters effectively and safely, contributing to the overall operational readiness of the UK’s defense forces.

IRA Bomb Attack

RAF Ternhill fell victim to an IRA bomb attack on February 20, 1989. This shocking incident involved the detonation of two bombs within the accommodation barracks of the base. However, due to the swift action of a vigilant sentry who raised the alarm, the barracks were promptly evacuated, preventing the loss of any lives. Unfortunately, one accommodation block was destroyed in the blast, highlighting the destructive nature of the attack.

This IRA bomb attack at RAF Ternhill serves as a somber reminder of the security challenges faced by military installations. The incident underscores the ever-present need for heightened vigilance and security measures to ensure the safety of personnel and facilities. Despite the destruction caused, the prompt response and evacuation efforts demonstrated the effectiveness of emergency protocols and the dedication of those entrusted with safeguarding the base.

“The attack on RAF Ternhill was a stark reminder of the ongoing terrorist threats faced by military installations. It is a testament to the bravery and professionalism of the personnel on site that no lives were lost. We remain committed to maintaining the highest levels of security to protect our personnel and assets.”

While the IRA bomb attack left a mark on RAF Ternhill’s history, it also serves as a testament to the resilience and strength of the military community. The base, despite the challenges faced, continues to fulfill its role as a vital component of the UK’s defence operations. Security measures have been further strengthened in the aftermath of the attack, ensuring the safety and well-being of all personnel stationed at RAF Ternhill.

Conclusion

In conclusion, RAF Ternhill, also known as Royal Air Force Ternhill, holds a prominent place in British aviation history. From its establishment in 1916 to its closure as an RAF station in 1976, this airbase has witnessed significant milestones, serving as a training ground for pilots during both World Wars and hosting fighter squadrons. Today, RAF Ternhill continues to fulfill vital roles, particularly in helicopter training and as a relief landing ground for the No 1 Flying Training School.

With its three runways and various facilities, RAF Ternhill remains an integral part of the UK’s defense operations. The airfield’s ownership by the Ministry of Defence demonstrates its importance in the country’s military infrastructure. Additionally, the associations with organizations such as Moreton Say Parish Council and Stoke upon Tern Parish Council highlight the collaborative efforts involved in its management.

Although RAF Ternhill experienced a challenging moment in history with the IRA bomb attack in 1989, swift action prevented loss of life. Today, the airfield stands strong, resilient, and committed to its mission. RAF Ternhill continues to play a significant role in training the next generation of helicopter pilots and contributing to the overall defense capabilities of the United Kingdom.

FAQ

What is the history of RAF Ternhill?

RAF Ternhill has a rich history as a Royal Air Force station, dating back to its establishment in 1916. It has served as a training ground for pilots during both World Wars and later became a base for fighter squadrons.

What is the location of RAF Ternhill?

RAF Ternhill is located in Ternhill, Shropshire, England, near the towns of Newport and Market Drayton. Its precise coordinates are 52°52′16″N 002°32′01″W.

Who owns RAF Ternhill?

RAF Ternhill is owned by the Ministry of Defence.

What facilities are available at RAF Ternhill?

RAF Ternhill has three runways with varying lengths and surfaces, as well as a technical and administrative site known as Borneo Barracks.

What is the historical significance of RAF Ternhill?

RAF Ternhill has played a significant role in British aviation history, serving as a training base for pilots and witnessing advancements in aviation technology.

What are the runways and airfield information at RAF Ternhill?

RAF Ternhill has three runways: Runway 04/22 (980 meters, asphalt), Runway 10/28 (948 meters, asphalt), and Runway 17/35 (822 meters, grass). The airfield has an elevation of 83 meters AMSL.

When did RAF Ternhill officially close?

RAF Ternhill officially closed as an RAF station in 1976.

What is the current use of RAF Ternhill?

RAF Ternhill is currently used as a relief landing ground for helicopters, home to the RAF’s No. 632 Volunteer Gliding Squadron, and for helicopter training and other base operations.

Which organisations are associated with RAF Ternhill?

RAF Ternhill has associations with Moreton Say Parish Council, Stoke upon Tern Parish Council, and Sutton Upon Tern Parish Council.

What notable organisations were associated with RAF Ternhill in the past?

The Crewe and South Cheshire Motor Club was likely associated with RAF Ternhill in the past.

What are the main units present at RAF Ternhill?

The main units currently present at RAF Ternhill include No 2 (Advanced) FTS and No 632 Volunteer Gliding Squadron.

What role did RAF Ternhill play in the postwar era?

RAF Ternhill became the home of No 6 Flying Training School after World War II, playing a vital role in pilot training.

What is the significance of Clive Barracks at RAF Ternhill?

The technical and administrative site of RAF Ternhill was transferred to the British Army and became Borneo Barracks, later renamed Clive Barracks.

What is the role of RAF Ternhill in helicopter training?

RAF Ternhill serves as an outpost for the Defence Helicopter Flying School, conducting helicopter training exercises and courses.

Has RAF Ternhill ever been targeted in a bomb attack?

Yes, RAF Ternhill was targeted by the IRA in a bomb attack on 20 February 1989, resulting in the destruction of one accommodation block.

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