THE STATION

RAF Henlow in Bedfordshire provides the support to enable lodger units to deliver global operations.

 

Commander

Wing Commander J C A (Chris) Brooke BSc (Hons) RAF

Wing Commander Chris Brooke was commissioned into the Royal Air Force in 1997. Following Initial Officer Training and Supply Branch Officer Training at RAFC Cranwell, his first tour was commanding the Motor Transport Flight at RAF Coltishall.  Specialist training as an Air Movements Officer followed with subsequent tours at RAF Brize Norton and RAF Lossiemouth before a staff tour at HQ Air Command travelling the world organizing logistics support for RAF exercises. Employment in the Joint arena followed with tours on the Joint Helicopter Support Unit as 2 I/C and in DE&S as the System Manager for the Air Movements Information System (AMIS).

Following promotion to Squadron Leader he completed tours in DSCOM running the Air Freight and Passenger Booking Centre, and in HQ 2 Group Air Safety Centre before being posted to command the Logistics Squadron at RAF Leuchars supporting the Typhoon Force and subsequently overseeing the drawdown and closure of the Unit.  Further tours in HQ Air followed with responsibility for the Resources and Plans manpower portfolio and subsequently for logistics capability strategy. As a Wing Commander he has been employed within UKStratCom as the Air and Logistics SME on a programme tasked with the review and transformation of the entirety of Defence Support processes and updating the Support Information Systems portfolio, and most recently as the Integrated Logistics Lead for the Air ISTAR Delivery Team in DE&S.  Operational tours have regularly punctuated his career with tours on Op RESINATE(North) in Turkey supporting the Jaguar Force in the lead up to Op TELIC; on Op HERRICK in Kandahar where he was responsible for commanding the NATO Air Movements Organization tasked with the processing of all passengers and freight for inbound and outbound aircraft to the Theatre; and on Op KIPION / Op TORAL as the Senior Air Movements Officer for the Middle East Theatre of Operations responsible for 5 airfields and all air movements activity in the region. In early 2019 he was detached to DExEU to provide Border and Customs planning expertise in support of Government BREXIT preparations. 

Wing Commander Brooke took command of RAF Henlow in 2022.

Who's based here

HISTORY

The RAF was only six weeks old when Lieutenant Colonel Robert Francis Stapleton-Cotton and a party of 40 airmen arrived from RAF Farnborough on 10 May 1918. 

The Lieutenant Colonel was to become the first CO of RAF Henlow in August 1918.  Although still under construction, the Depot had achieved a limited output of Bristol Fighters and De Havilland aircraft.

In the original list of RAF Stations for April 1918, Henlow counts among only five other stations which remain open as RAF stations today: Halton, Leuchars, Northolt, Waddington and Wittering. 

During the war years, RAF Henlow became one of the largest RAF Maintenance Units in the country and made an invaluable contribution to the war effort.  It is a proud part of our history that RAF Henlow contributed (albeit indirectly) to the Battle of Britain, repairing Hurricanes that were damaged during the Battle. 

After World War Two, a new role developed for the station, that of radio equipment calibration and signals development. 

Through the years RAF Henlow has been home to the Parachute Test Unit, the Royal Air Force Technical College, the RAF Officer Cadet Training Unit (OCTU) and the Officers’ Command School & Intermediate Command & Staff Course.

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