The Station

RAF St Mawgan in Cornwall is a No 22 (Training) Group Station that provides a platform for future and current operations in the south west. The Station is home to the Defence Survive, Evade, Resist, Extract (SERE) Training Organisation and trains around 5,000 personnel from around Defence each year. RAF St Mawgan supports or employs around 3,000 personnel across the region.

Be watchful


Wing Commander Helen Simpson MA BSc (Hons) RAF

Wing Commander Helen Simpson was appointed as Station Commander RAF St Mawgan in August 2023. She joined the Royal Air Force as a Flight Operations Officer in 2001, and her career has included positions on rotary and fast jet Stations and Squadrons; seen multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan; and to Pakistan on Disaster Relief Operations. More recently, following completion of study at the Australian Command and Staff College, she worked at Headquarters Air Command in the Chief of Staff Personnel department.

Who's based here




Trebelzue was commandeered as a satellite field for RAF St Eval in 1941, but transferred to Ferry Command to be an Overseas Aircraft Despatch Unit. The runways proved inadequate, and new runways to the east were constructed, with the name “RAF St Mawgan” adopted in 1943.

It its first year, RAF St Mawgan despatched 1179 United States Army Air Force aircraft to North Africa.

In 1944 a new Instrument Landing System was installed by the Americans. The end of the war in 1945 saw the station draw down to care and maintenance by 1947.

St Mawgan reopened in 1951 operating Lancasters as the School of Maritime Reconnaissance. Air Sea Rescue operations first took place in 1956, with Whirlwind helicopters. Lancaster operations ended in 1956, to be replaced by Shackletons and then Nimrods in 1970.

The Sea King Operational Conversion Unit was formed in 1996, supporting 22 Squadron Search and Rescue HQ. A Joint Maritime Facility was opened in 1995 with the United States Navy, and No 1 Squadron RAF Regiment arrived from Laarbruch in 1999.

The Station drew down again in 2008, with the runway being sold to Cornwall County Council, becoming Cornwall Airport Newquay.

Key dates

1943   Station opened, used by US Army Air Force for ferry operations in World War Two.

1947   The station drew down to care and maintenance, used to house Polish displaced persons.

1951   The station reopened, operating Lancasters at the School of Maritime Reconnaissance.

1996   Sea King Operational Conversion Unit formed, supporting Search and Rescue Operations in the UK.

2008   Runway sold to Cornwall council to become Cornwall Airport Newquay.

2015   505 (Wessex) Squardon (Royal Auxiliary Air Force) is created.

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