THE STATION

Royal Air Force Woodvale, near Formby in Merseyside, is currently home to flying units providing flying training to University Air Squadron students and giving air experience flights to Air Cadet Organisations within the North West.

It is also home to 611 (West Lancashire) Squadron RAuxAF.

Commander

Wing Commander D Hooton RAF

Following previous service with the Royal Navy Wing Commander Hooton transferred to the Royal Air Force in 2004.  On completion of a number of operational tours he undertook training at the Defence Helicopter Flying School (DHFS) to become a Qualified Helicopter Instructor in 2007.  On promotion to Squadron Leader he completed a staff tour at DHFS as Staff Officer 2 Training Policy.  Remaining with DHFS he took command of 60 (Reserve) Squadron in 2011.  During this time he was responsible for providing support to Op Olympics in 2012.   

He retired from full time service in 2014.  However, on completion of a Qualified Flying Instructor Course he took command of Number 10 Air Experience Flight here at RAF Woodvale. 

In 2016 he was selected for the new post of University Air Squadrons Wing Commander North (now renamed 19 Training Wing) and Station Commander RAF Woodvale. 

KEY DATES

  • 1941 - Station opened with 308 (Krakowski) Squadron being the first flying unit.
  • 1945 - Station closed at the end of the War after acting briefly as a Royal Naval Air Station (as HMS Ringtail II).
  • 1946 - Re-opened with 611 Squadron RAuxAF flying Spitfires, and later Gloster Meteors.
  • 1951 - Liverpool University Air Squadron moves to Woodvale.
  • 1953 - Manchester University Air Sqn (later Manchester & Salford) move to Woodvale.
  • 1957 - Saw the last operational RAF Spitfire flight as part of the meteorological unit based there.
  • 1958 - Number 10 Air Experience Flight formsat Woodvale.
  • 2006 - 631 Volunteer Gliding Squadron moved to the Station (becoming 631 Aerospace Ground Training Squadron in 2018).
  • 2013 - 611 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force reforms at Woodvale.

HISTORY

RAF Woodvale was constructed as an all-weather night fighter airfield for the defence of Liverpool becoming operational in December 1941.  During the Second World War RAF squadrons were brought up from the south of England to 'rest' for short periods, during which time they defended Merseyside.  In April 1945, Woodvale briefly became a Tender for the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm airfield at Burscough, HMS Ringtail, being given the name HMS Ringtail II.

After a period of inactivity, Woodvale reopened on 22 July 1946, when the Spitfire F14s of No. 611 (West Lancashire) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force, reformed here.  The Temperature and Humidity Flight (THUM), operating Spitfires and Mosquitos, was based there from 1953 to 1958.  In June 1957 the British legend, the Spitfire, made its last operational flight, in active British military markings, from RAF Woodvale.

TRAINING STATION 

 Since 1971, RAF Woodvale has remained a training station and is currently home to: 

  • Liverpool University Air Squadron. 
  • Manchester and Salford University Air Squadron
  • 10 Air Experience Flight. 
  • 631 Aviation Ground School (formerly 631 VGS). 
  • 611 (West Lancashire) Squadron RAuxAF. 
  • Headquarters Merseyside Wing of the RAF Air Cadets. 
  • 611 (Woodvale)  Squadron ATC. 
  • Woodvale Aircraft Owners' Limited.

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