RAF Oakington – Cambridgeshire

RAF Oakington closed many years ago – in 1999 to be precise. A year later the domestic areas were turned into a high security immigration reception centre.

The good news is that technical buildings such as boiler-rooms and hangars aren’t on the IRC site. The even better news is that there’s a car boot sale on this part of the site every weekend, making access really easy.

But now for some bad news. The whole site is to go to make way for a new Cambridge commuter town…

Hangars

There are four hangars on site – two J-types with curved rooves, and two T2 metal hangars.

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I managed to get inside one of them. Despite being really empty, I was awestruck by it’s size. Things banging on the roof made it ever-so-slightly scary in there (pigeons? expanding metal in the heat?).

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Water Tower / Boilers

There was a delightful brick water tower attatched to a boiler house. As with most places, the ladder had been cut off

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Inside the boiler house were, er, boilers…

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A metal water tower was also there.

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An office

A lot of the buildings were sealed up, but I managed to get into a few. The first seemed to be some sort of office/records building.

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A stores building

The other seemed to be a stores building. It had ramps & bays for (un)loading vans

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Other buildings etc

All locked up.

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274 Responses to RAF Oakington – Cambridgeshire

  1. David Pulman says:

    Ooops – wish there was an edit function – my poor typing having left a number of clumsy typos above!

  2. alan silman says:

    I was at RAFOakington from 1955 -1958 worked in the major servicing hanger mostly on the aircraft handling section but then promoted to JT and spent some time in the tyre bay .taken ill in1957 and sent to RAF Halton where i was discharged in 1958

  3. RAY HUYTON says:

    AS YOU MAY SEE I WAS AT OAKINGTON FROM 1954 TO56 WORKING IN THE SAFETY EQUIP SECTION. IF YOU WORKED IN A,S F, YOU WOULD REMEMBER CHIEFY ENGLAND, AND MEN LIKE STAN MC CABE.TONY FAULKENER.

  4. michael (mick)weston says:

    Worked at oakington 1950/60 in the officers mess kitchen had some good times met a lot of officers and some good mates , went across the airfield home to cambridge waiting for the jets to land, will go back soon to have a look while we can

  5. RAYHUYTON says:

    I MET A GIRL IN CAMBRIDGE. AND AFTER MY DEMOB.WE MARRIED IN 1957.

  6. michael (mick)weston says:

    ps Lived in amq longstanton from 1948/58 father fl/sergent at oakington for some time cecil(tommy) weston engine fitter served 27 years . when father posted stayed in married quaters for a while when family moved stayed and worked on the camp for a few years as a civy in both offices mess,failed my medical for raf but still worked there met a lot of guys one being ac2 craft who i saw in last couple of years who was mess manager at raf wyton left raf as s w o

  7. RAY HUYTON says:

    HI MICHAEL.I RECOLLECT CHIEFY WESTON AND HE WOULD HAVE KNOWN FLT SGT SPALDING WHO WAS THE PTI CHIEFY..WHO ALSO LIVED IN MARRIED QUARTERS. I HAD MANY A GOOD NIGHT AT THE BLACK HORSE AND THE HOOPS PUBS,,HE WOULD ALSO REMEMBER TWO OF MY SERGEANTS, I.E SRG MONTY RUTHERFORD AND SRG WINDIATE BOTH OF THE SAFETY EQUI SECTION,LET ME KNOW IF HE HAS ANY RECOLLECTIONS OF THEM CHEERS RAY

  8. michael (mick)weston says:

    high ray sorry to say my father passed away a few years ago but glad of your interest also you mensioned flt /sgt spalding did he suffer with chest problems as i remember a pti from the married quaters who helped me with my asthmas regards mike weston

  9. RAY HUYTON says:

    YES MICHAEL CHIEFY SPALDING WAS A BIG BARREL CHESTED BLOKE AS A MATTER OF INTEREST HE, ALTHOUGH,NOT A PARACHUTIST, MDE 99 LIVE DESCENTS. NOTHER FLT SRG FRON THE AIR SERVICING FLIGH WAS CHIEFY ENGLAND. A VERY FIT MAN AND A CHAMPION RAF POLE VAULTER , I HAVE MANY MEMORIES OF OAKINGTON , CHEERS RAY

  10. Maurice Gilbey says:

    My uncle was there as a civy for many years and was called “Fred” he was the cleaner and as I recall a popular character, I can remember once that he brought a photo home signed by the “Red Arrows” when they regulary stop off there, he lived in nearby Girton -Anybody remember him!
    Mo

  11. Graham Taylor says:

    Great site. Was at Oakington with the CCF for a while in 1965, the whole place had a great nostalgic atmosphere. Main memories were of the many happy and noisy hours in the Varsities and flying over other bases with Vulcans lined up ready to go at short notice – where were they? Failed RAF Medical so ended up at RAE Farnborough messing around with bits of Concorde.Was that really bromide in the RAF tea and coffee? No-one believes me now!
    Graham Taylor Orewa New Zealand

  12. RAY HUYTON says:

    I HAVE POSTED A COUPLE OF ARTICLES ABOUT OAKINGTON GRAHAM WE HAD A VERY GOOD RUGBY TEAM. AND AT ONE PERIOD.COULD NOT BE BEATEN. WE HAD A VERY GOOD AND CLASSY CENTRE,A PILOT OFFICER PEREIRA, A RNZ AIRFORCE CHAP TRAINING TO FLY JET AICRAFT,

  13. Goose Taylor says:

    Further to the earlier comment about the 7 SqnLancaster shot down in France i think current serving members of & sqn (Odiham) still go there once a year on the anniversary to lay a wreath as the locals still (or at least in my time on 7) honour the site.
    I never attended the service/parade (unfortunately) but several of my colleagues did.
    Great site.
    Goose (ex 7 Sqn RAF 1996 – 1991)

  14. Jane (nee Bidwell ex Smith) says:

    Very nostalgic! I had the honour to serve at Oakington from1972 to 1975 in Air Traffic Control. I loved it there. I’m sorry to tell you, but Peter Macorkingdale died in the summer of 2008 – he was a great CO – and will be sadly missed.

    Please keep the memories coming.

    Regards

    Jane

  15. RAY HUYTON says:

    HI JANE YOU WILL HAVE NOTICED THAT I HAVE POSTED ITEMS.I HAD A MATE AT OAKINGTON HE WAS NEV BIDWELL FROM RAMSDEN SQUARE KINGS HEADGES CAMBRIDGEN ANY RELATION ?

  16. Philip Matthews says:

    I am the custodian of the Distinguished Flying Medal and other medals awarded to Flight Sergeant Dennis Howard Glynn Poole,7 Squadron,RAF.,who took off from Oakington at 23.09: 29 June 1941 in Sterling Mk.1, No.N3664 MG-Z en-route for Hamburg.The aircraft was shot down by nightfighter ace Oblt. Helmut Lent and crashed at Zeven north east of Bremen.All the crew were killed and are buried at Brecklingen War Cemetery.I have an original photograph of Poole together with newspaper cuttings concerning the award of the DFM and his death.Should anyone wish further information please contact me – philip@dmd-services.co.uk

  17. Peter Dunn says:

    RE. Mark Miller’s grandfather: Mark – I’m afraid that I can’t provide any info. on your grandfather’s time at Oakington. However, I thought that I’d just mention that my late father, Fred Dunn, was also an electrician at Oakington around the same years during the war and was a corporal (or RAF equivalent). I recall my mother saying that he was due to be posted to the campaign against Japan just before they surrendered. He also received an Oak Leaf award – I think it was something to do with modifications to aircraft bomb doors.

    Regards

    Peter

  18. Carol Moule (Nee Gosden) says:

    My father was a Canadian Exchange Officer posted to Oakington in the late 70′s. He flew with the Army Air Corps. I have fond memories of dog-sitting Simon Gordon-Duff’s black lab, “Tarquin” which we would take for runs along the old airfield- Mum would be driving our old blue Colt stationwagon while Tarquin would run alongside. Finding this sight brought back some good memories, but I am disappointed to see what has become of the base.

    Carol Moule (nee Gosden)

  19. RAY HUYTON says:

    CAROL, IHAVE POSTED FEW ITEMS ON THIS SITE WHEN I WAS SERVING AT OAKINGTON IN THE EARLY FIFTIES. THE SITE AND FACILITIES AND THE SENIOR STAFF WHERE UN BLEMISHED. I HAD TWO GOOD YEARS HERE ENJOYING A SMART CLEAN AND DICIPLINED AIR FORCE BASE. CHEERS RAY ,

  20. Shaun Hagerty says:

    It was great to read your website I was stationed at RAF Oakington from 1954-1958 what bwas also good to read was my old friends name Rod Hough there was a trio of us Rod,Peter Turvey and myself. I also red the name of Squadron Leader Tunstall was he the chap who left flying behind to comand a small unit only to loose his life being run down on a perimiter track by a RAF Police Land Rover?

  21. ray huyton says:

    HI SHAUN WHAT DEPT WERE YOU IN,THERE WERE TWO STATION COMMANDERS IN MY TIME,, GRP CPT HAWKINS AND GRP CAPT KIRK. I DIDNT KNOW ABOUT SITUATION WITH SQD LEADER TUNSTALL.

  22. hood says:

    I have some photos of my Father standing outside one of the Oakington
    Hangars in 1941 ( he was a Spitfire pilot). Would you be able to recognise if it is still standing? Would like to compare tthe two.

    Kevin Hood

  23. RAY HUYTON says:

    I WOULD THINK SO .

  24. McLeod says:

    Hi my Dad was at Oakington in 1954-1956 or 57 and I was born in 1955. Mum and Dad lived at the Officer’s Caravan site in Longstanton. I have now moved to Swavesey which is just down the road from Longstanton and I am trying to find out more about Dad’s stay here. Unfortunately both my parents are deceased. Do you have any information, paticularly as to where they were post to after Oakington? Dad was a Flt. Lt. and his name was Coliln William Curtis. I have a copy of a Passing Out Parade for 121 Pilot Course dated Wed 17th April 1957, and although his name is down as one of the Flying Instructors, it denotes that he had been posted. I will be thrilled if you have any informtion. Roz

  25. RAY HUYTON says:

    HI ROS ,I DO RECOLLECT FLT LT CURTIS.AS AFLYING INSTRUCTOR. BUT I LEFT OAKINGTON IN SEPTEMBER OF 1956. SO I AM SORRY THAT I CANT GIVE YOU ANY INFORMATION ABOUT HIS POSTING, IREMEMBER MANY FLIGHT INSTRUCTORS,,IE WG CDR TRENT V,C,SQD LDR TUNSTALL. FLT LT STIVAR.FLT LT WANDZILAC. CAPTAIN CAMPBELL U.S. AIR FORCE,CAPTAIN OLSHEFSKY U.S. AIR FORCE CHEERS RAY

  26. McLeod says:

    Thanks for replying and for the information. May be someone else reading this might have some other info. Thanks again. Roz

  27. john turner says:

    i have one or two conections with Oakington, my uncle was stationed there in around 1964/5 he meet my aunt there and married, his name is srg Pete Bailey, my wife and myself with two friends Jean and John used to go to the dances in sargents mess 1968/9, also our daughter meet her husband there when he was stationed with RHF 1990/2.
    very good sight
    john

  28. John Rees says:

    I am the co-author of Espionage in the Ether, the history oif No.192(Bomber Support Squadron (Compaid Graphics). I am interested in the crash of Wellington T2552 on 21.11.1941 from the Signals Investigation unit – 109 Squadron. The aircraft was flown by F/Sgt T A Bates. Also aboard was Sgt Dennis John Mackey, a Special Wireless Operator who was the observer with H E Bufton in 1940 when they confirmed the existence of Knickebein. 7 Squadron at Oakington had taken part in the bombing of Brest on 7/8.11.1941 when a forerunner of the Oboe blind bombing system was used to direct the aircraft. I know that some stirlings were flown by pilots from 109 (E P M Fernbank DFC for one) and that they carried Special Wireless Operators to operate the equipment. The Wellington crashed on approach to Oakington and I can only assume it was connected to the raid of 7/8 November. Any assistance would be appreciated and copies of contemporary 7 Squadron Stirling photos for a new web site.
    Brilliant site
    Regards
    John Rees

  29. John Barker says:

    Do you know that No. 7 squadron, Pathfinders had one of the highest casualty rates of any squadron in the RAF. They were stationed at Oakington for virtually the whole of the war. P.S. I was born in Oakington, and I can remember watching the Lancasters being Bombed-up on the hard standing near High street and Mill road corner, where I lived.

  30. Don McLean says:

    I was at RAF Oakington in 1961, as an Air Cadet from Edinburgh. (1321 squadron)
    I am sending a pic of our group, as I was trying to establish where the picture was taken. You can see the legs of the water tower in the background. They also had a training rig for giving new pilots the experience of using a Martin Baker ejection seat. I am sure that must be long gone.
    Very interesting site.

  31. RAY HUYTON says:

    HI DON. I HAVE POSTED A FEW MESSAGES ON THIS SITE I WAS AT OAKINGTON FROM FEBRUARY 1954 TO SEPTEMBER 1956 .IT WAS THEN N0 5 FLYING TRAINING SHOOL.ONE OF MY JOBS AS A SAFETY EQUIP WORKER WAS TO TEACH PILOTS WHO WERE TRAINING ON VAMPIRE AIRCRAFT TO ESCAPE FROM PARACHUTE HARNESS,INFLATE THERE LIFE JACKETS, AND INFLATE AND CLIMB ONBOARD THEIR ONE MAN RUBBER DINGHY IN THE EVENT OF HAVING TO BALE OUT OVER THE SEA .THIS WE USED TO DO ON WEDNESDAY AFTERNOONS AT THE LEYS, SCHOOL SWIMMING POOL IN CAMBRIDGE .

  32. Phil russell says:

    I was at oakington in 1953/4 in G block room 7 and worked in the workshops as an engineer . my pal was bunny palmer from sidmouth devon .he was in the camps rugby team ,I would like to get in touch with him again if anyone knows of his whereabouts please get in touch with me .i live in truro cornwall.

  33. Andy Macdonald says:

    Hi.
    I’m sorry to hear that RAF Oakington has finally caught the attention of the good ole developer. I wandered when that would happen. It’s heart breaking to think that one more airfield with an incredible history is going to make way for a so called Eco Town. How anything with 10,000 homes could ever be considered as friendly to the environment, is beyond me.
    What a load of nonsense.
    I’m also amazed that England could even accomodate so many homes and people.
    I wander how long it will take before people start to fall off the cliffs due to overcrowding. I love England but it’s in a right mess……time to ulll up the draw bridge, guys…while there’s still room.

  34. RAY HUYON says:

    NEVER A TRUER WORD SPOKEN ANDY REMEMBER THE RIVETRS OF BLOOD SPEECH BY ENOCK POWELL IN THE 60s AND HIS SUGESTIONS ABOUT IMMIGRANTS HE SURE WAS RIGHT, GET BACK TO YOU LATER ANDY .

  35. RAY HUYTON says:

    ANDY TYPE IN::ENOCH POWELL SPEECHES AND YOU WILL FIND THE RIVERS OF BLOOD SPEECH, AS PRINTED IN THE BIRMINGHAM POST ON APRIL THE 22nd1968.

  36. chris marren says:

    Father served there 1961-1963 as a supply officer. I schooled at Hatton Park primary school (Headmaster Mr Fern). We lived at “The Mount”, a very large Married Quarter on the edge of the Varsity dispersal where we observed everything. We played on a Swift on the fire dump near “the mound”. Remember well the arrival of the first 6 Varsities painted in different colours parked on the grass outside our married quarter! We had the married officers caravan park immediately ajoining our rather large garden. There was a shortage of accomodation; we ourselves had to live in an OTMQ (hut!) for 6 months having arrived from Singapore.

  37. Mike Odell says:

    Lovely to see such a great web site. Brought back many happy memories having served on the Varsity flight line from 1964-1968. Such a shame to see the degredation of what was a beautiful station in the 60′s.

  38. Graham Walter says:

    Mike

    My last father Ed Lofty Walter served at the same time, as a chief tech on Varsities, do you remember him?

  39. Graham Walter says:

    Mike

    My late father Ed Lofty Walter served at the same time, as a chief tech on Varsities, do you remember him?

  40. mick mcginlay says:

    hi fellow brothers and sisters i was stationed there from 1990 till 94 i had some off the best times of my life as a young soldier based with the r h f i looked at the pictures of the camp and it nearly brings me to tears off how run down it is we used to patrol the camp at night and it was wonderfull 2 soldiers just having a friendly chat to pass the 2 hours on stag god how i miss my mates

  41. John Harley says:

    I was posted to Oakington in 1953 as an SAC Gas Turbine Mechanic,during my 2 years National Service.
    It was then No 206 Advanced Flying School, equipped with Meteor 4′s & 7′s. In 1954 it became No 5 Central Flying School, equipped with Vampire 5′s & T 11′s. I was billeted in ‘H’ Block and was one of the few ‘erks’ on camp with a car – a 1934 Morris MInor and later with a 1948 Vauhall 12.
    The Station CO was then Grp Capt Hawkins and the Stn Eng Officer was Flt Lt Baisley. One of the Flying Instructors was Sqd Ldr Peter Tunstall (of Colditz Fame) who gave me a flight in a T11 when he and I were detached to RAF Waterbeach while he was doing his type conversion to Vampires.
    I was demobbed in 1955, but retain lots of memories and still have a number of photos of the Meteors and Vampires – which I can add to this site, if requested.
    Very sad to see the old place as it is now.

  42. RAY HUYTON says:

    HI JOHN I HAVE POSTED A FEW MESSAGES. I WAS POSTED TO OAKINGTON FROM RAF WEETON IN MARCH 1954 AS A SAFETY EQUIP WORKER . THE STATION WAS ON A STAND DOWN BECAUSE IT WAS CHANGING FROM 206 A.F,S TO N0 5 FTS AND WAS AWAITING THE ARRIVAL OF VAMPIRE T 5s AND T 11s OUR JOB WAS TO REPACK OVER A HUNDRED CHUTES SERVICE OVER A HUNDRED DINGHYS, AND LIFE JACKETS RE CHARGE DOZENS OF CO2 CYLINDERS FOR INFLATION OF DINGHYS AND LIFE JACKETS,I REMEMBER THE GROUP CPT HAWKINS .FLIGHT LT BAISLEY. AND SQD LDR TUNSTALL.YES IT WAS A GREAT CAMP CLEAN TIDY AND WELL MAINTAINED.I HAVE LOTS OF GOOD MEMORIES OF MY 2 1/2 I LEFT IN SEPTEMBER 1956.

  43. RAY HUYTON says:

    HI JOHN RAY AGAIN. HOW MANY OF THE LADS WORKING IN A,F S IE ENGINE FITTERS,AIR FRAME FITTERS ETC CAN YOU REMEMBER ,AND YES I WOULD LOVE TO SEE THE PHOTOS , CHEERS RAY

  44. John Harley says:

    Hi agian Ray. I remember Bob Howes – engine fitter. We were on ‘B’ Flight together before we went into the ISF. There was a J/T Watson, Scottish chap, in ASF. Also in ASF was Tony Faulkner, Electrician, who later worked in my Drawing Office at Rolls-Royce (Leavesden). I retired in 1991, but still see him at our annual reunions.

  45. RAY HUYTON says:

    HIYA JOHN JT BOB WATSON IN MY BILLET IN G BLOCK WAS IN THE STATION BOXING TEAM WITH ME.TONY FAULKENER, AMATE OF MINE. MENTION ME TO HIM.THERE WAS HIS MATE STAN MC CABE.AND JOHN FARLMER FROM BECKENHAM. DO YO REMEMBER A WING COMMANDER TRENT V.C. OF THE RNZ,AF . STATION ADJ WAS FLT LT MOLLOY . PLAYED HOOKER INTHE RUBY TEAM I PLAYED SCRUM HALF AND AT TIMES STAND OFF. KE4EP IN TOUCH FOR MORE MEMORIES, CHEERS RAY

  46. RAY HUYTON says:

    JOHN IF YOU CAN E MAIL MY ADDRESS IS ph001s7469@blueyonder.co.uk the two zero,s are numbers not letters hope to hear from you.

  47. RAY HUYTON says:

    HI JOHN I HAVE ACCIDENTALLY DELETED TOUR MAIL .COULD YOU PLEASERE SENT THE MESSAGE THANKS. CHEERS RAY

  48. JOHN HARLEY says:

    HI RAY. I’LL SEND THE MAIL AGAIN. I HAVE JUST HAD CONFIRMATION FROM A GUY CALLED DAVE WINDLE THAT PETER TUNSTALL IS STILL ALIVE AND WELL AT 91! – LIVING IN SOUTH AFRICA. DAVE WENT OUT TO SEE HIM IN 2006 AN FILMED AN INTERVIEW IN WHICH HE RELATED HIS WARTIME EXPERIENCES. YOU CAN BUT A COPY OF THIS DVD IF YOU BRIOWSE THE COLDITZ WEB SITE AND LOOK FOR IT. I ORDERED THE DVD AND TOLD DAVE IN A LETTER THAT I KNEW PETER. DAVE THEN CONTACTED PETER ON MY BEHALF AND PETER SAYS HE REMEMBERS ME AND HAS INVITED ME TO GET IN TOUCH – WATCH THIS SPACE!

  49. RAY HUYTON says:

    HI JOHN I RECEIVED YOUR MAIL. VERY INTERESTING. TO HEAR SUCH HISTORY OF OAKINGTON PERSONEL.I DONT KNOW IF I TOLD YOU UT I POSTED AMESSAGE ON THIS SITE. I HAD A GOOD MATE AT OAKINGTON CALLED TONY GRIMLEY HE GOT HIS TAPES UP AND WAS POSTED TO SWANTON MORLEY ,WE LOST TOUCH THEN . BUT KNOWING THAT HE CAME FROM SHEPSHED NEAR LOUGHBOROUGH I WENT ON TO THE FIND THE PERSON SITE ,TYPED IN HIS NAME AND HIS VILLAGE AN TO MY SURPRISE UP CAME HIS DETAILS AND A PHONE NUMBER ,AS I DONT TALK ON HE PHONE MY WIFE RANG THE NUMBER AND EXPLAINED WHO I WAS.TONY WAS MADE UP THAT WE HAD CONTACT AFTER 50 YEARSM WE WENT TO SHEPSHED AND SPENT THE DAYWITH TONY AND LORETTE. THEN WE MET UP AGAIN WHEN HE CAME UP TO OURS, AND MET AGAIN IN BLACKPOOL FOR THE DAY .DIDNT WE GO THOUGH THE TIMES WE HAD ,ANYWAY JOHN THANKS FOR THE MAIL .CHEERS FOR NOW RAY

  50. Julian Evan-Hart says:

    Hi to all, I am currently researching the German nightfighter attacks that took place in 1941 in the areas of Bassingbourn and Oakington. I have researched their missions, which crews and pilots that were involved the RAF bombers they shot down and I even have two fired 20mm shell cases from these attacks. NJG2 made many attacks in these areas and I am looking for first hand eye-witness accounts of these attacks from locals or serving personnel from Oakington. Has anyone found any cannon shells from these attacks? Basically the attacks consisted of shooting down several aeroplanes near Oakington and also low level strafing. I would be delighted to hear from anyone and can be contacted on j.evenhart@ntlworld.com
    Kind regards Julian

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