THE “full story” on the history of RAF Burtonwood is set to take place at two special lectures on Monday April 16 and and 23.
The lectures will be given by Burtonwood Association founder and honorary lifetime president Aldon Ferguson at the Gulliver’s Hotel, next to the association’s heritage centre.
The RAF was formed as the world’s first independent air force on 1 April 1918, 100 years ago this weekend.
RAF Burtonwood was opened on 1 April 1940 as a RAF Aircraft Receipt, Maintenance and Repair Unit and immediately started issuing Spitfires into RAF squadrons fighting in the Battle of Britain.
After rapidly growing in size and output the base was sending over 150 aircraft per month to the front line.
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the USAAC needed bases in Britain, especially maintenance bases, and Burtonwood was ideal being near Liverpool and its docks and a reasonable distance away from marauding German bombers.
Burtonwood grew to become the largest and busiest US air base in Britain and played a pivotal role in wining WWII. It was home to over 18,000 US military personnel and had a lasting impact on the NW of England.
At the end of hostilities Burtonwood was the last USAAF base in Britain to close and was handed back to the RAF in mid-1946.
Hardly two years later the Americans agreed with the British government to base bombers on British soil as a deterrent to the Soviet threat of aggression.
Burtonwood again sprung to the forefront and was reoccupied and massively extended, supporting first the Berlin Air Lift and then the bombers here on temporary duty.
The Americans stayed until 1993 and these two lectures tell the entire story from beginning to end. The first lecture covers the period from opening to the end of WWII and the second is the story of Burtonwood in the Cold War when occupied by both the USAF and US Army.
The lectures are at Gulliver’s Hotel, Gulliver’s World, Warrington and are free to members but there is a charge of £10 for both lectures to non-members.
They start at 7pm, will be finished by 10pm and there will be a break mid-way. The lectures will be fully illustrated by photos and video clips.
Previous lectures were totally oversubscribed, and entry is restricted to pre-booked tickets only. For details please contact Aldon Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org.