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During the war the Warton aerodrome was called USAF Base Air Depot 2 (BAD2) and was spread over a large area in and around the villages of Warton and Freckleton. It was divided into 'sites' numbered from 1 to 13. On handover to the RAF in September 1947 it became RAF Warton and soon after that English Electric moved in. What was to become RAF Freckleton was 13 site located on Hillock Lane.
RAF Lytham was located where the Land Registry now is at the Lytham end of Warton (9 Site). This was a transit camp for personnel being sent abroad. 13 site was part of RAF Lytham and was used for medical training from 1951 to 1955. It was known as the RAF School of Hygiene. 13 site RAF Lytham was renamed to RAF Freckleton when RAF Lytham was closed in January 1956 and became the RAF Institute of Community Medicine. It was a small establishment of WW2 Nissen Huts that were used as Classrooms and one or two 'square-built' buildings which were used by the School of Hygiene and also the NAAFI block. An old Hawker Hunter aircraft cockpit beside one of the Nissen huts was used to 'extract' casualties from. There was also a small group of ex-National Servicemen who used to apply make-up and fake wounds - as well as the occasional severed spurting artery - to help with the training.
Medical training was performed there until 1962 when it was transferred to RAF Halton where it still remains. RAF Freckleton closed soon afterwards.
The site itself became a Ministry of Works Depot which had widespread responsibility for government buildings both civil and military throughout the Fylde. Many of the buildings (all of the huts on the Eastern boundary and the old Officers mess building) were occupied by the Land Registry, Filing Branch which was a subsidiary of its Lytham Office. Premium Bonds had several huts there (on the South boundary) for its Industrial Civil Defence Training School. A lot of the remaining huts were vacant. but most of the bigger and more substantial buildings were in use.
The five Nissan huts and an adjacent building immediately to the left of the main entrance were occupied by No 967 ( Kirkham & South Fylde) Squadron of the Air Training Corps from around 1966 until well into the 80,s when it moved to Warton and became 967 B A E Sqn.
The site was subsequently sold to Arvin who opened a research and development centre for exhaust systems there. Arvin were subsequently taken over by EMCON Technologies who now occupy the site.
This aerial photograph was taken sometime around 1960 and the spitfire can be clearly seen. The aerial photo is taken from the Mario web site.
MT847 entered RAF service with 6 MU on 28th February 1945 and remained in service with 226 OCU as UU-A until 14th November 1950. Stored until 1952, MT847 under went Gate Guardian duties at various RAF Stations, including RAF Freckleton, until 1986 when it was moved to the Aerospace Museum at RAF Cosford. Since 22nd March 1995 it as been on loan to the Manchester Museum of Science and Technology.
This picture shows the site in 2001. Further changes have been made since then.
John Leeson trained at Site 13 in 1956 when it was still part of RAF Warton. You can read about it <here>
Warren Nicholls served at RAF Freckleton and says:
I have an interest story about the Supermarine 379 Spitfire FR14E aircraft, You can imagine that it took pride of place at the entrance to RAF Freckleton, however one Sunday on returning to camp after a weekend pass I was confronted by about 20 RAF Medical Officers all on Basic medical training RAF style. They were being screamed at by the Commanding Officer for removing the Spitfire from its pride of place following a Saturday night drunken escapade, they were pushing the aircraft back into its rightful position. It was a great feeling me being the lowest rank in the Airforce AC2 watching these officers receiving a massive b*****ing from the CO. It turns out that it went in RAF folklore, many people have told me since about it, but I was actually there witnessing a post office red CO venting his spleen on those reprobate junior officers. It was fun!
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