RAF Bassingbourn is a former Royal Air Force station located in Cambridgeshire approximately 3 mi (5 km) north of Royston, Hertfordshire and 11 mi (18 km) south west of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England.
RAF Bassingbourn was constructed by John Laing & Son between 1937 and 1939 in the parishes of Wendy and Bassingbourn immediately to the west of the A14 (now the A1198) road. The site selected was low ground between several tributaries of the River Cam. The area had been long cleared of forest and tended to be swampy and unstable, and because the boggy ground produced a persistent mist over the large meadow the site was considered ideal for airfield camouflage.
During the Second World War it served first as an RAF station and then as a bomber airfield of the Eighth Air Force, of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). It remains the home of the Tower Museum Bassingbourn. From 19 August 1942 to 25 June 1945, Bassingbourn served as headquarters for the 1st Combat Bombardment Wing of the 1st Bomb Division. It was assigned USAAF designation Station 121.
The RAF resumed occupation of Bassingbourn on 26 June 1945, the airfield was officially returned on 10 July 1945. The station became one of the main airfields for long-range transport aircraft. In 1948 and 1949 Avro York, Avro Lancaster and Douglas Dakota aircraft from the base took part in the Berlin Airlift, a massive operation transporting essential commodities to the beleaguered city.
In February 1952, RAF Bassingbourn received its first allocation of English Electric Canberra bombers and became the first jet bomber operational conversion unit (OCU) in the world. Canberras operated from Bassingbourn for 17 years and one of the aircraft is on static display in the Barracks. From 1963 to 1969 the Joint School of Photographic Interpretation was also located there.
On 29 August 1969, the last RAF Commanding Officer, Sqn Ldr A.M. McGregor MBE, turned over the station to the British Army as Bassingbourn Barracks.
The barracks were established, on the site of the former RAF Bassingbourn airfield, in January 1970, as the new Depot for the Queen's Division. The depot was responsible for training recruits undergoing their 19-week basic training before joining a regular battalion; in 1993 the Barracks were re-designated the home of the "Army Training Regiment, Bassingbourn" and remained as such for nearly 20 years. Bassingbourn Barracks closed as an army training location in August 2012.
The site was reopened for training Libyan soldiers in 2014 but closed down the same year.
Since approximately 1970 the site has retained its RAF links by being the home of 2484 (Bassingbourn) Squadron Air Training Corps.
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