On Wednesday 7th of December, Reg Yorke was present at Dune Heath for the unveiling of an RAF Woodvale Historical Interpretive Panel. He was joined by members of the Civic Society, Fiona Whitfield of the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside, Officers of RAF Woodvale and Aldon Ferguson, the airfield historian. The Panel bears the wording:
'Lest we forget':-
"In memory of all airmen and aircrew killed on service at RAF Woodvale from 1st September 1939 to 31st July 1947",
together with all their names, rank, squadron.
We now aim to have this Panel recognised officially as a War Memorial.
This memorial is located at Freshfield Dune Heath Nature Reserve which is the single largest lowland heath site on Merseyside.
RAF Woodvale was designed as a fighter airfield for the defence of Merseyside, but was completed too late for the 1940-41 Blitz. The base was officially opened on 7th December 1941, two months after its first runway had been completed and continued this task for the duration of the war.
In 1943, No.222 (Dutch) Squadron’s Spitfires added to the Polish squadrons already based at Woodvale. Night protection was undertaken by Beaufighters and Mosquitos; Woodvale became Sector Control Station for the North West, controlling all operational flying, especially enemy aircraft interceptions.
In June 1957 a Spitfire made one of the last operational Spitfire flights in active British military markings from RAF Woodvale. No.5 Civilian Anti-Aircraft Co-Operation Unit moved in on 1st January 1958 and operated Meteors until 30th September 1971.
RAF Woodvale is probably the last “temporary” RAF site built to protect our shores during WW2 to remain active today.
8th December 2016
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