RAF Woodvale

RAF Woodvale

RAF Woodvale is a Royal Air Force airfield located four miles south of Southport, Merseyside in a village called Formby. Although constructed as an all-weather night fighter airfield for the defense of Liverpool, it did not open until 7 December 1941. This was just after the Liverpool Blitz, which had peaked in May. Squadrons were brought up from the south of England to 'rest' for short periods, whilst defending Merseyside. 308 (Krakowski) Squadron was the first to arrive, on 12 Dec 1941, from RAF Northolt. Squadrons were rotated regularly. Several were Polish, including 315(Deblinski) Sqn and 317(Wilenski) Sqn. Spitfire IIs and Vbs were operated by these units. Support units working with all three Services also served there, calibrating anti-aircraft guns and towing targets for the Royal Navy. In April 1945, Woodvale briefly became a Tender for the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm airfield at Burscough, [HMS Ringtail], to become HMS Ringtail II.

After a period of uncertainty, Woodvale reopened on 22 July 1946, when the Spitfire F14's of No. 611 (West Lancashire) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force, moved here from Liverpool Airport at Speke. The squadron re-equipped with Spitfire F22's in June 1948. Gloster Meteor F4 and T7 jets were flown between 1950 until 9 July 1951. The Squadron moved to RAF Hooton Park, where it remained until its disbandment on 10 March 1957.

No.5 Civilian Anti-Aircraft Co-Operation Unit moved to Woodvale on 1 January 1958, and operated target-towing Meteors until 30 September 1971 when the unit was disbanded.

Since 1971, RAF Woodvale has remained a training station and is currently home to:

  • Liverpool University Air Squadron- LUAS moved in from RAF Hooton Park 2 July 1951.
  • Manchester and Salford University Air Squadron (then named Manchester University Air Squadron), MASUAS moved in from Manchester's Barton Aerodrome in March 1953.
  • 10 Air Experience Flight - 10 AEF was formed at RAF Woodvale 25 August 1958.
  • [631 Volunteer Gliding Squadron] - 631 VGS moved in from RAF Sealand in March 2006.
  • Merseyside Police Air Support Group - MPASG.
  • Headquarters Merseyside Wing of the Air Training Corps.
  • 611 (Woodvale) Squadron ATC.
  • Woodvale Aircraft Owners' Group - WAOG.
  • East Lancashire Wing ATC Fly there at AEF10 (e.g. 1263 Rochdale ATC).
  • Cumbria and Lancashire Wing ATC Fly at 10AEF (e.g. 92 (Chorley) Squadron ATC).

In 1971, RAF Woodvale hosted the first annual Woodvale International Rally, a charitable event that originally began as a model aircraft show. It has grown over the years to include car clubs with both classic cars, vintage cars and other vehicle displays.


  • The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force 1918-1988, J.J. Halley, Air-Britain, Tonbridge, 1988, ISBN 0-85130-164-9

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