Flat area near industrial Luton chosen for an Eastern
Command repair depot
First RAF personnel moved in from Farnborough on 10th May
to establish No.5 Eastern Area Aircraft Depot.
By the end of the year 300
women clerks and fabric workers employed.
With the Armistice, fighters were
sold off for 10/- and bombers for £1.
On 1st April airmen awaiting demob mutinied over increased
Long jail sentences were imposed by a Court
Another 161 acres purchased for a flight testing
Became Inland Area Aircraft Depot on 16th March.
story circulated that a large building used to repair Handley Page aircraft was
intended for a pickle factory at Hendon, but that the destination names got
The Officers' Engineering School moved from Farnborough in
Fighter Squadrons No.23 and No.43 reformed at Henlow on 1st
July under home defence changes.
Parachute Test Section formed in
Became Home Aircraft Depot, 21 Group, on 4th April.
Parachute Training Section moved in from Northolt in October, and with the Test
Section became the Parachute Test Unit. The test method was to stand on the wing
of a Vimy bomber, pull the rip cord, and if the 'chute didn't open, hopefully
not to let go.
Squadron No. 43 left for Tangmere in December.
Squadron No.23 left for Kenley in
Personnel assisted with handling of the ill-fated airship
R101 at Cardington.
Under the Expansion Scheme, No.1 Wing trained Fitters 1 and
m/c tool operators, and
No.2 and No.3 Wings trained Flight Riggers and Flight
New accommodation built.
Became the School of Aeronautical Engineering in
The Pilotless Aircraft Section (Queen Bee targets) moved in from
Farnborough in October.
MT Driver training began in January.
No.80 Squadron moved in from Kenley on 15th March, but moved out
again to Debden on 9th June.
Basic Training to supplement the Uxbridge depot
started in July, with 1000 men housed in tents.
Within months they were moved
to huts at Cardington.
The training roles had superseded the original repair
In anticipation of the war, two thirds of the Training Wing moved
to St.Athan, and No.2 Mobilisation Pool was formed with a view to returning to
the repair role.
The Home Aircraft Depot became No.13 MU in
No.1 Wing moved to Halton in April.
The Pilotless Aircraft Section moved to Hawkinge on 22nd
After Dunkirk, 3000 men of No.21 Aircraft Depot were withdrawn to
Henlow, where they worked on unpacking, assembling, testing, modifying and
Two bombs fell on the station with little damage, but
three servicemen were killed by a bomb in Lower Stondon.
Operation "Quick Force" involved 50 to 100 fitters serving
on HMS Furious, and other carriers, dismantling Hurricanes for transport to
About 30 men sailed with each ship to reassemble them for take off,
when 300 miles west of the island.
During the last voyage on 14th November,
HMS Ark Royal was torpedoed by U81, and seven survivors returned to Henlow on the
In March, a Whitley IV was modified to snatch personnel
from the ground with a long line.
A mobile Link Trainer was devised for use by
squadrons on the continent.
The School of Aeronautical Engineering became The Technical
College on 15th August.
On 19th October, The Signals Development Unit moved
in, from West Drayton which was to be used to accommodate 1948 Olympic Games
The Empire Radio School at Debden became the Signals
Division of the Technical College, but didn't move until 1960.
The Signals Development Unit was renamed Radio Engineering
Unit on 1st January.
The Armament Division of the Technical College moved in
from Lindholme in February, and was renamed Engineering and Armament
From April, the College offered courses in guided missile
Henlow raised to Group status in June with the Technical
College consisting of a HQ plus 5 wings:
Basic Studies, Mechanical
Engineering, Electrical Weapons Systems, Engineering, and Cadet
Signals Division of the Technical College, moved from
Debden to Henlow on 8th April.
The Technical College was amalgamated with RAF College,
Officer Cadet Training Unit moved in from
Henlow reduced to being the Radio Engineering
Officer Cadet Training Unit ceased on 24th April.
Camp now shared with the Land Registry.