RAF Woodvale – A history talk and some great memories

The other day I spotted that The Atkinson in Southport was advertising an online talk all about the history of our local airfield and thought it would be interesting to know more about it. The talk was at 1 pm today.

My connection with it came during my time as Leader of Sefton Council (2004 – 2011) when I attended the yearly Battle of Britain event held there by the Station Commander. In fact, the great thrill of going to this event was taking along my very good friend Charles (Uncle Albert) Walker who had served with the RAF during WWII as an aircraft electrician, mostly in Gibraltar.

Here’s how The Atkinson advertised the online talk by Military Historian and ex Formby resident Aldon Ferguson:-

‘RAF Woodvale opened in 1941. It was designated to provide fighter cover to protect Merseyside but was too late for the blitz. It did, however, continue to house fighter squadrons for general protection against the Luftwaffe and was a Sector Control Station with responsibility for northwest England. At the end of the war, it became a Royal Navy Air Station prior to a failed attempt by Southport to claim it as Southport Airport. Post-war it housed a large number of support and training squadrons and achieved fame in being the last RAF base to operate Spitfires on routine RAF duty. Still active, RAF Woodvale is currently home to three training units and a Royal Auxiliary Air Force unit.’

And an excellent talk it was too, really enjoyable.

Now back to Uncle Albert at RAF Woodvale, where he must have visited with me half a dozen times. He loved it as the Cadets made such a fuss of him. Having a wartime veteran in their midst was clearly a treat for them as much as it was for Charles who had a new audience for his war exploits. I look back now and smile about those events which made my old friend so happy with this RAF tie proudly on display. Charles died 4 years ago so you can guess that listening to the excellent talk brought back memories for me of a Maghull chap whom I admired so much.

Thank you RAF Woodvale you did him proud.

RAF Woodvale

Two recent developments at RAF Woodvale in Formby have caught the eye

Firstly an RAF Roundel has been painted on the main hanger doors and it’s quite impressive:-

Also the static display aircraft by the gates to the airfield has also been renewed. The Jet Provost has now gone, being replaced by a Hawk XX247:-

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting.

RAF Woodvale – Gets strike aircraft and helicopters as it goes ‘operational’ once more

After years of being an airfield for training aircraft and gliders and a spell as the base for the local police helicopter RAF Woodvale is back in the big time as strike aircraft and helicopters are to be based there from later this year.

Sea King helicopters seen at a Southport Airshow in recent times will now be based at RAF Woodvale

Sea King helicopters seen at a Southport Airshow in recent times will now be based at RAF Woodvale

The news came as quite a surprise to many and it is anticipated that the roar of the jet engines will soon become a common, if unwelcome, feature of life in Formby and Ainsdale.

The potential for Britain leaving the EU is said to be behind the move as the Government prepares for a changing relationship with one of its nearest presently EU partners, the Irish Republic. Should Britain leave the EU then Ireland may well become a less friendly neighbour. ‘In such circumstances an early warning shot is being put across the Irish bows via the strengthening of defences on the north west coast of England’ a statement from the RAF revealed.