united kingdom RAF Benson

Benson, England
united kingdom


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29.3205EGVI RAF Greenham Common, England

1939 to present

51 37 N - 1 6 W
11nm SE of Oxford
Elevation: 203 feet

RAF Benson
Built towards the end of the RAF's 1930s expansion programme, Benson opened in Apr 1939 as a light bomber base and later temporary home to the King's Flight. In 1941, its famous association with Photographic Reconnaissance began and continued until 1951 (a replica Spitfire PR.XI is still the gate guardian). Around 1943, the base was expanded and two paved runways laid. In May 1946, the King's Flight returned and became the Queen's Flight in 1953. After a period with Transport Command, Benson became more heavily involved in rotary wing operations.
The Wessex Training Flight was based between 1980 and 1982. In Jun 1992 Helicopter operations stepped up with the re-formation of 60 Squadron, here. In Apr 1993, this was further strengthened when HQ Support Helicopter Force moved in from RAF Gütersloh in Germany. In Apr 1997, 60 Squadron moved to RAF Shawbury, as part of the Defence Helicopter Flying School, 33 Squadron arrived from RAF Odiham to replace them, to be joined in Jan 1998 by the Pumas from 27 Squadron. The base was affected by the re-tasking of the Support Helicopter Force and its assets to Joint Helicopter Command in Oct 1999. In Jul 2001, they were joined by the newly reformed 28(AC) Squadron's Merlin HC.3s.

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YearsRotary Wing Aircraft Unitbold : Current Model
normal: Unit no longer at this base
2015/    Puma and Chinook Operational Conversion UnitChinook HC.4 2015/   
Puma Mk2 2015/   
CH-47F Chinook 2015/   
2015/16845 squadronMerlin HC.3i 2015/   
Sea King HC.4 1984/15
2014/15846 squadronMerlin HC.3i 2015/   
2009/    230 squadronPuma Mk2 2012/   
sa330 puma 1971/12
2007/    Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulanceec135 2015/   
ec135 2008/   
2007/1478 squadronEH101 Mk.512 2008/14
Merlin HC.3 2007/14
sea king 1986/07
2001/    28 squadronPuma Mk2 2015/   
414 - H-47D Chinook 2015/   
CH-47F Chinook 2015/   
Merlin HC.3 2001/15
1997/    33 squadronPuma Mk2 2012/   
sa330 puma 1971/12
1996/    606 (chiltern) squadron, RAuxAF
1992/9760(r) squadron412 1997/   
Wessex HC.2 1992/97
198172 squadronWessex HC.2 1964/02
1980/82wessex training flightWessex HC.2 1980/82
1953/95queens flightWessex HCC.4 1969/95
whirlwind 1958/69
dragonfly 1954/58
Thames Valley Policeec135 1999/   

News about this location

UK MoD’ MSHATF Renewed with CAE, 23-Oct-17 : UK Ministry of Defence (UK MoD) Medium Support Helicopter Aircrew Training Facility (MSHATF) at RAF Benson involving CH-47 Chinook, Puma and AW101 Merlin Mk3 fleets renewed to CAE

RAF 33 Squadron Marks 100 Years, 13-Jan-16 : Royal Air Force 33 Squadron marked 100 years since its formation. They fly the SA330 Puma since 1971, currently in their HC.2 variant.

Chinooks Arrive At RAF Benson, 23-Oct-15 : Royal Air Force Chinook helicopters and around 150 personnel moved to RAF Benson as the Chinook Mk4/6 Operational Conversion Flight joined their Puma HC.2 colleagues.

Thames Valley Air Ambulance New Training Base, 12-May-15 : Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA) officially open the upgraded operational base and Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) training facility in RAF Benson, Oxfordshire, UK

Royal Air Force Hand Over Merlin To Royal Navy, 01-Oct-14 : Yesterday marked the end of an era for the Royal Air Force and the start of a new one for the Royal Navy as the official handover of the Merlin helicopter took place in a formal ceremony at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire.

03-Jul-12 - UK Marines learn about AW101 at RAF Benson

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