RAF Station Langar is a
former military airfield in Nottinghamshire, England.
airfield is located approximately east-southeast of Radcliffe on
Trent; about north-northwest of London
Opened in 1942 during World War II
was used by both the Royal Air Force
and United States Army Air
. During the war it was used primarily as troop carrier
transport airfield. After the war it was provided to the Royal Canadian Air Force
it as an operational base until 1963.
Today the airfield is the base for the British Parachute Schools,
who use the original control tower for their headquarters. The
former Avro industrial complex is used by private industry. Local
groups of modified car enthusiasts meet for speed tests.
Langar airfield was built during the early months of 1942 to
Class A airfield
the main feature of which was a set of three converging runways
each containing a concrete runway for takeoffs and landings,
optimally placed at 60 degree angles to each other in a triangular
pattern. The concrete runways were a main of 6,000ft at 01/19, and
two secondaries of 4,200 ft at 07/25 and 4,200 ft at 13/31. The
original 36 dispersal hardstands were of the pan type but in the
summer of 1943 14 loops were added to bring the total to 50
connecting to an enclosing perimeter track, of a standard width of
The ground support station was constructed largely of Nissen huts
of various sizes. The support station
was where the group and ground station commanders and squadron
headquarters and orderly rooms were located. Also on the ground
station were where the mess facilities; chapel; hospital; mission
briefing and debriefing; armory; life support; parachute rigging;
supply warehouses; station and airfield security; motor pool and
the other ground support functions necessary to support the air
operations of the group. These facilities were all connected by a
network of single path support roads.
The technical site, connected to the ground station and airfield
originally consisted of two T-2 type hangars but an additional two
were added when the airfield was required to hold 32 Horsa gliders
in store. In addition, various
organizational, component and field maintenance shops along with
the crew chiefs and other personnel necessary to keep the aircraft
airworthy and to quickly repair light and moderate battle damage.
Aircraft severely damaged in combat were sent to repair depots for
major structural repair. The Ammunition dump was located outside of
the perimeter track surrounded by large dirt mounds and concrete
Various domestic accommodation sites were constructed dispersed
away from the airfield, but within a mile or so of the technical
support site, also using clusters of Maycrete or Nissen huts. The
Huts were either connected, set up end-to-end or built singly and
made of prefabricated corrugated iron with a door and two small
windows at the front and back. They provided accommodation for
2,253 personnel, including communal and a sick quarters.
During airborne operations, when large numbers of airborne
parachutists were moved to the airfield, tents would be pitched on
the interior grass regions of the airfield, or wherever space could
be found to accommodate the airborne forces for the short time they
would be bivouacked at the station prior to the operation.
RAF Bomber Command use
The first flying unit arrived in September 1942 when No. 207
Squadron arrived with Lancaster
bombers from RAF
Squadron was a major RAF Bomber
unit and participated in major raids on occupied
Also, in September 1942, A.V. Roe
Ltd. prepared to use a large hangar complex on the west side of
the Langar/Harby road to carry out major repair and maintenance of
remained until October 1943 when it moved to RAF Spilsby.
In November 1943 Langar was transferred to the USAAF Ninth Air
Force as a troop carrier group base. The airfield was used as a
reception base for troop carrier groups flying in from the United
States. The 10th Service Group and 27th Mobile Repair Maintenance
Squadron was established to support these transitory groups before
they moved onto their permanent airfields.
Langar was known as USAAF Station AAF-490
security reasons by the USAAF during the war, and by which it was
referred to instead of location. It's USAAF Station Code was
435th Troop Carrier Group
435th Troop Carrier
Group arrived at Langar on 3 November 1943 from Baer
AAF Indiana with four
squadrons of 56 C-47.
Operational squadrons of the group were:
The 435th TCW was assigned to the 53rd Troop Carrier Wing.
began operational training at the airfield, however it was moved on
25 January 1944 to RAF
Welford to train alongside the 101st Airborne
438th Troop Carrier Group
remained vacant for about a month until the 438th Troop Carrier Group
arrived in early February 1944 from Baer AAF, Indiana.
Operational squadrons of the group were:
The 438th TCW was assigned to the 53rd Troop Carrier
. Like its predecessor, the group was moved
south after a month to a new station at RAF Greenham
441st Troop Carrier Group
441st Troop Carrier Group arrived at Langar on
17 March Baer AAF Indiana with four
squadrons of 56 C-47s.
The 441st was a group of Ninth Air
's 50th Troop Carrier
, IX Troop Carrier
. It was scheduled to be assigned to Langar,
however it only remained until 25 April
until being moved to RAF Merryfield.
IX Troop Carrier Command depot
Although no further flying combat units were stationed at Langar,
the airfield became a major maintenance and supply depot for the
IX Troop Carrier Command
In addition, Langar became a center for assembly and modification
of CG-4A Waco
Gliders, primarily the
fitting of reinforced noses for better crew protection in rough
landings. During this time several hundred gliders were assembled
In August 1944 Langar was released to RAF control for operational
use, however the need for forward operating bases in connection
, the 441st
Troop Carrier Group
using the airfield as part of the
17 September 45 C-47s of the 441st TCG
dropped paratroops of the 82d Airborne near Nijmegen in the Netherlands.
Five aircraft were lost to Flak. On
, 40 C-47s, all towing
CG-4A gliders carried out a reinforcement mission without loss or
No further missions were flown until 23
when 90 C-47s, all towing gliders to Holland
encountered flak that brought down one C-47. This was the last
operational mission by the USAAF from Langar, and ended the
association of the Ninth Air Force
with the airfield
Post D-Day use
In October 1944, RAF Bomber Command returned to Langar moving in
with No. 1669 Heavy Conversion
with 32 Lancasters which used the station until March
1945. Although retained by the Ministry of Defence
The airfield was used after the war for a short time for prisoners
of war and then for displaced persons. Early in 1952 it was taken
over by the RCAF Royal Canadian
to become a supply base for their NATO squadrons. The
Base was constructed on the old domestic and technical sites with
completely new buildings, to a much higher standard than the Air
Ministry was used to, by an English design team under the direction
of an RCAF officer. For 12 months nearly 1000 men worked
constructing the Base, which worked around three two acre
warehouses . The first RCAF personnel arrived autumn 1952.The air
field was used for eleven years (1952 - 1963) by the Royal Canadian Air Force
as 30 Air
Materiel Base, RCAF Langar. Langar was the RCAF's primary supply
base for No. 1 Air Division RCAF in Europe, a
complex of four fighter bases set up in nearby North Luffenham and
in France and West Germany by Canada to help meet NATO's European
air defence commitments during the Cold
It was the only Canadian base in the UK.
The RCAF established No. 30 Air Materiel Base (AMB), to handle the
transportation of supplies, equipment, aircraft, personnel, and
other support essential for the operation of the four NATO air
bases and its headquarters. Several units were attached to 30 AMB.
No. 137 (Transport) Flight, which was attached to the Movements
Unit of 30 AMB, operated several types of aircraft including six
, one Beechcraft Expeditor
, and two Dakota
. No. 312 Supply Depot handled medical
supplies and spares for mechanical equipment, including aircraft
(e.g. the F-86 Sabre
) and vehicles.
No. 314 Technical Services Unit was tasked with inspecting all
supplies before they were forwarded to operational bases. This unit
also assisted with repair contracts and provided technical
With the facility released from military control in 1963, the
airfield is the base for the British Parachute Schools
, who use
the original control tower
headquarters. The former Avro
complex is used by private industry. Local groups of modified car
enthusiasts meet for speed tests.
There is a go-karting track
The airfield is relatively intact, with most of its wartime
facilities still in use. The main runway (01/19) and NE/SW
secondary (07/25) are still active and in use. The original
technical site is still in use, along with both wartime T-2
hangars. Additional postwar hangars and a secondary maintenance
site built to the northwest, along with many of the loop dispersal
hardstands around the wartime perimeter track still exist.
Trent, proceed southwest on Cropwell Road passing though
the A46 to Cropwell Butler.
on Main Street to Tithby Road, turning left. Proceed to Tythby,
turning left (north) at the center of the village then a sharp
right remaining on Tithby Road to the intersection of Bingham Road,
just outside the town. Turn south on Bingham Road, going about
three miles to Langar.
Remain on Bingham road and proceed to the
south of the village. The airfield will be on your left (east) as
you exit the south side of Langar.
- Freeman, Roger A. (1994) UK Airfields of the Ninth: Then and
Now. After the Battle ISBN 0900913800
- Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II.
Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN
- www.controltowers.co.uk RAF Langar
- British Automobile Association (AA), (1978), Complete Atlas of
Britain, ISBN 0-86145-005-1