USAAF Station AAF-474
|Part of United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE)|
|Near Welford, Berkshire in England|
Shown within Berkshire
|Type||Royal Air Force station|
|Owner||Ministry of Defence|
|Operator||Royal Air Force|
United States Army Air Forces
United States Air Force
|In use||1943–1948, 1955—present|
|Garrison||420th Munitions Squadron|
|Elevation||147 metres (482 ft) AMSL|
Royal Air Force Welford or more simply RAF Welford is an active Royal Air Force station in Berkshire, England RG20 7EX. The station is located approximately 6 miles (9.7 km) northwest of Newbury; about 50 miles (80 km) west-southwest of London
Opened in 1943, it was used during the Second World War by both the Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Forces. During the war it was used primarily as a transport airfield. After the war it was closed in 1946 and placed in reserve status. As a result of the Cold War, the station was reopened in 1955 as a munitions depot by the United States Air Force.
RAF Welford is located in West Berkshire with a dedicated and rarely used access road leading to the station from the eastbound M4 motorway between junctions 13 and 14 to the west of the A34 junction with the M4. The access road from the M4 is signposted "Works Unit Only". The 1 mile marker sign did have the distinctive red border of a defence establishment until changes made in 2015 and a photo refers.
As part of the IX Troop Carrier Command's desire to have its C-47 groups commence training with paratroops of the 101st Airborne Division deployed in the Salisbury Plain area, the squadrons of the 435th Troop Carrier Group arrived at Welford on 25 January 1944 from RAF Langar flying C-47s and C-53s. Its squadrons and fuselage codes were:
After being placed on a care and maintenance basis after the war, the station re-opened as the home of the 7531st Ammunition Squadron in September 1955. In 2009 USAF staffing at Welford was reduced as part of USAF wide budgetary adjustments. The munitions base's function is described as "at its busiest when the US government deploys bombers to a forward air station at RAF Fairford". The bombers at RAF Fairford can include B-1, B-2 and B-52.
Welford is now under the command of the 420th Munitions Squadron, and comes under the command of the 501st Combat Support Wing, with headquarters at RAF Alconbury, which provides support to the Geographically Separated Units (GSU)s in the United Kingdom.
RAF Welford has reached a steady state following a similar transformation process last year. Now aligned under the 422 ABG, its future is secure.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to RAF Welford.|