From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present
Raf Kemble
51° 40′ 1.2″ N, 2° 3′ 18″ W

View Raf Kemble in a larger map

  • History
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
Raf Kemble is located close to Kemble village which is near Cirencester, Gloucestershire. It was located here in 1938 as the area was in a remote location and unlikely to be a target from the continent.

Originally Kemble Airfield was built for aircraft storage and maintenance for No. 5 Maintenance Unit who stayed on the base till 1983. Bristol Blenheims and Hawker Hurricanes were delivered here from the factories which were then made ready for combat and dispersed to the various squadrons around the country.

During the war, air attacks were few, one incident saw two aircraft drop 18 bombs, but these did little damage. Another incident saw three Dornier 217s fire upon the airfield in 1942. They failed to hit anything except grass.

Concrete runways were laid in april 1942. In September that year gliders were assembled. These were to be used in the invasion of France during Operation Overlord in 1944. In the beginning of 1945 Kemble was transferred to No 47 Group Transport Command, the Transport Aircraft Modification Section, which serviced Lancasters, Stirlings and Dakotas. When the war ended, the air fleet were sent back to Raf Kemble for disposal.

After the war, Kemble was used for maintenance and training purposes. They operated Hawk training aircraft, used by the Red Arrows, who eventually was based there until they moved to Raf Scamption. The US Airforce then used the site to maintain the A10 Thunderbolt aircraft.

Finally the base closed and was left for a civilian airfield, to be known a Kemble Airfield, even though the Ministry of Defence still owned the site. The site also is used to repair Boeing 747's

Raf Kemble was renamed Cotswold Airport in 2009.