On the wings of time: 100 years of the RAF on the Fylde coast

As the Mayor of Blackpool (Ald Joseph S Richardson, JP) speaks at the opening of the RAF exhibition on Princess Parade, a formation of RAF Hunters fly past, in 1962
As the Mayor of Blackpool (Ald Joseph S Richardson, JP) speaks at the opening of the RAF exhibition on Princess Parade, a formation of RAF Hunters fly past, in 1962
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As the Royal Air Force celebrates its centenary on Sunday, we take a look back at the RAF’s long and close association with the Fylde coast.

Blackpool’s two airports were used by the RAF in the Second World War.

Two thousand RAF recruits gave a demonstration of physical training on the beach at their training station at Blackpool, during the 'Second World War. Pic courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

Two thousand RAF recruits gave a demonstration of physical training on the beach at their training station at Blackpool, during the 'Second World War. Pic courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

Thousands of troops trained on the Fylde coast.

During the Second World War, RAF Squires Gate was used as a fighter squadron base as part of the protection of Liverpool, in particular to patrol the Irish Sea.

It was also used as an RAF training base for many different types of training.

Stanley Park Municipal Airport had opened in 1931, and was commandeered in 1939, by the Royal Air Force as a technical training school. Wellington Bombers were also assembled there.

The RAF band march along Blackpool Promenade during the Second World War. 'It is thought that the red marking was done by the censor to prevent identification of the location.

The RAF band march along Blackpool Promenade during the Second World War. 'It is thought that the red marking was done by the censor to prevent identification of the location.

Originally Warton Aerodrome, in 1940, new runways were built, so the site could act as a satellite airfield for the RAF Coastal Command Station, at Squires Gate airfield in Blackpool.

At first, Warton was operated as an air depot of the US Army during the Second World War, as thousands of aircraft were processed on their way to active service in Britain, North Africa, the Mediterranean and mainland Europe.

Following the Second World War, the airfield was designated as RAF Warton.

Warton has been home to the initial Typhoon squadrons of the RAF, No 17 squadron and no 29 squadron.

RAF inspection at Freckleton by Air Vice Marshal J.A. Marson , CBE, Air Officer commanding no 24 Group, April 1961

RAF inspection at Freckleton by Air Vice Marshal J.A. Marson , CBE, Air Officer commanding no 24 Group, April 1961

Our archive photographs give a great insight into the RAF and RAF life on the Fylde coast.

The RAF leaving Lytham Station in 1954

The RAF leaving Lytham Station in 1954

The RAF leaving Lytham Station for their new quarters in 1954

The RAF leaving Lytham Station for their new quarters in 1954

Sgt V Freeman (left) and Flt Sgt J Naylor, with Unit Commander LE Cook (camp commandant) at the Women's Junior Air Corps aviation training camp at Squires Gate Airport, in 1961

Sgt V Freeman (left) and Flt Sgt J Naylor, with Unit Commander LE Cook (camp commandant) at the Women's Junior Air Corps aviation training camp at Squires Gate Airport, in 1961

Air Commodore RK Orrock, DFC, MBIM (right) deputy air officer in charge of administration, Maintenance Command, accompanied by other officers making his annual inspection of the Transient Families Unit, RAF Warton, in 1972

Air Commodore RK Orrock, DFC, MBIM (right) deputy air officer in charge of administration, Maintenance Command, accompanied by other officers making his annual inspection of the Transient Families Unit, RAF Warton, in 1972

Formation flight: Giving a display of formation aerobics in connection with the Royal Air Force exhibition on Princess Parade, Blackpool, are these five jet provosts, pictured over North Pier, in 1962

Formation flight: Giving a display of formation aerobics in connection with the Royal Air Force exhibition on Princess Parade, Blackpool, are these five jet provosts, pictured over North Pier, in 1962

1961:  The Mayor (Ald Clifford Cross) borrowed a crash helment and motorcycle when he made an official visit to the Royal Air Force Recruiting caravan on the Promenade. Also pictured are WRAF Corporal Ann Williams, of Collyhurst Avenue, South Shore, and AC/W Maureen Crossfield of Rhyl, North Wales

1961: The Mayor (Ald Clifford Cross) borrowed a crash helment and motorcycle when he made an official visit to the Royal Air Force Recruiting caravan on the Promenade. Also pictured are WRAF Corporal Ann Williams, of Collyhurst Avenue, South Shore, and AC/W Maureen Crossfield of Rhyl, North Wales

The Royal Air Force took delivery of its 100th Tornado swing wing warplane, in February 1983.  An official handover took place at British Aerospace, Warton.

The Royal Air Force took delivery of its 100th Tornado swing wing warplane, in February 1983. An official handover took place at British Aerospace, Warton.