A History of RAF Cardington 1936-2000.
Hello welcome to the RAF Cardington history website. This is an updated version of the website www.cardingtoncamp.co.uk which is now closed. I have been researching the history of the station since 2009. I lived opposite the old site from 2004-2018 and was constantly surprised to discover new facts and stories about the station. Based at the site of the former Royal Airship Works where the famous R101 airship was built RAF Cardington was formed on 15th December 1936. Given the expertise already on site it is no surprise that the first unit to take up residence on January 1st 1937 was the No 1 Balloon Training Unit. The station was made up of three distinct sections – Balloon Units, Recruit Units and the Gas Plant. In WW2 nearly 300,000 recruits passed through the gates and post war a similar number of combined regular and National Service recruits were assessed here.
During WW2 as many as 8,000 people worked at the station. There were regular dances, drama productions, concerts and a whole range of sporting activities and competitions along with a gym, a church and a cinema.
This was certainly a vibrant very lively and noteworthy station which contributed much to the RAF during and after the war and to town life in Bedford. The station closed on 31st March 2000. Enjoy! - Jane Harvey. April 2021.