The Station 1946-1959.

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RAF Cardington. Gymkhana and Fete. 24 Sep 1946. BP Box 2464

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IRAF Cardington Battle Of Britain Open Day 21 Sep 1948. Bedford Archives BP Box 3337 ref John Day.

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RAF Cardington spectators admiring the Flypast, Battle Of Britain Open Day 20 Sep 1949. BP Box 3819 ref John Day.

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RAF Cardington. Air Training Corps Inspection. 23 Sep 1950. BP Box 4190.

March 1949 - A snapshot of station life as portrayed in "The Cardingtonian" station magazine.

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March 1949 - A snapshot of station life as portrayed in "The Cardingtonian" station magazine.

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In 2015 I was fortunate enough to find this first ever issue of “The Cardingtonian” a magazine produced back in 1949 for both servicemen and civilians at the station. The magazine includes a forward by the serving Station Commander Grp Captain J Bradbury DFC offering his congratulations to the staff who produced the publication.

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There are several articles on the clubs that servicemen could join and results and league tables of the various sports that teams had taken part in. What it does show is the array of facilities available on site – ranging from music, drama through to sport and woodwork.

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There was a strong tradition of good entertainment on the camp - without exception all of the people I have spoken to who were connected to the station always recalled the good times they had at the dances and revues. So it is no surprise to see that the drama group would be featured in the magazine . The article above shows us how much men where paid in 1949 with most receiving pay rises - this is perhaps a reflection that the country was beginning to recover from the austerity years of WW11. What a lovely way to launch the magazine with such good news!

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RAF Cardington. Opening of the new Canteen. 10 Oct 1950. BP Box 4187.

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RAF Cardington. Open Day as part of the Battle Of Britain celebrations. 19 Sep 1950. BP Box 4154.

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RAF Cardington. Visit by Mr Aidan Crawley MP, the Undersecretary Of State For Air. 23 May 1950. BP Box 4042

RAF Cardington. Visit by Mr Aidan Crawley MP, the Undersecretary Of State For Air. 23 May 1950. BP Box 4042

The Great Flood February 1953.

In February 1953 the station was called upon to provide aid to villages devastated by floods along the East Coast. During the night of January 31 and February 1 following gales of up to 100 mph, huge parts of the East Coast suffered severe flooding when sea defences were breached on both sides of the North Sea. In England over 300 people were killed in the storm which affected parts of Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk. Over 24,000 homes were damaged or destroyed and 40,000 people were evacuated. However the Netherlands suffered greater turmoil with over 1,800 people losing their lives.


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Shown above an extract from the ORBS for February 1953. Further back up documents tell us that officers and recruits were drawn from No 2 Reception Unit and No 1 School of Recruit Training. This must have been quite an experience for the young recruits attending the station. The station also provided 6 Thorneycroft 3 ton trucks. The Balloon Unit provided 2 Winches and 2 Fordson Pick-Up Trucks and both Maintenance Units 279 and 25 provided Matador trucks and drivers. The Army Balloon Company based on the camp provided 4 3 ton Pick-Ups with drivers and 36 soldiers.

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These three images are of Benfleet and Canvey Island on the afternath of the flood. Men from RAF Cardington were sent to the area to assist and rebuild defences.