Sport at RAF Cardington.


Station Rugby Team 1937/1938 in front of the Station Headquarters.


Station Rugby Team 1938/1939.

These rare and special images have been sent in by Flight Lieutenant Vincent W Hislop RAFVR(T) Ret'd who comments: “Apart from knowing 'the camp' all my life - I was born in Cotton End - my connection was formatively as an air cadet, from 1980, through to when I left the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Training Branch), i.e., as an officer with the Air Cadets, in 1995. I also used to enjoy the cinema nights at the 217 Club as a teenager. I have the rugby photos as I have been a medal collector for many years and, amongst my groups of medals, I have those awarded to Warrant Officer Cockshott, who appears as a corporal and then a sergeant on the both the photos.” Thank you so much Vincent - Jane. Sept 2020.


Juliet Deane has sent in the above photo including her father Sidney Howard Withey. “I have found (during `lockdown') group photo and he has written on the reverse: 'H' Flight Football Team, No. 2 RAF Depot, Cardington. I assume this is dated around 1938 when he joined the RAF. Thank you Juliet.


Trophy inscription reads: "T McKee. Flyweight Ch. No 2 R.A.F. Depot. Cardington.

Sent in from Damian McKee these great pictures (left) show a trophy presented to his father Terence McKee for boxing at Cardington.

"Hi, I came across your  site and thought I would send you on a few more pieces for the interest of everyone. Here is a picture of my father his name is Terence (Terry) Mckee he was born Nov 1919. He was Feather weight boxing champion at the camp but I don't know what year."

Thanks must go to Damian for sending in these photos - Jane.

More details of Terence McKee can be found on the No 2 School of Recruit page.

Terence McKee who boxed at RAF Cardington.

Boxing trophy awarded to Terence McKee whilst at Cardington.


Back row left to right: W/O L E Sargent, Cpl L G J Marchmont, Sgt A V Evans, F/Sgt A E Walker, Cpl W H Richards, Sgt W A Bridges, Sgt T H M Preston, Cpl R F Edwards, A/C C M Haywod. Front row: F/O H S Mason, Sgt L G Berry, F/Lt A Shepherd. G/Capt A R Arnold D S C, D F C. W/cDR A A Fraser-Harris , Sgt D C Flatt, Cpl H P Dukes.

In all the Forces sport was encouraged throughout all ranks and RAF Cardington was no different. As the photograph left demonstrates even at the height of WW1I teams were selected and played in local leagues or against other stations.

We may never know how sucessful this particular cricket team was in 1943 but they were clearly held in high regard as both the Station Commander Gp Capt Arnold and his deputy W/Cdr A A Fraser-Harris chose to pose for this photograph.

Three years earlier in 1940 it is recorded that there were no less than seven County cricketers on the station team: Berry of Leicester, Cox of Sussex, Parks of Surrey, Squires of Surrey, Sunnocks of Kent, Partridge of Northants, and Parker of Surrey. Although there are no other details given we are told that this particular team had a "most successful and enjoyable" season.


Physical training RAF Cardington 1946.


Physical training RAF Cardington 1946.


The photograph above sent in by Barbara Martin shows a veterans race taking place in 1948 or 1949. Barbara's father Francis Frew Dunlop on the left was at RAF Cardington for two years and her family lived in the newly built married quarters in Shortstown.


RAF Cardington. Preparing for the Royal Tournament. 23 May 1950. BP Box 4042.


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


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


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


Poster for the National Cross Country event held at Cardington in March 1955.


Above the course map of the National Cross Country race held at RAF Cardington in March 1955. The station could clearly organise such large events.


The English Cross Country Championship staged at Cardington in 1955. This was won by Gordon Pirie who held world records for long distance running in the 1950's. Gordon Pirie was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year in the same year.


Long distance world record holder Gordon Pirie.


An Inter-section Sports Day programme dated 25th July 1956 sent in by Harry Pethen (Read Harry's memories on The National Service page. This is an interesting historical document as it shows the diverse units operating within Cardington at this time. Top left tells us that teams were drawn from the Admin Block, Reception Wing, Record Office Department (Harrys department "ROD" for short), No 217 Maintenance Unit, The Catering Section and The Balloon Unit which also included Medical Staff. Incidentally Harry recalls "It was a great day for ROD, a detachment of some 70 odd men, which won the day with the highest score of any group even though numerically we were by far the smallest."