Royal Air Force Barford St John
Royal Air Force Barford St John or RAF Barford St John is a Royal Air Force station just north of the village of Barford St. John, Oxfordshire, England. It is now a non-flying facility, operated by the United States Air Force as a communications centre with many large communications aerials, and is a satellite of RAF Croughton.
RAF Barford St John was opened on 30 July 1941 as a training facility for RAF Flying Training Command. It had three grass runways, used primarily by Airspeed Oxfords of No. 15 Service Flying Training School RAF from RAF Kidlington. The airfield was closed in late 1941 and rebuilt as an RAF Bomber Command airfield with paved runways and equipped for night operations.
The airfield reopened in December 1942 as a satellite for RAF Upper Heyford. Bomber Command and No. 16 Operational Training Unit was stationed there with Vickers Wellingtons until December 1944. No. 1655 Mosquito Training Unit RAF replaced the Wellingtons and the unit was renamed No. 16 OTU in January 1945 when it moved to RAF Cottesmore. In 1943 the station served as flight test centre for its Gloster E.28/39 and Gloster Meteor jet aircraft from RAF Brockworth.
After the war the airfield was closed in 1946 and placed into care and maintenance.
The site was used for some background filming for the 1949 film Twelve O'Clock High.
The following units were also here at some point:
- No. 4 Squadron RAF
- No. 21 Heavy Glider Conversion Unit RAF
- No. 169 Squadron RAF
- No. 170 Squadron RAF
Given its postwar use by the military, all its runways, perimeter track and hardstands still exist but the World War II buildings have been removed, being replaced by modern buildings on the airfield, secured and guarded with fencing and other security devices.
Simon Duke's U.S. Military Forces and Installations in Europe (SIPRI, 1989) lists the base as housing a Giant Talk/Scope Signal III transmitter annex for RAF Croughton (p.314).