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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

RAF Feltwell

Thor was deployed at four main bases: Driffield, Hemswell, Feltwell and North Luffenham. Surrounding each main base were four satellite stations, with missiles deployed at each location in groups of three.

Transferred to the Royal Air Force on 22 June 1959, the 77th RAF Strategic Missile Squadron at Feltwell, England became the first British-based Thor IRBM squadron to reach operational status. At the same time, SAC retained control over the squadron's nuclear warheads and assigned a detachment to perform four functions: (1) retain custody and control over, and provide maintenance for, reentry vehicles and warheads; (2) receive and initiate US warhead release orders; (3) operate USAF communications facilities; and (4) provide training to the Royal Air Force.

In 1958 RAF Feltwell was transferred to Bomber Command, where it became a strategic missile station responsible for Nos. 77, 82, 107, 113, and 220 Squadrons and the Command Strategic Missile School. In August 1958, Bomber Command's first IRBM squadron, No.77, was formed at RAF Feltwell. The first Douglas Thor Missile for the squadron was received on 19 September 1958. In August 1963 the Thor base was disbanded and preparations commenced to receive the Officer Cadet Training Unit from Jurby.

Feltwell's connection with aviation began more than thirty-five years ago, during World War 1, when No. 7 Training Depot Station was housed here. Thus Feltwell's original function was flying training as it is today. From March, 1937, however, when the present installations were built, until 1946, squadrons of Bomber Command were stationed here. Feltwell contributed to the increasing effort directed against Germany at home, culminating in the "Thousand Bomber" raids of May and June, 1942. In the last two years of the war, still under Bomber Command, a squadron at Feltwell was engaged on radio intelligence work, while at the end of 1943, No. 3 Lancaster Finishing School was formed here to convert aircrews who had been trained on Wellingtons to working in Lancaster aircraft. This work continued until January, 1945, when the end of the war was imminent. In the last phase at Feltwell under Bomber Command, navigators were trained in the use of a new long-range navigation device intended for use in the Pacific theatre of war. Feltwell's connection with Bomber Command was severed in April, 1946, when the station was transferred to Flying Training Command to house the present unit, No. 3 Flying Training School, formerly at South Cerney.

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Page last modified: 24-07-2011 04:50:37 ZULU