|Home to the
Four operational Harrier Squadrons 1(Fighter) Squadron, IV(Army
Cooperation) Squadron 800 Naval Air Squadron and 801 Naval Air Squadron.
RAF Cottesmore is now the center of the Joint Force
Cottesmore began its days as an airfield back in 1938, and soon began
1939 the station was tasked with training bomber crews in the aspects of
night flying and navigation. This was due to increasing losses taken
during daylight bombing. At the end of 1942 the OTU moved away from
Cottesmore which became the storage base for Horsa Gliders prior to the
Allied airborne assault across the channel.
The US took
control of the airfield in 1943 the airfield became the Head Quarters
for the US
Troop Carrier Command.
Operating C47'& C53's
had a 2000ft hard runway laid and extended. The station housed around
4000 servicemen and was were
Parachute Infantry were launched from for
the Normandy landings and Operation Market Garden.
As soon as the war ended the airfield was handed back to the RAF.
war years Cottesmore reverted back to its Flying Training role which it
continued until 1954 when for the first time front line aircraft were
based there .
The aircraft were Canberra's of 15, 44, 57 149 Sqn's.
In 1957 an announcement was made making
Cottesmore a 'V' Bomber base and a 9000ft, from when Victors of 10 & 15
Quick Reaction Alert (QRA)
duties, until they were disbanded in 1964. Soon after Vulcan's of 9, 12
& 35 Squadrons were brought in and they carried on the QRA duties until
after the departure of the Vulcan's, the airfield was in the hands of
90Singnals Group. Using Argosy and Varsity aircraft for checking
airfield approaches. They along with Electronic warfare Canberra's of
360 Squadron, continued using Cottesmore until 1975, when a defence
review handed Cottesmore over to Care and Maintenance.
In 1979, a Tri-National
Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Britain, Germany and Italy for
the creation of the Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment (TTTE)
to be based at Cottesmore. In 1981 consisting of three squadrons from
the three countries involved, the TTTE trained up to 300 crews a year
until 1998 when the three counties disbanded the training and went their
||At around the
same time RAF Squadrons were returning back to Britain from Germany and
Harriers of IV Sqn retuned to make Cottesmore their new home. They
were soon followed by III Sqn and finally by the last front line Harrier
squadron, I Sqn. In 2002 the Defence Department announced the retirement
of the Royal Navy's Sea Harrier and that all Royal Navy Harrier
personnel would join the RAF at Cottesmore and form the Joint Harrier
and goings at Cottesmore