RAF Benson is a front line support helicopter base working within the Joint Helicopter Command (JHC). Located in South Oxfordshire, the Station is home to 33 and 230 Squadrons, which both operate the Puma HC Mk2 helicopter, as well as 28 Squadron, which is the combined Puma and Chinook Operational Conversion Unit, flying Puma HC Mk2 and Chinook HC Mk4 helicopters. Supporting the flying squadrons we have the Joint Helicopter Support Squadron (responsible for providing specialist underslung load support and landing site management in the field) and No 606 (Chiltern) Squadron of the RAF Reserves (a support helicopter squadron).
While geographically relatively small, there are around 1750 Service and civilian personnel working here. With families and dependants, our community is around 4000 people. The community has a number of facilities on site including a church, gym, shop, nursery and primary school.
There are also several lodger units based at RAF Benson including the civilian helicopters of the National Police Air Service and the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance, the Tutor T1 aircraft of Oxford University Air Squadron and 6 Air Experience Flight, and the RAF Benson Flying Club who all operate from RAF Benson airfield.
Opened in 1939 as part of the RAF's expansion programme, RAF Benson was home to No 1 Photographic Reconnaissance Unit throughout the Second World War. Following the war, the Station became the home of Royal flying as the King's Flight, later renamed the Queen's Flight, was located here until 1995 when they moved to RAF Northolt and formed 32 (The Royal) Squadron. In August 1967, RAF Benson was granted the honour of the Freedom of the Borough of Wallingford, which entitles personnel to march through the town with 'drums beating, colours flying and bayonets fixed'.
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