611 (West Lancashire)
Station name: RAF Woodvale
Station address: Formby, Merseyside L37 7AD
Motto: Beware Beware
Mission: To provide trained personnel to work in support of RAF operations in the UK and worldwide.
Get in touch: 0345 606 9069
More about this squadron
More than half a century after being disbanded, 611 (West Lancashire) Squadron reformed in 2013 at RAF Woodvale, as part of the RAF Reserves’ expansion under the Future Reserves 2020 programme. Lying just north of Liverpool near Formby, Woodvale is the only RAF station in North-West England, and was 611 Squadron’s home in the 1940s and Fifties. As a multi-role squadron its mission is to provide a wide diversity of fully trained personnel to support current and future worldwide commitments.
Roles and specialist skills
With its wide variety of roles (see table above), 611 Squadron has opportunities for applicants from many backgrounds – whether direct entrants with no previous military experience, ex-Regular personnel (from any Service), and those with skills directly transferable from civilian life.
Like many RAF Reserves’ units, 611 Squadron was a flying unit between its first formation and stand-down in 1957. The Squadron was formed on 10 February 1936 with day bombers, and its first permanent base was at RAF Speke (now Liverpool John Lennon Airport). It became a fighter squadron in January 1939, flying the Spitfire Mk I. After the outbreak of the Second World War, 611 Squadron was in action in 1940 over Dunkirk during the evacuation and during the Battle of Britain.
Later in the war the unit flew offensive operations over occupied northern France, as well as reconnaissance and escort missions, before providing covering patrols for the invasion of Normandy in June 1944. The squadron converted to Mustang Mk IVs for the remainder of the war, before disbanding as an RAF squadron in August 1945. It re-formed the following year as a fighter squadron within the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, operating the Spitfire F14, then the higher performance Spitfire F22, from RAF Woodvale. In 1951 the Squadron converted to the Meteor jet fighter, flying from RAF Hooton Park on the Wirral. 611 Sqn flew the F8 variant of the Meteor until 1957, when, together with all other RAuxAF flying units, the squadron stood down.
Its re-formation in 2013 brings the RAF Reserves back to Merseyside after a gap of fifty-six years.