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Only the Beginning is Difficult
RAF Cosford in Shropshire is a major part of the Defence College of Technical Training (DCTT). It is at the centre of the RAF’s mission to deliver flexible, affordable, modern and effective technical training that meets the needs of the UK’s Armed Forces now and into the future.
RAF Apprenticeships delivered at RAF Cosford were recently recognised as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted.
Group Captain Baker joined the RAF in 1989 at the age of 16 as an Air Communication and Air Radar Systems Technician, completing his apprenticeship training at RAF Cosford. He was selected for a commission in the Engineer Branch in 1995.
In June 2017, following various tours in the UK and overseas, he was appointed as RAF Cosford’s Station Commander (28 years after beginning his career on the Station). He is also Commandant of the Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering with responsibility for aerospace training for all three Services.
RAF Cosford, Albrighton, Wolverhampton, WV7 3EX.
As part of the pre-World War Two RAF Expansion Plan, the requirement for additional aircraft storage and repair facilities and a network of Aircraft Storage Units (ASUs) was recognised. A site near Shifnal, Shropshire, was selected for an ASU to be erected.
Additionally, the upsurge of manpower requirements was soon to overwhelm the RAF's existing training units at Halton, Cranwell and Uxbridge. Further analysis showed that a succession of Technical Training Schools would ease the manpower and knowledge gaps and it was suggested that the ASUs could house the new schools.
Building started at Cosford in August 1937. The RAF's No 2 School of Technical Training was formed on 15 July 1938. By the outbreak of World War Two, Cosford had 3,580 trainees consisting of apprentices in the trades of (Fitter) Engines, Airframes, Armourers, plus a significant number of Flight Mechanics and Flight Riggers (however, the apprentice element was ordered back to RAF Halton in March 1940).
In March 1939 No 9 Maintenance Unit took up residence at Cosford, its initial role being to store, maintain, modify, repair and, ultimately, issue aircraft to operational units.
Throughout the war years many and varied units came to Cosford, (an Officers' School, No 12 Ferry Pilots Pool, a Czechoslovak Depot, School of Musketry to name but a few); some remained for many years while others departed relatively quickly.
A major RAF Hospital was added to the site in 1940 and towards the end of the war it was decided that repatriated RAF PoWs would be processed through RAF Cosford.
Nos 106 and 108 Personnel Reception Centres were established and over 13,000 ex-PoWs had passed through RAF Cosford by 23 August 1948 when the units were eventually closed down.
The hospital continued to serve the RAF and local community until it closed in 1977.
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