The Station

The primary role of RAF Halton is to train military and civilian personnel to perform to the highest standard for military operations. In particular this sees the Station deliver the Basic Recruit Training Course which has a throughput of approximately 2300 personnel graduating from the Phase 1 course annually, as well as the delivery of command, leadership and management training for all non-commissioned Service Personnel as part of their Phase 3 development. 

RAF Halton supports 22 lodger units across a range of specialities from air activity to defence media operations. The Station also supports 16 RAF sports associations as their nominated ‘home’, Wider Defence Tasks, Air Cadet Activity and Senior Leadership Team events.

RAF Halton is one of the largest RAF stations and home to approximately 2,100 personnel from all three armed services, contractors, and civilians.

RAF Halton Mission: “One Team, Training People for Defence”

"Teach, learn, apply"

The Station Crest features a set of arrows fronted by a propeller. The arrows were taken from the Rothschild coat of arms and are a tribute to the heritage of the estate. The propeller serves to signify the Air Force.



Fergus Garwood joined the Royal Air Force direct from school in January 1992, largely thanks to the Air Training Corps and a Sixth Form Scholarship. Following commissioning and professional training he spent his formative years in Royal Air Force Regiment squadron appointments in the Falkland Islands, Germany, London, and North Yorkshire. These tours were interspersed with various posts spanning the delivery, management, and assurance of all phases of training.

Garwood subsequently commanded The Queen’s Colour Squadron (now King's Colour Squadron), balancing deployed operations with high-profile State and Service ceremonial; and later the Force Protection Wing at Royal Air Force Coningsby providing specialist Force Protection for the Typhoon Force. He has seen operational service in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Croatia, Iraq, Kuwait, and the Broader Middle East. A graduate of the Advanced Command and Staff Course, securing a master’s degree in Defence Studies with King’s College London, his staff appointments include tours at the Ministry of Defence as Aide-de-Camp / Staff Officer to Chief of the Air Staff; at Headquarters AIR Command with responsibility for Regiment workforce; and with the Defence Medical Services as Military Assistant to the 3* Surgeon General. He was assigned back to Head Office in 2017 working with HM Treasury to fund deployed military operations before promotion in 2019 and a move to the Financial Military Capability Directorate. There, through several planning rounds and the 2021 Integrated Review, he was at the heart of strategic investment choices to shape the future force. Garwood assumed command of Royal Air Force Halton in August 2022.

Who's based here

Key dates

  • 1913 - First recorded flight at RAF Halton.
  • 1917 - Formation of The School of Technical Training.
  • 1922 - First Apprentice Scheme Entry began training.
  • 1947 - King George VI signified approval to the award of Colours to the RAF in the UK.
  • 1952 - The Queen (then Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth) presented Colours to No 1 School of Technical Training.
  • 2017 - The Duchess of Cornwall presented the new replacement Queen’s Colour to the Station.


September 1913, Alfred de Rothschild invited the Army to use his land for summer manoeuvres. The soldiers were joined by No 3 Squadron RFC. On the outbreak of World War 1 Alfred offered his estate to Lord Kitchener for military training. By 1916, Halton was covered in tents and huts accommodating some 20,000 troops.

In 1917 there was an expansion of technical training in the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), and Halton became the main training unit for aircraft mechanics. Permanent workshops were constructed to house the RFC's many trades. The population expanded and by the end of 1917 some 14,000 air mechanics were trained. At the end of the war, November 1918 the station had under training 6000 airmen mechanics, 2000 women, and 2000 boys at a Boys Training Depot, all supported by 1,700 instructors.

On Rothschild’s death in January 1918, his nephew Lionel inherited Halton House and its lands. The Air Board purchased the estate for the Royal Air Force which had been formed on 1 April combining the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. Fortunately, Lionel was a willing seller and the estate was purchased by the War Office in 1919 for £112,000. 

The end of World War One, Trenchard’s vision of a permanent RAF was published in a memorandum endorsed by Winston Churchill, the Secretary of State for Air, December 1919. Trenchard believed that the only way to recruit high quality mechanics for the Service was to train them internally. His vision was the recruitment of well-educated boys aged 15 and 16 who could absorb the technical training.

The first Entry of 500 boys arrived in January 1922 to the school now named No 1 School of Technical Training. Trenchard’s ex-apprentices went on to form 40% of the RAF’s ground crew and 60% of its skilled tradesmen.

Connect with RAF Halton