THE STATION

RAF High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire is a major administrative support Station. 

It hosts and supports HQ Air Command, several Groups, and the European Air Group. It also supports the Joint Ground Based Air Defence, and Joint Force Air Component Commander.

RAF High Wycombe acts as the liaison between the RAF and United States Visiting Forces (USVF), and human resource support for Ministry of Defence civil servants working on USVF Bases in the UK.

Commander

Group Captain Phil Arnold

Group Captain Arnold took command of RAF High Wycombe in September 2020. Before assuming his appointment, he was SASO 38 Gp.

He has broad staff experience, most notably in operational-level planning at Standing Joint Force HQ, the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (Op HERRICK) and the UK Joint Force Air Component (Op ELLAMY); but also in Strategic Planning at AIR Command and MOD, where he worked on major Defence Logistics programmes. Operational tours have included Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and several countries across Africa.

He has he gained an MBA from the Open University and an MSc at ACSC in 2012 from the USAF Air University at Maxwell AFB, where he came top of the course, achieved Distinguished Graduate status and won the Deans prize for Academic research. Other overseas tours have included Alabama, Germany and the Falkland Islands. Recently, he was detached to the Cabinet Office to support cross-government contingency planning to prepare for the possibility of a No-deal Brexit.

ADDRESS

RAF High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP14 4UF.

Council: Buckinghamshire County Council:

Who's based here

  • No 1 Group
  • No 2 Group
  • No 22 Group
  • RAF Safety Centre

KEY DATES

  • 1566 - Queen Elizabeth I visited the area with Lord Windsor of Bradenham when a gap in the surrounding woodland was noticed the area became known as ‘Queens Gap’ and is today the name of the house occupied by the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) in remembrance of this.
  • 1941 - The camp was built.
  • 2005 - The camp became a Station when the United States Visiting Forces (USVF) became part of its parenting responsibilities.

HISTORY

The origins of the RAF presence at Naphill and Walters Ash start with Wing Commander Alan Oakeshott. Born the son of an Army Major and a local town councillor, Wing Commander Oakeshott grew up in the village of Naphill before joining the RAF in 1938. He would go on to become a decorated war hero and also be credited with the idea of building a well hidden RAF High Wycombe in the beech woods of the Chiltern Hills.

In 1938, with war looming, thoughts in the Air Ministry turned to the issue of where to site Bomber Command HQ, within easy reach of the capital, but in a location that could not easily be detected from the air. Anecdotal evidence indicates that Wing Commander Oakeshott suggested that the area of beech woods near the villages of Naphill, Walters Ash and Lacey Green would be an ideal location.

In his relatively short RAF career he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) before going on to make the ultimate sacrifice.

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