The Station

Royal Air Force Woodvale, near Formby in Merseyside, is currently home to flying units providing flying training to University Air Squadron students and giving air experience flights to Air Cadet Organisations within the North West.

It is also home to 611 (West Lancashire) Squadron RAuxAF.

As eagles fly


Squadron Leader Mark Barrett MSc RAF


RAF Woodvale was constructed as an all-weather night fighter airfield for the defence of Liverpool becoming operational in December 1941.  During the Second World War RAF squadrons were brought up from the south of England to 'rest' for short periods, during which time they defended Merseyside.  In April 1945, Woodvale briefly became a Tender for the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm airfield at Burscough, HMS Ringtail, being given the name HMS Ringtail II.

After a period of inactivity, Woodvale reopened on 22 July 1946, when the Spitfire F14s of No. 611 (West Lancashire) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force, reformed here.  The Temperature and Humidity Flight (THUM), operating Spitfires and Mosquitos, was based there from 1953 to 1958.  In June 1957, the Spitfire made its last operational flight, in active British military markings, from RAF Woodvale.

Since 1971, the Station's role has been largely training, with 611 reforming there in 2013.

Key dates

1941   Station opened with 308 (Krakowski) Squadron being the first flying unit.

1945   Station closed at the end of the War after acting briefly as a Royal Naval Air Station (as HMS Ringtail II).

1946   Re-opened with 611 Squadron RAuxAF flying Spitfires, and later Gloster Meteors.

1951   Liverpool University Air Squadron moves to Woodvale.

1953   Manchester University Air Sqn (later Manchester & Salford) move to Woodvale.

1957   Saw the last operational RAF Spitfire flight as part of the meteorological unit based there.

1958   Number 10 Air Experience Flight formsat Woodvale.

2006   631 Volunteer Gliding Squadron moved to the Station (becoming 631 Aerospace Ground Training Squadron in 2018).

2013   611 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force reforms at Woodvale.

Connect with RAF Woodvale