historical images of Brampton

History of RAF Brampton

Royal Air Force Brampton - A Brief History

The history of Brampton Park can be traced back to the 12th Century when the estate was roughly the same size as it is now. It was first recorded as an estate of about 125 acres, held in direct fealty to the King by William the Sokeman (Freeman) in the 12th Century.

In 1820 the property passed to the Manchester family and Lady Olivia Bernard Sparrow became mistress of the house. Lady Olivia died in 1863. Twenty-six years after her death the building became an institution for the treatment of people with stammers and remained unchanged until 1907. In that year the eastern half of the building was destroyed by fire. Little more than one third of the original building as it stood before the fire is now in existence. During World War One it housed German prisoners of war.

In 1930 the successor to the Duke of Manchester, Lord Mandeville, became the owner of the property, leasing it to Mr Walston in 1937, while Lord Mandeville himself took up residence in Kimbolton Castle. With the onset of World War Two the Walstons moved out and the property became the Sun Babies Nursery caring for about 100 babies evacuated from London. It continued in this role until spring 1942 when it was taken over by the United States Army Air Corps.

The First Air Division HQ was established at the Grange Hotel and very quickly became operational on 15th June 1942 under the command of Colonel Claude E Duncan. At the end of June 1942 a troop train packed with American servicemen pulled into Oundle Railway Station, Peterborough and on 19th August, Brampton was officially activated as the First Bomb Wing Headquarters.

With the cessation of hostilities in Europe the repatriation of USAAC personnel was quick to commence. In September 1945 the First Air Division HQ, as Brampton was now known, moved to nearby Alconbury. The last American troops left Brampton in early 1946.

In 1955 the decision was made to make Royal Air Force Brampton a permanent establishment and a building programme was initiated. On completion in 1957, 2 lodger units started to operate: they were the Central Reconnaissance Establishment (CRE), and Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre (JARIC). The CRE was disbanded in October 1970, while JARIC remains.

Brampton became the home to the headquarters of a number of Royal Air Force Command and Group Headquarters. In 1968 Flying Training Command and Technical Training Command merged and occupied a new building in Brampton Park, to become HQ Training Command. In October of that year HQ Air Cadets moved to Brampton from White Waltham and occupied The Grange building until 1975 when they moved to Royal Air Force Newton.

On the night of 23-24 October 1985, the headquarters building was destroyed by fire. A new building was completed on 24th February 1988 and was formally opened by his Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester on 7th June 1988.

In April 1994, Support Command changed its title and role to HQ Logistics Command (HQLC) and at the same time the nearby station of Royal Air Force Wyton ceased to be independent and became part of Brampton. In October 1999 HQLC was disbanded and the Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO) was created. As a result, the Station transferred to the control of Headquarters Personnel & Training Command (HQPTC).

On 1 April 2007 Personnel and Training Command and Strike Command were merged into one to form HQ Air Command and, at the same time, the DLO was merged with the Defence Procurement Agency to form Defence Equipment and Support. Today, RAF Brampton provides accommodation and support facilities for a range of lodger units.

On 2 April 2012 Brampton lost its status as an RAF Station. Renamed Brampton Camp, RAF Wyton became responsible for the day to day administration of the camp until its scheduled closure at the end of 2013. With effect from 2 April 2012 control of both RAF Wyton and Brampton Camp was transferred from Air Command to the newly established Joint Forces Command.

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