RAF Cardington Camp

Final Bedford map
Before the ceremony.

Hello, welcome to the RAF Cardington history website set up in 2012. The station just south of Bedford town was in operation from 1936 to 2000 and although primarily a recruitment centre was home to a large array of Units. Balloon Units were stationed here, a direct legacy from the early airship programme begun at Cardington in 1915.

May 2020 Updates. This month has been very busy with news from the following people. Thank you so much.

Tom McCallum has sent in a Christmas menu from December 1963. Find this on the Christmas at Cardington page in the Topic Section.
Mike Peers has sent in details of his father Thomas Albert Peers who was at Cardington in 1942. Find out about him on the RAF Servicemen 1942-1943 page in the Peoples Gallery section.
Jacobus Zwaan jnr has sent in a rare group photo of Dutch recruits at the station in Sept 1945 which includes his father Jacobus Pieter Zwaan. Go to the Dutch Air Force page in the Other Units Section to find out more. Maybe you can spot a familiar face?
Karen Mackay is searching for information about her father Thomas Gordon Tunstall who was probably at the station in the 1950’s. She has an undated photo of him please go to the Undated Photos page in the Peoples Gallery section and take a look maybe you can help Karen.
Andy Jones is researching the history of his house in Crosby, Merseyside and is seeking information about Roland Connor who served in the RAF in WW2 and was at the station in 1941. Find out more in the RAF Servicemen 1941-1942 page in the Peoples Gallery section.
Elaine Leeks has information about her father Ernest Pearce who was a tailor at the station from 1941 – 1945. Find more details in the RAF Servicemen 1941-1942 page in the Peoples Gallery section.
Sue Davey is searching for more information about her grandfather Frederick Carbert Price who was at Cardington in 1941. Please go to the RAF Servicemen 1941-1942 page in the Peoples Gallery section and see if you can help her.
Kate Chorlton has sent in a group photo of recruits at the station in 1948 which includes her uncle Gordan Hayward England. Luckily for us the recruits also signed on the back so please take a look and see if you recognise any of the faces or names. The photos can be found on the RAF Servicemen 1945-1965 page in the Peoples Gallery section.
Kenneth Joseph is looking for details of his father John William Joseph who was at the station in 1939. His father went on to serve in 22 Squadron and then 152 Hyderabad Squadron. For more details please go to the RAF Servicemen 1937-1939 page in the Peoples Gallery section.

A personal plea from me. PLEASE TALK TO YOUR ELDERLY RELATIVES!! I have received thousands of e-mails since starting this website many from people searching for information about the wartime experiences of their parents/grandparents etc. A common lament is that questions were never asked so please get your notebooks out and have a chat and start asking questions NOW! - Thanks Jane.

Arnold 55
Group cricket

Grp Capt A R Arnold DSO, DFC - the longest serving Station Commander from Nov 1939- Mar 1945

A 1943 RAF Cardington cricket team. Sport of any kind was high on the agenda for staff in their spare time.

Arthur RAF sign
Free Czech Air Force Association Ltd
Absolute final sheds Jan 2016

The two magnificent sheds still standing proud. Home to airships from 1916-1930 and put to numerous uses by the RAF in later years.

During 1949/1951 over 120 ex RAF Czech pilots fled persecution in their home country and made their way to RAF Cardington.

Renamed MU217 RAF Cardington in 1955 - the Gas Plant supplied RAF depots throughout the world.

A Memorial Stone for RAF Cardington.

aaaaMike speech
3. The memorial
4. RAF Cardington

On the morning of Saturday 18th May 2019 a memorial stone to RAF Cardington was unveiled. Special guests assembled to witness the unveiling of the stone located at the front of the Shorts Building (known as Station HQ in the RAF years). We were specially honoured to welcome the Lousada family to the memorial. From 1956 to 1959 Group Captain Lousada was Station Commander at Cardington and on July 27th 1959 he accepted the Freedom of Bedford on behalf of the station from the Lord Mayor of Bedford. We were delighted that his youngest son Michael (shown above right) had agreed to unveil the stone.

The stone was designed and totally financed by Bellway Homes who are the major developers of the former station which is now a housing development. Responding to a request to provide a lasting memorial to the station they agreed without hesitation to support the initiative. Permission was obtained from the MOD to use the RAF emblem on the memorial and the process began.

Thank you Bellway Homes!!

More details of the memorial can be found on the Memorial Unveiling Page in the Topic Section. A huge thank you is due to Bellway Homes for supporting and financing this project right from the beginning. I think you will agree they have done a good job. Certainly without them this memorial would not have happened. Thank you from Jane Harvey.

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