THERE ARE DOZENS OF RAF BASES dotted around the UK which are dedicated to training air crew and military personnel.

However, over the years, many bases have been closed, abandoned and forgotten.

Some of the bases were rendered redundant after the second world war while other relocated to more spacious or compact areas.

The Ministry of Defence is constantly reviewing and changing its security and defence which is why they are continually opening, closing and relocating to new areas in the UK.

Here are five of Worcestershire’s lost and forgotten RAF stations:

RAF Defford

Worcester News:

RAF Defford (disused)
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Jeff Gogarty -

In the modern day, you might recognise Croome Court as the historic and grandiose building in Worcester.

You might have even visited the National Trust site’s grounds on a warm day or bank holiday.

However, did you also know that it was once used as an RAF base?

During World War II, the Ministry of Works leased Croome Court to the Dutch Government for a year, where it would be used as a possible refuge for Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands to escape the Nazi occupation of her country. 

Part of the Croome estate was also requisitioned and developed into RAF Defford.  

In 1942, the Telecommunications Flying Unit (name later changed to Radar Research Flying Unit) moved its aircraft to the RAF base- by 1945, it was estimated that 2500 personnel and 100 aircraft were present at the station.

Worcester News:

Former RAF Defford building
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Philip Halling -

During the war, this was a top-secret base and Airborne radar devices, developed by scientists at Malvern and tested at Defford, helped to win the Second World War.

The Gloster Meteor was one of the last planes to fly out of the airfield before its closure.

In the modern day, The RAF Defford Museum at Croome Court reveals the once secret story of RAF Defford with wartime artefacts, emotive personal possessions, videos and costume displays.

RAF Honeybourne

This former RAF base was built in 1940 and remained in use until 1947; it was an instrumental location during the second World War.

It had five hangars in total, and more than 2300 personnel were situated at the airfield by 1944.

Worcester News:

Farm buildings on former RAF Honeybourne
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Philip Halling -

In 1942, the Operational Training Unit RAF was formed at the airfield as part of the plant to train an RAF group of night bombers to use the Armstrong Whitworthy Whitley.

After the war, the airfield was used as a temporary base for No.21 Operational Training Unit who would fly Vickers Wellingtons (bomber planes) to other RAF bases.

A number of Hamilcar Gliders were dismantled in the January and were destined to become the last aircraft to leave this proud wartime airfield.

Worcester News: (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/ Royal Air Force official photographer)(Photo: Wikimedia Commons/ Royal Air Force official photographer)

In the summer of 1968, the runways were removed and much of the site was transformed into farmland.

RAF Worcester

Worcester News: The Mark 16 Spitfire LA 198 which stood as a “gatekeeper” outside the headquarters of No 187 (Worcester) Squadron, Air Training Corps at Perdiswell from 1954 to 1967. Inset, the old hangars of RAF Worcester photographed in 1980.The Mark 16 Spitfire LA 198 which stood as a “gatekeeper” outside the headquarters of No 187 (Worcester) Squadron, Air Training Corps at Perdiswell from 1954 to 1967. Inset, the old hangars of RAF Worcester photographed in 1980.

This was a relief landing ground used in World War II; it was open between 1940-1945.

Perdiswell was used both for training pilots to take on the Luftwaffe and also testing planes made in the engineering heartland of the Black Country.

Tiger Moths and Fairey Battle Bombers were the most common type of plane to be used on these airfields.

However, the airfield wasn’t without its accidents.

On one occasion a 16-years-old girl was killed by a plane crashing into Bilford Road. Other planes plummeted out of the sky to kill pilots at Crown East and Fernhill Heath.

There was also the story of when American film star Clark Gable was supposed to have been on board a military plane, either as pilot or crew, which overshot and crashed into Droitwich Road.

However, there is a lack of first-hand accounts confirming this.

RAF Wythall

Located in the Bromsgrove district, this RAF base opened in 1939 as the Headquarters of No.6 Barrage Balloon Centre.

They were responsible for the balloon defence of the southern part of Birmingham and Coventry. 

RAF Wythall was involved in a tragic accident back in 1942.

Four airmen died when their Wellington bomber plane crashed into a field.

It is believed that the crew were trying to land in RAF Wythall after an engine failure- but didn’t realise that the base was without a runway.

It closed operationally in 1959, but the site developed a positive reputation for its well-kept gardens and greenways.

RAF Throckmorton

Worcester News:

(Photo: Disused Control Tower, Pershore airfield
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Richard Dunn -

Also known as RAF Pershore, this airfield was built in 1940 during the Second World War and was home to No 23 Operational Training Unit.

It was primarily equipped with Wellington Bombers, but was  sometimes used by Vulcan and Valiant V-bombers.

After the war, the site was used as a burial ground for the bodies of more than 133,000 animals who contracted foot and mouth disease.

The animals were slaughtered as part of the contiguous cull in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire.

In more recent years the site was also used for annual Throckmorton Air Shows, which saw Vulcan Bombers, Avro Lancaster, Supermarine Spitfire, Hawker Hurricanes and other fighter and bomber planes take to the air.