Royal Flying Corps Rendcomb Airfield

By 1916 the Royal Flying Corps was losing so many pilots on the Western Front that new training airfields had to be opened to train replacement aircrew. Rendcomb airfield was opened in early 1916 to meet this demand and an aircraft and engine repair facility was added in September 1916.

Two former aviators who spent time at RFC Rendcomb were Lt. William Leefe Robinson VC, who in September 1916 was first to shoot down a German Zeppelin, and Keith Park, later to become Air Marshall Park, who commanded 11 Fighter Group during the Battle of Britain.

Aircrew training and the workup of new squadrons at Rendcomb was successful as illustrated by the departure of 48 Squadron with its BE 12 airfield to the Western Front on 8 March 1917. Their 18 aircrew flew to Lympne where they refuelled, crossed the Channel arrived at Bertangles Aerodrome, 5 miles north of Amiens the same morning all apparently fully serviceable. This so impressed RFC hierarchy that Major General Trenchard, the RFC Commander reported to the War Office:

“I would like to point out that No 48 Squadron arrived out here with 18 machines intact all on the same day before noon. This is the first squadron like this, and it was undoubtedly due to the excellent arrangements made and to the training of the Squadron.”

The airfield was sold into private ownership in 1920 to be turned back to farmland, until 1992 when Vic Norman and two partners purchased Rendcomb aerodrome and has since developed it in keeping with its original WW1 aviation history and home to the AeroSuperBatics Wingwalking Team.

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