1946 - 1959 Photo Gallery

This gallery covers the period between the end of the war, and the end of the station's time as a front-line fighter base. As such it covers the end of piston engined aircraft being used on the front line, and goes right up to the glory days of the Hunters of 19 Squadron and the Meteors and Javelins of 72 Squadron.

These photos are all courtesy of the RAF Church Fenton station photographer Oct 1986 - Mar 1988 Ralph Bayley. Ralph Bayley

air day 1.JPG (76204 bytes) Some photos of an air day taken soon after the end of World War 2, quite possibly the Battle of Britain day on 15th September 1945.
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P L Farris

72 Meteors.jpg (70230 bytes) A photograph of a formation of 72 Sqn meteors flying over 2 Hangar. In the foreground can be seen a board leaving passers-by with no doubt what the resident squadron was.
CF programme.jpg (41707 bytes) A scan of the front page from the programme for the Battle Of Britain week airshow in 1956. Note the free admission!
CF programme 2.jpg (69653 bytes) A scan of the inside of the booklet which accompanied the airshow programme, detailing the flying programme. 1956 or 1957.
meteor.jpg (103952 bytes) A photo of a Night-Fighter Meteor being worked on by ground-crew at Church Fenton
sportsday.jpg (124265 bytes) The front of the "RAF Church Fenton Athletic Championships" booklet, which were held on 16th May 1956.
standard_presentation.jpg (147877 bytes) A newspaper clipping of Sir Donald Hardman and Canon A.S. Giles at the presentation of the standard to 19 Squadron.

In the background can be seen 1 Hangar.

These pictures all courtesy of the Fenton Flyer in Church Fenton.

19sqnparade.jpg (28145 bytes) 19 Squadron on parade during the presentation of the standard to mark the squadron's 21st anniversary.
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hornet_1950.jpg (37808 bytes) Squadron Leader V C Woodward DFC with his Pilots and Airmen of 19 Squadron, 1950, in front of a Hornet.
meteors_1953-54.jpg (30331 bytes) Squadron Leader B Beard with his Pilots and Airmen on the pan in front of a line-up of day-fighter Meteors, 1953/54
hunter1957.jpg (34647 bytes) Squadron Leader D J Fowler and his Pilots of 19 Squadron, in front of number 2 Hangar and one of the Squadron's Hunters, 1957.

These 4 photos are all from Derick Oakley, who served at Church Fenton from April 1957 to September 1959. Derick Oakley

vulcan_1958_airshow.jpg (13035 bytes) Vulcan B2 at the 1958 airshow
meteor_low_pass.jpg (10330 bytes) Two Meteors doing a low pass over the airfield in 1958
vickers_valetta.jpg (11385 bytes) Vickers Valetta out on the pan
avro_anson.jpg (15720 bytes) Avro Anson waiting to be boarded before flying to RAF Leuchars. 1958.

Brian Davidson

Great photo from the 1954 air display. Nearest to the camera with its engines running is Mosquito RV365, while behind it is Canberra B2 WD946 in its' original Bomber Command colour scheme. The tail of one of the RAF Linton-on-Ouse based F86 Sabres (either 66 or 92 Squadron) can be seen to the right of the photo. Taxying down the runway is a Meteor 8 of one of the Church Fenton based Meteor day fighter squadrons (19 or 609).

The following photos came to me via Cliff Phillips, who was stationed at Church Fenton December 1956 until 1959. The first two photos were taken at RAF Leconfield, where Church Fenton's fighter squadrons moved after the base's closure in 1959.

In Cliff's words:

"Stood on a 72 Jav at Leconfield are on the left Harry Dwyer (24th Entry Boy Entrants-Air Radar) and the photo's owner Arthur Barnard (35th Entry Boy Entrants- Air Radar). I was 25th entry Air Radar but later changed trades to Ground Radar and served in Yorkshire again at Patrington." Arthur Barnard

Again, in Cliff's words:

"A group of 72's groundcrew sat on a tractor at Leconfield. Arthur and Harry are on the right of the picture. Unfortunatly Harry who was a good friend to me is no longer with us." Does anyone know the name of any of the others in this photo? Arthur Barnard

John L Lawrence
The Airman's mess at Church Fenton, late 1950s. John L Lawrence
Terry Meehan, in the Radio Servicing Flight in the Wireless Bay. This was the collection of green pre-fab buildings nearest to 1 Hangar, and the main road, which were demolished in the 1990s. The equipment he was working on is a TR1987 airborne VHF transmitter / receiver, which operated in the 105 - 144MHz band. John L Lawrence
A photo of the inside of room 1 of block 3 at Church Fenton, 1958/59. This block used to be the WRAF block (where the showers came out of the wall rather than from a rose in the ceiling!). John L Lawrence
A 72 Squadron pin badge, acquired by John during his time at Church Fenton. John L Lawrence
Javelin XA727 on the runway at Leconfield, shortly after 72's move from Church Fenton. Arthur Barnard
Fantastic photo of a formation start-up by 72 Sqn's Javelins at Leconfield. Arthur Barnard

Photo of an inspection of the 72 Squadron line at RAF Leconfield. Below is an enlargement of the groundcrew - anyone recognise any faces? Arthur Barnard
A photo taken in front of a NAAFI van, most likely at Church Fenton, 1957. Cliff is stood directly to the left of the van's numberplate, facing the camera. The person on the far right, facing the camera, is Alf (Pearson?).

Some photos from the 1950s, from Derek Palmer, ex-19 Squadron groundcrew. Images Derek Palmer, webmaster of the 19 Squadron Association website.

Joe _____, Derek Palmer and Ray Stanton-Linder in front of one of the hangars at Church Fenton, 1955.
1958 - The Boys!
19 Squadron line-up in front of Meteor F8s, 11th July 1956, the day the squadron was presented its Standard.
A line-up of 19 Sqn Meteor F8s on the pan.
Meteor F.8 WK691 of 19 Squadron, the aircraft that Derek always worked on and considered his own.

Alan Poole

Alan Poole's father Lawrence (Lawrie) was a master baker at Church Fenton in the late-50s. Here is a photo of him stood by two cakes he baked to commemorate the anniversary of the end of the Battle of Britain. This picture was taken on 20th September 1958.

Roger Carvell sent me this excellent photo of an ex-72 Squadron Gloster Gladiator on the Flight Line at RAF Church Fenton, with a line-up of 72 Squadron Gloster Javelins in the background, which dates it to 1959. Roger's father, W.O. Edward Carvell.


These photos all Tom Jump. Taken while Tom was stationed at Church Fenton, 1948 -1950. Tom can be contacted via the "ex-servicemen" page.

A visit from the AOC, inspecting the ranks. Appears to be taken at the end of 3 hangar. Tom is the corporal nearest the camera, wearing the glasses.
Fred Wimbleton on the left, the other two are unknown.
Tom Jump and Fred Wimbleton at Church Fenton.

Clarisse Edwards

Farewell party held in Ulleskelf, March 1949, when the W.R.A.F.s at Church Fenton were transferred to nearby RAF Linton-on-Ouse
1948 Christmas display in one of the W.R.A.F. billets

19 Squadron group photo in front of a Hornet. This looks to be taken outside 3 hangar.

Pay account staff, Church Fenton, October 1948
Pay account staff, Church Fenton, July 1948

Colin Davis, a pilot with 72 Squadron at Church Fenton from September 1957 until the squadron moved to Leconfield in mid-1959. He has sent me some excellent photos, which can be seen below. Colin Davis

Two excellent photos of a 72 Squadron Gloster formation - a Gloster Gladiator, Gloster Meteor and Gloster Javelin. The Gladiator was, I believe, still operated by Gloster aircraft at the time. The Meteor NF14 was the outgoing type on the squadron, and the Javelin was the aircraft replacing it.

The first photo is of the formation flying over Church Fenton, with 3 Hangar, the old flightline buildings, control tower and numerous other buildings in view.

The second is of the formation over the Yorkshire coast.

72 Squadron photo taken at RAF Aldergrove, Northern Ireland, in January 1958. Colin is stood at the nose of the Meteor.

Spencer Cawthorne

Fantastic group shot of 72 Sqn groundcrew, plus staff from other sections at CF, in front of a DH Comet at Church Fenton which had just arrived to transport them to Cyprus on a 12 week detachment (6 weeks Akrotiri, 6 weeks Nicosia). This photo was taken in August 1958, the squadron returned to Church Fenton in October 1958.
2 photos of 72 Sqn Meteor NF14s at Akrotiri
Time for relaxation!

Ray Stanton-Linder. Ray was a 19 Sqn rigger on Meteors and Hunters at Church Fenton from January 1955 - July 1957.

The 19 Sqn crew room at Church Fenton
Ray in a Hunter cockpit during a Turnround flight servicing
The 19 Sqn taxi - an old London cab complete with 19 Sqn's chequerboard markings on the door
Ray outside his billet doing some work on his motorbike
2 photos of the lads drinking at the Fenton Flyer

The images below are from the 72 Sqn archive:

Meteor F8 WK817 being refuelled on the line in front of 3 Hangar at Church Fenton
Meteor F8 WF677, with combined 19 / 72 Sqn markings and the letters 'MS' on the tail - presumably the Station Commander's aircraft?
Meteor F8 WE876 of Church Fenton station flight
Meteor NF14 WS833 taxying
Meteor NF12 WS609
Meteor NF14 WS793 undergoing maintenance on the line in front of 3 Hangar
72 Sqn's first Gloster Javelin XA729 at Church Fenton

These photos are all Stan Fencott, who spent 4 years at Church Fenton from 1954 - 1958. He was initially a barman waiter, and later a barman in the Officer's Mess.

LAC Stan Fencott and LAC Graham Moore, preparing for the AOC's parade!
????? and LAC R. Daniels
LAC Bob Haigh and LAC Keith Markham
Mr W. E. Harvey and ???????? cleaning a carpet
LAC R Daniels and LAC Stan Fencott
Mr Walter McGowen in the Officer's Mess kitchen
Stan Fencott
Stan Fencott
LAC Ted Reynolds
Stan behind the Officer's Mess bar. Note the 85 Sqn plaque on the wall
Officer's Mess staff.

Standing from L to R: Mr Walter McGowen, Ann ?????. LAC R Daniels, LAC Pete Johnson, Mr ????, LAC ????. Mr ?????, Head Chef Mr Sid Bell, Mr Tom ?????, Mr ?????.

Front row from L to R: Cpl Gordon (Dad) Pearson. LAC Keith Markham. Cpl Pete Richardson. Mr Ernie Harvey. LAC Stan Fencott. Mr Sam Snowling.

Someone's demob party in Selby, October 1956.

Going round the table from the rear clockwise:
LAC Pete Johnson, Mr ???? (coach driver), LAC Colin Vine, LAC Bob Haigh. LAC Ron Ainsworth. Mrs ???? (Waitress), Cpl Pete Richardson, Cpl Gordon Pearson. Mr Ron Simpson (Mess secretary), LAC Stan Fencott. LAC Graham Moore. LAC Keith Markham, Mr Sam Snowling. Mr Jim Michlemass. Flying Officer Jock Conlin.

Two photos of either 19 or 72 Sqn
Stan Fencott after the AOC's parade

These photos were all kindly sent to me by Richard Simpson, son of the late F/O Simpson, ex-19 Squadron pilot.

AOC's inspection, 1956. 19 Squadron pilots in front of what looks like 1 Hangar. The note at the top of the photos says all the scarves were hand sewn by Richard's mum.
19 Squadron pilots stand on a rainy pan at Church Fenton in front of one of the Squadron Hunters, with the Squadron's London Taxi in the background.
Photo of a direct hit from a Hunter's gunsight camera. The caption on the photo reads "Quarter attack on Valiant (V-Bomber), summer exercise over North Sea, 1957. Just approached 200 yards - pipper (centre dot) slightly low - about to fire. 4 Oerlikon 30mm. 600 rounds/min each cannon"
F/O Simpson and Kiwi Snowy McGee during their Fighter Recce course in 1953.
F/O Simpson's Hunter, XF449
19 Sqn pilots in front of F/O Simpson's Hunter XF449
Extracts from F/O Simpson's logbook
RAF Church Fenton football team.
F/O Simpson and a colleague
Two photos from the Officer's Mess ball
Presentation of the Squadron standard to 19 Sqn.
Celebrating the Queens Colours' presentation in the Sergeant's Mess, 1957.
Menu from a 19 Sqn function.
Sqn Ldr Fowler, C/O of 19 Sqn.
F/O Simpson before posting to the USA
Group shot, possibly at Church Fenton - looks as though something interesting was flying over!

This fantastic set of photos are all Ron Barber, who was with 19 Squadron at Church Fenton 1947/1948, and worked in the photographic section.

Inside the parachute bay at Church Fenton
Self portrait of Ron
The 19 Squadron football team
Photograph of the then Station Commander, Wing Commander Thunder.
Squadron Leader Arthur and friends
Ron in the Church Fenton photo section, 1947
Dave Willis, 41 Sqn photographer 1947
Ron and colleagues at CF in 1947
Farewell party
Church Fenton photo section, 1947
41 Sqn group photo in front of one of the hangars
19 Sqn group photo
Engine change on a Hurricane in the 41 Sqn hangar
Church Fenton open day, with a Washington (B-29) performing a low fly-by
Open day again, with a Lancaster fly-past
Spitfire over Church Fenton
Mk1 Hornet
Formation of Lancasters over Church Fenton
Hornet at Church Fenton
DH Vampire over Church Fenton
Engine change on a Hornet during Operation Dagger
Two crashed Hornets at Church Fenton. The pilots were practicing single engine landings, when they overshot the runway. Unfortunately a third aircraft was also coming in on one engine, and as the pilot tried to throttle up and go-round to avoid these two aircraft, he lost control and crashed in to a field about a mile from the airfield.
Armourers re-loading a Hornet at Church Fenton
Re-fuelling in front of one of the hangars.
Line up of Church Fenton based Hornets, fully prepared for Operation Dagger.
The aircraft start to taxy out to participate in Operation Dagger.

Dave Anson

Wing Commander Peter John Anson DFC's personally marked Meteor F8 sits outside 4 hangar at Church Fenton in early 1953. Many thanks to Dave Anson, Peter's son, for sending me this photo and allowing me to reproduce it here.

Angie Taylor

Two photos of Angie's father, David Common. David was stationed at Church Fenton during his National Service.
Two group photos with David in. Unfortunately none of the other names are known.

John Clegg, a Meteor pilot on 72 Sqn in the mid-1950s

Fantastic group photo of 72 Sqn, taken outside one of the C-Type hangars on station. Mid-1950s.

David Kelley, who was stationed at Church Fenton during his national service from Nov 1956 to June 1958, when he was a member of 19 Squadron.

SAC David Kelly, JT Don Walker, ?????, RAF Horsham St Faith, February 1958. No flying was able to take place during this detachment due to the snow
SAC David Kelly, JT Don Walker at Horsham St Faith
Major Newell (USAF), then CO of 19 Sqn stands by a Hunter with squadron pilots
19 Sqn Officers playing hockey in the Horsham St Faith hangar
SAC David Kelley whilst on detachment to RAF Horsham St Faith with 19 Sqn, February 1958
SAC David Kelley, SAC ?????
SAC David Kelley whilst on detachment to RAF Horsham St Faith with 19 Sqn, February 1958
Gate guardian Spitfire serial M7245 (ex-RW382). This aircraft is now flying again in the UK.
SAC David Kelley on his trusty bike (aka transport to CF railway station!) next to the 19 Sqn "hack" Vampire XD624. David sold his bike for 2.10/- when he was de-mobbed in June 1958. This aircraft is now preserved at Hooton Park, Cheshire.
19 Sqn Hunter XG228 on the ASP at Church Fenton, 3 Hangar in the background. This aircraft is still on charge of the Zimbabwean Air Force, albeit stored out of use.
XE557 from 19 Sqn at Horsham St Faith. This aircraft is now preserved in Chile
19 Sqn Hunter XF449 air-air. This aircraft was written off in June 1963
19 Sqn Hunters XG133 and XF449 air-air. XG133 was written off in September 1958

Brian Higgins was a member of 609 Sqn RAuxAF at Church Fenton in the mid-1950s. Images Brian Higgins

609 Sqn instrument section during annual summer camp at RAF Ta Kali, Malta, 1953. Some of the names:

Top Row L - R: Ron Blakely, ? Johnson, Not known, Not Known, Sgt Benson, Ray Farrar.

Front Row L-R: Asher Drabkin, ? Polish ex WW11,  Brian Higgins
609 Sqn Meteor F8 during annual summer camp at RAF Ta Kali, Malta, 1953