AVIATION NORTH-WEST
A LOOK AROUND VARIOUS AIRFIELDS OF NORTH-WEST ENGLAND
ANW SITE INDEX REDNAL AERODROME REDNAL PAGES

REDNAL.1 INDEX
On April 1, 2012, a fly in took place to Salute the 70th Anniversary of RAF Rednal.
A short history follows below.

Rednal opened as an RAF base on the 8th April 1942. Number 61 Operational Training Unit was located here between the 16th April 1942 and June 1945 under 81 Group Fighter Command. The training unit moved to Rednal from Heston, equipped for the most part with Spitfires, bearing the code letters DE, HX, KR, TO and UU.

Rednal was a standard three runway station, with it's runways being one of 1,600 yards and two of 1,100 yards in length. 50 dispersal hard-standings were provided. Three Bellman Hangars were erected on the Technical Site and eight Blister Hangars were added later. The living sites were all to be found about half a mile to the north-west.

The training undertaken by the pilots at Rednal was intensive. This being the case, training sessions often resulted with high accident rates. In common with other OTU's Rednal witnessed many incidents; take off and landing crashes, mid-air collisions, taxiing accidents and Spitfires lost on the high ground of south Shropshire and North Wales. The possibility of such accidents put a great strain on the personnel working at Rednal, day after day, week after week. The exercises undertaken at Rednal included sector reconnaissance, cross-country, high climb to 30,000 feet, instrument flying, low flying, formation flying, bomber affiliation and dogfight practice. Dogfight practice claimed the life of one young Belgian, Pilot Officer, Jean Noizet who collided with another Spitfire and crashed into a local wood; his body was only discovered in 1977, still inside the cockpit of his Spitfire. The remains of this aircraft are now on display at RAF Cosford museum.

A number of military hospitals were established in Shropshire prior to D-Day, in preparation for the inevitable heavy casualties. Rednal was one of the airfields chosen to take receipt of the wounded, who were flown direct from the battle front. The first Dakota landed at Rednal on July 3 1944. Flights went on throughout July and included wounded German as well as Allied personnel. During August, 77 Dakotas landed at Rednal flying in about 1,750 men, the average load was 24 stretcher patients per aeroplane.

61 OTU began to re-equip with Mustang III's in January 1945 and at the same time a number of Miles Masters were exchanged for Harvards. The Mustang's accident rate was lower than the Spitfire at Rednal, however five pilots were killed in crashes resulting from causes as diverse as oxygen failure, colliding with high ground, losing control in cloud and stalling on approach when carrying long range fuel tanks.

On June 16 1945, 61 OTU moved to Keevil in Wiltshire. Rednal was no longer wanted and was reduced to Care and Maintenance, then finally sold off in 1962. Rednal Airfield is now owned by the local Mostyn-Owen family and is home to a number of activities, including paint-balling and go-karting, as well of course being the operational base for Rednal Aviation.