Superna Petimus - "We strive for higher things"
Updated: 7 Oct 12
Opened: 1 Apr 1916
became RAF College in 1929
Closed: still an active RAF station
Airfield code :: CE, CP
ICAO Code :: MWXO > EGYD
Squadrons based here:
Target Marker Force ::
12 SFTS ::
Central Flying School :: 1995 - present
RAFC Cranwell started life as Royal Naval Air Station Daedalus on 1 Apr 1916. It was responsible for training centrally naval officers to fly BE2C, Sopwith Pup, Maurice Farman, F7, airships and observer kite balloons. It was selected as it had plenty of real estate, was close to the proposed east coast Naval Air Station locations and no nearby terrain features to guide enemy aircraft to its location.
Farmland that was part of the Earl of Bristol’s estate was purchased in 1914 by the Admiralty for the purpose of constructing the aerodrome to serve as a centralised training centre for seaplanes, balloons and airships by the RNAS. It was selected for three reasons, room for expansion, close to proposed east coast postings and no outstanding natural features that would guide enemy aircraft to it. The RNAS base was named HMS Daedalus, and was opened on 1st April 1916.
After an aerial survey of the South Lincolnshire coastline, a suitable site for a bombing and gunnery range for the new RNAS Flying School at Cranwell was selected on the mud flats to the south of the village of Freiston.
After the Great War and the creation of the RAF, Cranwell was chosen as the site of the Cadet College and RAF College Cranwell began to train cadets on 5 Feb 1920. This was also the year that the only Royal Air Force Hospital in the county opened at Cranwell, not being joined by RAF Nocton Hall Hospital until 1940.
RAF Cranwell's football team played at a creditable level between the wars. For details on their performance read their separate history page.
A wartime course, ETS Course 174B is pictured in the Cranwell photo section.
The first jet-powered aircraft to fly in the UK took flight from Cranwell on 15 May 1941, designed by Frank Whittle.
Nearby South Rauceby is home to the Cranwell Aviation Heritage Centre. See the memorials page.
The Viking Way long-distance footpath passes to the west of the College at Byard's Leap on High Dyke (Ermine Street).
"spotters' guide" to RAFC Cranwell
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