History of RAF West Kirby.
RAF West Kirby Association.
A Potted History
The RAF Camp at West Kirby existed from 1940 until about 1960 but according to official records the final passing out parade took place on December 20th 1957. Since then the camp has passed into oblivion and the area is now a mix of farm land and Country Park.
No 5 Recruits Centre (1). Formed 25.4.40 at West Kirby(Saughall Massie);12.2.41 Staff ex 1 PDC arrived and unit then functioned as a de facto PDC in No 24 Group: 20.2.41 No 4 wing to Weston super Mare;3.3.41 No 1 wing to Skegness; Redesignated No 1 Personnel Despatch Centre 17.9.41.
(2) Reformed 1.9.46 at West Kirby; Redesignated No 5 School of Recruit Training 1.11.48.
Above information was sent in by Percy Woodhouse, to Cliff East.
A book is also in existence “West Kirby and Beyond” by Denis Tomlinson a veteran of the camp.
During this period in excess of 150,000 young men passed through the camp either on route to foreign parts in its early days as a transit camp, or as recruits to be trained by the various drill instructors. There was of course also a core of permanent staff to cater for all the various needs of those young men.
In more recent years there have been many attempts to gather lists of names of those who attended and even to try to organise a reunion.
In 2001 a lady named Ada Stewart an ex NAAFI girl organised a reunion ostensibly for ex NAAFI staff but also involving a number of the old recruits and Dis. This first meeting was held at the 12th Man Public House and Restaurant at Greasby, which is very near to the site of the old camp.
A further reunion was held the following year at the Dene Court Hotel in Chester. At this meeting by a show of hands it was voted to form an association and a small number of volunteers (service training stood for nothing) set about forming the association.
The next reunion was held again in Chester at the Hoole Hall Hotel. At that meeting it was decided that there should be some form of memorial to show where the camp had been and a bucket collection started a fund for that.
The fourth reunion was held in 2004 at Leasowe Castle Hotel, Moreton, a village well know to some.
At this meeting we were able to unveil our Commemorative plaque and there is now a clear indication to any old boys who pass to show them where they spent those few weeks.
The fifth reunion was held in 2005, again at Leasowe Castle Hotel
The sixth reunion was held in 2006, again at Leasowe Castle Hotel.
On the Sunday Morning the new Commemorative stone was unveiled by our
President Lord Pendry.
September 2003 The RAF West Kirby Reunion website launches.
September 2005 The web site was updated.
January 2009 The website was upgraded and updated.
September 2011 The website was upgraded and updated,
due to a problem with publishing to the web.
November 2012, the Website was completely rebuilt.
Use this E address for web site queries only.
Anything else to do with the Association should be sent to,
TERRY BARRY, at E-mail:-
I recieved the following from Liz Bell About her father Fl. Lt Owen Burns.
With 2 photos.
I have just received the first copy of 'The Lake', a local magazine for West Kirby, Hoylake and Meols. I read with interest the article relating to RAF West Kirby.
I write to advise that my father Fl Lt Owen Burns RAF retd. was Officer Commanding RAF West Kirby for a couple of years at the end of the war.
In 1945 he was PA to Air Vice Marshall Spackman stationed on the south coast and his boss asked where he wanted to be posted to. He opted for RAF West Kirby because he was originally born in Birkenhead and his wife (my mum) lived in Birkenhead with his then 2 children.
He left the RAF in or around 1948 and went on to have 7 children, all born in Birkenhead.
I am pleased and proud to tell you that he is now 97 years old and lives in London.
He flew in Blenheims during the Battle of Britain and is now one of 'The Few' there being only possibly 12 still alive in UK.
He is actively involved in the Battle of Britain Association. Recently HRH Prince Charles commissioned a portrait of him and I enclose some photographs of him chatting to HRH after its unveiling.
I hope your association finds this interesting.
Can anyone answer the following question ?
Where was the dance hall that we were allowed to go to,
Hoylake, or ??
Just had an E mail from Bill Pound,
who was at W/K from March to May 1953,
He said it was " The Haigh Dance Hall",
Thanks Bill, Webmaster, Les.
Just had an E mail from Peter Scot he said it was New Brighton, but doesn't know the name of the hall, 26/7/10
Thanks Peter. Webmaster, Les.
Had an E mail 29/08/10, from Michael McCarthy, with the item below.
The request for the dance hall place produced an answer that it was Hoylake. In fact, the Haig Hall Dance was held in Haigh Hall, Haigh Avenue off Sandbrooke Lane Moreton and in the 1950s was run by Joe Barnes and his wife. Apart from the dance floor there were snooker tables in the room upstairs.
Thanks Michael, Webmaster, Les.
The above 4 photos, showing an ex RAF West Kirby hut that has been re-sited
& recycled in to a Church Hall, it is in the grounds surrounding,
St John The Divine Church, Frankby Road, Frankby, Wirral, CH48 1PE.
I wonder how many more have been put to a good use???.
I received a letter from Keith Howard with a cutting on the 29/01/2012, re the above ex W K Hut/church hall. It was taken from the Wirral Globe, I have contacted the Editor to get permission to place it on our Website, but so far have had no response.
The gist of it is as follows.
Timber church hall faces demolition, and replaced with an equivalent sized structure. It goes on to say, The timber structure was brought by the church from the former RAF camp nearby and has served as a church hall for several decades.
Above 2 sent in by John Daniels, via Cliff East.
Above front cover sent in by Bob Attwood B.E.M., via Cliff East.
I had a copy of that edition, but no idea where it went, Les.
This should take you back, ah ! memories,
The original was sent to me by Baz Clarke for me to use on our website, Baz lives on the Wirral and passes the old camp most days, although he is a young fellow ( early 50's) I believe, he has an interest on the history of the camp. Also any other things of interest he finds he will pass on to me.
3 More West Kirby Parade front covers,
sent in by Cliff East, as he said the back page is always
a map of Liverpool.
The July one has the Festival of Britain portrayed.
Above is an extract sent in by Gil Stanley from his Book,
never published, of his childhood memories.
See his write up in the Guest Book.
Anyone reconise this N.A.A.F.I. photo ?.
Is it West Kirby ?.
Please let me know your views. ( Les Webmaster)
Above four sent in by Cpl Tooze, via Cliff East.
Above group of Painters of west Kirby, sent in by Keith Howard,
his Dad, Joe Howard is at the right standing, (as you look at the photo)
with glasses and with the light sports coat. Sadly he is no longer with us.
The above three photos were sent in by Lesley McGuire (nee Boast) of her Dad Cpl.Ronald Boast,
Mother and Grandparents. Lesley said, it was here he met my mother, as her parents Joseph and Irene Corrigan, ran the YMCA Canteen on the West Kirby RAF base.
A further 5 photos are on the B.W.K. page, when he was at Padgate.
Above cutting sent to Cliff, both him and I have tried to enhance it but this is the best we can do.
If I could have the name of the newspaper, I would contact them to see if they can help.
Above photo sent in via Cliff East.
G & H Squadrons, 1952.
March 1952, sent in by the Grandson Mick Briggs, of Gordon King.
Above 2 photos sent in by Cpl. Alan Sutcliffe, 1955.
Sent in by John V Diamond, 1954.
Above sent by Mike Stambois, from September 1952.
Above 3 items, Passing out parade G & H Squadrons,
14th November 1952, sent in by Vic Pagdin.
More of his photos on the 1950 - 53 page.
Above photo sent in by Gary Stanley, Son of Albert Stanley. Oct - Nov 1952.
1953, sent to me by peter Holland, via Cliff East.
Above sent in by Alwyn York, June / July 1953.
Above two sent in by david Tennant, Nov 1953.
Both above photos sent via Cliff East.
Above sent in by Peter Boskett April 1954
October 1954, sent in by ???.
Passing out parade, sent in by Norman Quirk.
I have a black & white copy of this photo which was issued to me in my small blue RAF passing out photo album which contains official shots of my intake and supposedly passing out parade pics. The pic of the passing out parade I have is the same as the pic which states it was Trenchard passing out in May 1957. My pic was issued in December 1956 so that Trenchard pic is obviously wrong. It was a standard pic used in airmans blue pic albums to show a passing out parade and must have been taken at some unknown date but certainly before Dec 1956 and I think a lot of people have copies of this same pic which is not of their own parade. This was sent in by John Lockwood, many thanks John.
Above Photo from Jim Dowson.
Above five photos, on parade the 50's.
Sent to Cliff by an ex DI.
Above sent to me by Peter Miles, Feb 1957, taken by his Father.
Peter is in front rank 6th from left.
One above from Eric Betts 1953,
more of his photos on Photos 1951 - 53.
Sent in by Colin Thackeray, 1954 / 56.
Sent to me by Cliff East, another photo is on the 1952 -53 page from Reginald.
Above photo from Michael Uzzell, via Cliff.
Above photo sent in by Cpl. Alan Sutcliffe, 1955.
Lower barack blocks August 1949, sent in by John Phillips. With cookhouse.
On parade outside the Drill Shed.
Another Passing out parade.
Above two photos taken from James(Jim) Aitken's
website, many thanks Jim.
To see his website go to the Links Page,( it is the last but one on the links page).
Above sent in by Alan Cooke, via Cliff.
Just had David Keith Wordsworth, in the Guest Book,
saying he is 13th from left in the above photo.
David's E address is in the Guest Book, if anyone want's to get in touch.
On parade, Aug/Nov 1953, above 2 photos sent in by Derek Painter.
Above 2 sent in by Arnold Creaser.
This passing out parade sent in by Vic Prior, May - July 1957
Also sent in by Andrew Philpin, on behalf of his Uncle Roger Watts.
Bob's C Squadron on parade July 1953, intake No. 201.
He also said the following, in his E-mail:-
We did not have a passing out parade, instead we lined the route for the the State visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh to the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod on Friday 10th July, 1953 shortly after the Coronation.
Derek Walker on parade.
The following 5 photos were sent in by Cliff East,
from Cpl Bob Jarvis.
I felt the above 5 should all come under West Kirby's history.
Above 2 photos sent in by Peter Snowden, his hut's display team,
mid July 1951, Peter is in the front row 2nd from left.
Same photo as below, but with some names.
Sent in by John Donkin via Cliff East.
ABOVE PHOTOS FROM CLIFF EAST, ARCHIVIST, CIRCA 1950'S.
Above two sent in by david Harvey, Son of Edward (Ed) Harvey.
Same as the two below but a bit clearer.
Above two from G.E. Richman, via Terry Barry.
More photos on 1954 - 57 page.
Above 3 photos sent to me Via. Cliff East.
Aug - Sept 1948, sent by John Guild, via Cliff East.
The dreaded Kit Inspection, (feared only just second to the FFI !!!).
Sent in by Ralph Sparrow, from 1956.
Hut ready for inspection, from Edmund Phillips.
This one sent in by Vic Pagin. Anyone know what date?
Are they beret's or peak cap's on the blankets.
Definitely peaked caps. Mike Stambois, sent me 4 photos and one
is the same as above and you can see the caps more clearly.
From Norman Quirk, Jan. 1952.
Above photo from Peter Snowden July 1951.
From Terry Forman, 1952 Jan - Mar.
Also from Ed Mills Feb - Mar 1951.
Another Hut photo, this one has wooden lockers, sent by G. E. Richman.
Two of the same Hut? this one sent in by Colin Thackeray, 1954 / 56.
Hut 106, sent in by peter Boskett, April 1954. This makes 4 of the same hut.
Now another one of Hut 106, sent in by David Harvey.
Son of Edward (Ed) Harvey.
Above 2 sent in by Arnold Creaser.
Another one of Hut 198 Trenchard Feb/Mar 1957.
sent in by Reg Duffy.
Another Hut photo from Vic Prior, May/July 1957.
Also sent in by Andrew Philpin on behalf of his late Uncle Roger Watts.
Another view of Hut 198, sent in by Dave Bloomfield.
The camp being demolished 1957.
Above photo sent in to Gerald Pardey by a friend of his.
Above photo of one of the Wing Parade Square, sent in by Ernie Marshall, June 2011.
Latest occupants of the camp.
This was sent to me today by Alan Forsyth, check with the map below to see the outline of the camp as it is now.
View of the R.A.F. West Kirby site, just showing the old path layout of the camp and just above,
is the layby where the Commemorative Stone is.
Here is another view of the Camp, sent in by Frank Guest, via the Guest book.
To use this photo, I have been asked to put a link on our site for them as follows:-
Above two photos sent in by Mike Gutierrez, in the top photo.
with Leasowe lighthouse in the background,
and in the bottom one, showing the area where the campsite used to be.
Above bus sent in by Gerald Pardey, ring any bells?
Just heard from Michael McCarthy, he tells me this is a Leyland TS model,
and Crosville ran the bus service, they had a depot in West Kirby.
The following photo is of a K100 which was new in 1936,
Michael's Mum was a Clippy after the war.
Meols station. Sent by Gerald Pardey.
4 more photos of Meols Station, sent in by Alan Sutcliffe.
Below is the footpath on Pump Lane opposite the camp where we used to take a short cut
across the fields to get to Meols Station.
Above 7 photos sent in by Allan Sutcliffe.
Another 8 photos from Alan Sutcliffe.
All above 15 photos Alan said were taken in the last 2 to 3 years, these 8 were put on today 8/04/2013.
Post card sent in by Ray Preston, via Cliff. Ray sent the same one to me some time ago,
but it wasn't so clear as this one. On the bend you can see the queue for the old
Tudor Cinema, and top right, on the junction is the Tower of the Railway Station.
The following was sent to me by Eddie Howard, via Terry Barry.
As it is almost unreadable I have retyped it,
and it follows after the original.
One of my photos which I have cropped to give more details,
of West Kirby Railway Station, Les Haines.
History of RAF West Kirby 2.
WAAF's bound for South East Asia Command, gathered in a
drill shed at RAF West Kirby, prior to entraining for
Liverpool Docks, 4th - 8th October 1944.
Sent in by Cliff East.
The above two pages were taken from the "Evergreen" Magazine
and sent to Cliff East by Mike Uzzell. Cliff has since been in touch with
Angeline Wilcox, Assistant Editor, "This England" & "Evergreen",
she is sending Cliff a copy of the Magazine, so we could have more.
The above pages are published on this website with permission, and with acknowledgements, and thanks,
to the (Autumn 2008) "Evergreen Magazine"
Contact details, E-Mail:- firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel:- 01242 537900.
I have just received the above photo from Michael P McCarthy,
with the explanation below. can anyone help ?
Speaking with an old school friend he showed me this pic which I have enclosed. His mother was Muriel Harrop, (nee Osbourne ) She was known as Ossie or Mo. She is on the back row third from the right. The reason I sent this is that Muriel worked in the NAAFI at RAF West Kirby. What we would like to find out is if this pic was taken at West Kirby and what year.
Perhaps your members might identify it or any other girls on it. Any info would be gratefully received by her son. Muriel died 18 months ago and the pic was found in her belongings.
I received an E mail from Ken Pemberton Sat 1/06/2013, saying his Mother
Freda Pemberton, (Nee Pickles), was in the NAAFI at West Kirby during WW2.
Does anyone remember her? and if so is she in the above photo.
Please send me, Les Haines, an E mail if you have any information.
Anyone know where the above 4 photos were taken, I would not have thought W K.
I could be wrong. Les Webmaster.
Above 5 from Harry Bolton, via Terry Barry.
Harry is 2nd from right, in the 'Ship'.
Above sent in by Tony Davies, of his late Dad, in the Sgt's Mess with friends. He was in Trenchard Squadron , and was DI., and I/C of a Flight, 1950 / 1953.
Above photo sent in by Collin Booth, via Cliff East,
and 2nd photo about 49 photos below.
Sent in by Colin Whiley, via Cliff East.
Shows the staff of the Armoury at RAF West Kirby
in late 1956. Colin is the one in the dirty overall,
he cannot remember the names of the rest of the crew.
Can anyone help with names??
Above 3 sent in by Cpl. Bob Russell, via Cliff East.
Could be the Cup for the best shot?
as it is by the rifle range.
Above 3 photos sent to me by Erika Maria Walton (nee Wren),
of her Father, Arthur Wren, from July 1952.
Group photo and two other photo are on
Page for 1950-1953 photos.
Weapons Instructor, Cpl., Robert Sefton, RAF Regiment.
Above 4 sent to me Via Cliff East.
Above three sent in by Tony Grimley, via Cliff East.
Above two photos sent in by John Lockwood.
North Wales during R & I, Training, November 1956.
Above photo, sent in by P.J. Tullis.
Jan/Mar 1957. Peter is the one with the mug of tea.
Sgt Alex Davies, 4th from left, date unknown other than 1950 to 58.
Alex is 2nd from right.
Alex is 3rd from right.
Alex is in the middle of front row.
Alex in baseball cap.
Alex is in 2nd row 3rd from right.
Above 6 photos sent in by Frances O'Keefe, son in Law of
Late Sgt Alex Davies
Above 7 photos sent in by Arnold Creaser.
Far right Nigel gullis, second left Barry Beer & third right standing Frank Clark
Above two sent in by Noel Dunmow,
Map reading North wales, Horseshoe pass, Aug. 1956.
Noel is far right.
Bull session, left to right, Don Davies, Ken Griffiths and Ken Durk.
Left to right.
Back row, Ken Gilmore, Ron Hall, Ron Gratton,
Bob Goodwin, John Heath.
Ken Durk, Don Davies, Dave James
Photos May 1957, Churchill Squadron.
Above two sent in by Don Davies, another of Don's photos,
is on 1954 - 57 page.
Above photo sent in by Peter Hall, via Cliff East.
Sent in via Cliff East.
Above four photos sent in by Terry Powell, 2 more on the 1957 page.
Above sent in by Lloyd Stridiron, via Terry Barry.
Taken March 1st 1957.Lloyd is in back row 2nd from right.
Taken March 1st 1957.
Left to right back row: ? ?Bill Titley, jock Pugh, ?.
Front row: ? ? Tony Rees.
This is the camp, for the two nights.
The two photos were taken during the reliability & Initiative
training camp at Snowdon, January 1965.
Sent in by Bill Titley, via Cliff East.
Away in the Welsh mountains, Trawsfyneth,
W.J. (Bill) Reynolds, is at the back far right.
Geoff and his mates on a camping week in the Welsh Mountain area.
On dustbin duty.
Above two photos sent me by Geoff Cox,via Terry Barry.
2nd Photo on this page, sent in by Colin Booth, via Cliff East.
Above photo from Ken Tasker, via Cliff East.
John Dow 1956, sent to me by Cliff East.
Also at Trawsfyndd.
Above two photos sent to Terry Barry, by Gerald Hardwick, then on to Cliff, & on to me.
I have the names of some of the Airmen but they are not in the same place in both photos,
so will just put names here. John Hall, tallest is D.A.Lilley, --- Butler, K. Holehouse or J.L. Howarth.
B. Mildenhall, Baker or Bailey
The following is from one of the letters Gerald sent home.
The spelling of the village could be Eryrys, depending who you are.
Two photos of the Sun Inn, uncropped.
More phots of wet Wales.
Above 4 sent in by Brian Bunker.
This is Gerald.
Anyone recognize the huts ?? Trenchard ??
3 more photos from Gerald Hardwick, hut cleaning, end of hut
and general view. Sent in via Cliff. I am waiting for more information to add.
9 photos sent in by Gerald hardwick,
via Terry Barry (2) and the rest by Cliff East.
R&I near Oswestry, Shropshire. 1957. Sent in by Don Davies.
Lto R, Back row, John Heath, Ron Hall, Dave Jones, Ken Durk.
Front Row, ?,?, Don "taffy" Davies, ?, ?, Ken Griffiths.
Sent in by Dave Bloomfield.
Above photo sent in by John Freestone, via Cliff East.
Above photo sent to Cliff by Edmund Phillips, with the following letter.
three more photos on the "Where are they now" page.
(I feel this should come under History of W/K. Les Haines.)
I was one of a group (of 9) Cadet Air Gunners posted to West Kirby for our Initial Training in August 1951. (I had joined up in mid July '51.) We started off on one 'Course' for four weeks, then sent off on leave for a few days. When we returned to the unit we were pushed forward onto another 'Course' that was a week or so ahead of us. This was to get us through the WK training course in time to get onto the next available Aircrew Training Course at the Central Gunnery School (RAF Leconfield) One lad failed the course at the CGS but the 'surviving' eight of us were made up to Sergeants on Dec. 6th. I don't think many people realise that West Kirby trained lots of National Service Aircrew in the early 1950s. One of the courses that came after ours consisted of five N/S lads who went on to become Air Engineers, the remaining seven course members became Air Gunners. It is on record that in the period from April 1951 to March 1955 the Aircrew Selection Centre dealt with an intake of 13,818 National Service candidates. 5964 were accepted; 2714 Pilots; 1617 Navigators; 944 Signallers; 295 Engineers and 394 Air Gunners. We went on to serve on Shackletons in Coastal Command - (after lots more training). Other N/S Gunners went to Bomber Command on Lincolns and Washingtons. On the squadron I served on we also had a few N/S signallers posted in later in 1953.