RAF Locking closed at midnight on 31/03/2000
RAF Locking was opened as a training unit in 1937. The Technical Site of RAF Locking, as distinct from the airfield about a mile away and called RAF Weston-super-Mare, was the home of the RAF’s No.1 Radio School, until its relocation in 1999 to RAF Cosford.
At RAF Locking the Royal Air Force Command Pennant and Ensign were hauled down permanently at 16:00 Hrs on 31st March 2000. At 23:59hrs the site was then formerly handed over to the Defence Estates by the last Station Commander of RAF Locking, Sqn Ldr Geoff Symes. A small ceremony took place in the main guardroom at 23:59hrs and there was a champagne toast dedicated to all who had served at the Station and the Gates were ceremonially shut, with the RAF Police guards withdrawing at that point.
The Station was originally opened in January 1939 as No: 5 School of Technical Training to cater for RAF and Fleet Air Arm training in the fields of Flight Mechanics Airframe, Engines and Rigging, Parachute Packing and Fabric Working. Also trained were Marine Craft Fitters and Carpenters. The Station trained literally thousands of service personnel in support of the war effort.
At the end of WW2 Boy Entrant training continued at Locking until late 1951. All BE’s received their GST at Locking. Most were then sent off to other units to complete their training. Training for a few specialist trades remained at Locking until 1951. Adult training was progressively reduced in line with the reduction of numbers in the armed forces until in 1950 No; 5 S of TT was closed. In 1948 year RAF Locking had been transferred to No: 27 Group Technical Training Command and had became the home of No: 1 Radio School. Training National Service and Regular Air Force personnel in the Radio and Radar Trades.
RAF (Radio trades) Apprentice training which had started in 1922 at RAF Cranwell was moved to RAF Locking in 1952. Apprentice and Regular personnel continued to be trained in both Ground and Airborne Communications and Radar equipments and Systems. Additional specialisations were introduced in the mid 50’s to accommodate the new types of communications systems being introduced .
National Service finished in 1960 and as a result the numbers of airman trainees passing through Locking dropped as a consequence. Members of ‘other’ Air Forces (including Germans, Iranians and Jordanians) were trained in the various electronics specialisations available at Locking during this period.
Any exbrat RAF Locking Apprentices should contact RAF Locking Apprentice Association here.