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Cardington

Major
Also known as: Bedford / RAF Cardington
County: Bedfordshire
Current Status: Aviation / Housing / Industry
Date: 1917 - 1 January 2000; subsequent limited use to present
Current Use: Limited flying
Used By: RAF / Civil
Landing Surface Types: Unpaved
Prominent People: Sir Sefton Brancker / Lord Thomson

The following organisations are either based at, use and/or have at least potentially significant connections with the airfield (as at 01/09/2011):

  • 134 (Bedford) Squadron ATC
  • Cardington Parish Council
  • Eastcotts Parish Council
  • Frontier Estates
  • Hybrid Air Vehicles

Main unit(s) present:

  • No 1 Balloon Repair Depot
  • No 2 Aircraft Storage Unit
  • No 2 RAF Depot
  • No 2 Recruit Receiving Centre
  • No 4 Aviation Candidates Selection Board
  • No 7 Aviation Candidates Selection Board
  • No 9 Aviation Candidates Selection Board
  • No 14 Joint Services Trials Unit
  • No 19 Aviation Candidates Selection Board
  • No 25 MU
  • No 26 MU
  • No 102 'P' Balloon Flight
  • No 102 Personnel Dispersal Centre
  • No 104 'P' Balloon Flight
  • No 172 Personnel Transit Centre
  • No 217 MU
  • No 244 MU
  • No 260 (Balloon) Wing
  • No 912 (Balloon) Sqn
  • No 914 (Balloon) Sqn
  • No 924 (Balloon) Sqn
  • No 931 (Balloon) Sqn
  • No 954 (Balloon) Sqn
  • No 955 (Balloon) Sqn
  • No 956 (Balloon) Sqn
  • No 957 (Balloon) Sqn
  • No 958 (Balloon) Sqn
  • No 959 (Balloon) Sqn
  • No 963 (Balloon) Sqn
  • No 965 (Balloon) Sqn
  • No 967 (Balloon) Sqn
  • No 970 (Balloon) Sqn
  • No 971 (Balloon) Sqn
  • No 972 (Balloon) Sqn
  • No 973 (Balloon) Sqn
  • No 974 (Balloon) Sqn
  • No 975 (Balloon) Sqn
  • No 976 (Balloon) Sqn
  • No 986 (Balloon) Sqn
  • No 990 (Balloon) Sqn
  • No 1440 Flight
  • No 2802 Sqn RAF Regiment
  • Ferry Flight, Cardington
  • Polish Balloon Unit
  • Training Aids Development Flight
001IWM (CH 1521).jpg

Kite balloons and balloon winches of No 1 Balloon Training Unit are prepared for handling practice at Cardington during the Second World War. © IWM (CH 1521)

002IWM (CH 17333).jpg

Kite balloons of No 1 Balloon Training Unit at Cardington, October 1940. © IWM (CH 17333)

003Airfield & Technical Site. Trackway near the airship sheds - 25 June 2010.png

Trackway near the airship sheds, 25 June 2010. © Richard Flagg

004Airfield & Technical Site. Hangar : Airship Shed No.2 - 25 June 2010.png

Airship Shed No 2, 25 June 2010. © Richard Flagg

005Airfield & Technical Site. Hangar : Airship Shed No.2 - 1 February 2013.png

Airship Shed No 2, 1 February 2013. © Richard Flagg

006Airfield & Technical Site. Hangar : Airship Shed No.1 - 17 May 2013.png

Airship Shed No 1, 17 May 2013. © Richard Flagg

007Airfield & Technical Site. Hangars : Airship Sheds No.1 and No.2 - 1 February 2013.png

Airship Sheds No 1 and No 2, 1 February 2013. © Richard Flagg

008Airfield & Technical Site. Station Headquarters - 1 February 2013.png

Station Headquarters, 1 February 2013. © Richard Flagg

009Airfield & Technical Site. Hangars : Airship Sheds No.1 and No.2 - 9 April 2017.png

Airship Sheds No 1 and No 2, 9 April 2017. © Richard Flagg

010Hybrid Air Vehicles Airlander 10 (G-PHRG : 09-00009) - 9 April 2017.png

Hybrid Air Vehicles Airlander 10, 9 April 2017. © Richard Flagg

Footage of the Mayfly airship at Barrow-in-Furness and a R101 airship at Cardington, 1911 and c. 1930s. Courtesy of HuntleyFilmArchives

Three Commonwealth Prime Ministers observe the R33 Airship at Cardington, 1925. Courtesy of British Pathé

The R100 airship completing a successful flight to a mooring post at Cardington, 1929. Courtesy of British Pathé

The R100 Airship at Cardington, 1930. Courtesy of British Pathé

The Graf Zeppelin arrives at Cardington, 1930. Courtesy of British Pathé

Footage of Cardington, 1949. Courtesy of British Pathé

Footage of balloons at Cardington, 1949. Courtesy of British Pathé

RAF Cardington receiving the Freedom of Bedford, 1959. Courtesy of British Pathé

The RAF Research Centre at Cardington, 1966. Courtesy of British Pathé

Aerial footage of Cardington, c. January 2016. Courtesy of Crazy Places

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Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust is registered in England and Wales. Registered Office: Suite 1, 3rd Floor, 11-12 St. James Square, London, SW1Y 4LB.
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