WThe Wartime Memories Project - RAF Bicester

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RAF Bicester opened in 1917 as a base of the Royal Flying Corps. It was home to No 1 Camouflage Unit from September 1939 to November 1940 flying Blenheim and Spitfires.

Biscester became home to 13 OTU flying Blenheims, Spitfires and Mosquitos. Leaving in December 1944

Other units used the base on a short term basis, these included: 135 Sqn, 308 Sqn, 403 Sqn, 457 Sqn, 605 Sqn

The site was until recently in use by the RAF and Army.

Squadrons stationed at RAF Bicester

  • No 1 Camouflage Unit
  • 13 OTU
  • 135 Squadron
  • 308 Squadron
  • 403 Squadron
  • 457 Squadron
  • 605 Squadron

I was at Bicester O.T.U in July 26th 1944 on Mosquito Conversion, until September 10 1944. F/o Scott, F/o Hall, F/o Binnie, F/Lt King, and a F/o Cummimngs were at that time Training us. Whilst There my younger brother Lawrance Youens was killed in action wile serving as a Navigator on Pathfinder Mosquitos. A S/Leader Thomas flew me to Gravely to see his C/O.. I was transfered to Mosquitoes, Having been a Staff Pilot at No 2 (OAFU) from September 9th 1942 to Feb 29th 1944. My first introduction to the Mossy was at Swanton Morley, prior to going to Bicester. I was then sent to No 21 Squadron 140 Wing, which included 464 Australian Sqd and 487 Newzealand Sqd, of 2nd Tactical Airforce. Where my ops were First from Gravesend and finally at Thorney Island Hants.

Can you help me in tracing any photograghs taken at Bicester or who to contact, as I do not have one single photo of myself in uniform. I do remember one was taken with 2 Spitfire Pilots whilt at Bicester, 3 of us stting together against a building. I am hoping that some pictures taken at that time still exist. I am now 81 and want to satisfy my Grandchildrens constant Queries.

Regards F/O Jack Youens

Does anyone stationed at RAF Bicester during the war recall any land army girls visiting the base? I am looking for information about my mother who was known then as Louisa Jones (nickname 'Lou') I do not know if she ever visited the base, but it was the nearest to where she was working in the Womans Land Army. She worked on a farm near Akeley Woods. She may have visited the base, perhaps for whatever reason, I do not know. She did visit a Canadian servicemans hospital in the area, so it could be that maybe she visited RAF Bicester when they had social gatherings etc. Any information you could tell me would be greatly appreciated.

Les Jones

Unknown, Bob Burns, Richie Digges and Edward Dean, 13 OTU

The pilots, taken outside their billet at Bicester

Left to right. #1Charles "Richie" Digges. DFC RAAF. #2. Alan Wilson #3.Freddie Dennis #4 Edward George "John" Dean. RAAF.

Dad and crew were out on a night flying exercise and were given the usual fight plan and way points to aid their navigation. However one thing led to another and dad's navigator Mike was repeatedly his checking chart's as dad was asking for the heading to next way point. Mike crawled back out of the nose of the Blenheim next to dad and said" I think your lost!" Dad retorted in his Aussie accent. "your the bloody navigator I'm only steering the bloody thing" with a final comment from Alec Hoyle the WOPAG "Have you boys up the front got me lost, now we will be late getting back for supper"

After flying around for 15 mins trying to get their bearings, dad spotted a line of Barrage Balloons stretching out in the distance and an airfield below them. "That looks like the approach to our airfield" says dad, Mike fire's the coded signal flare for the day and the answering flare was fired from the ground and the runway lights flickered into life.

Down they when for what they thought would be a welcome cupper and maybe some cake or biscuits for supper . Upon landing two Military Police jeeps screamed up either side of the aircraft as dad taxied between some sinister looking aircraft painted black with strange aerials sticking out of the nose.

Dad said "This doesn't look like Bicester and they are funny looking Mosquito's "Their not Mossie's say's Mike. ".Upon stopping at a spot indicated to them by a very angry looking MP they were invited out of the Blenheim at gunpoint and ushered away to the Adjutants office with a please explain why you had landed at a this airfield.

Dad explained that they had lost their bearings and the Barrage Balloons gave them a perfect line up of what they had thought was their airfield. Well said the Adj "This is a classified Night Fighter base and we will have to do something about the Balloons so it won't happen again". They were given the correct bearing to home and sent on their way.

They had landed at one of the Westland Whirlwind bases and at the time radar in night fighters was experimental and a closely guarded secret

I don't know whether they got their supper when they arrived back at Bicester.

Pilot's billet Bicester

The Pilot's Billet House at Bicester, can anyone tell me if this house still exsists and what is called?

Edward Dean's training report

Edward Dean's flying report.

My father Edward George Dean Served at 13 otu from April 41 till July 41. I would like to hear from any one that served around that time. He was a sgt plt. I am currently compiling his biography and have a great number of photo's and stories any infomation it would be greatly welcome.

Timothy Dean
UPDATE: I live in Bicester, yes the house is still there, for a long time it was called Coker House, but then some years ago it was renovated and turned into retirment flats for the elderly. Nice to see an old photo of the house.

Jason King

My father was killed at Bicester Airfield, Wednesday 10 December 1941. His aircraft, a Blenheim, stalled and crashed on take off killing all three crew members. My father William Dunn, Alfred Steadman and a Canadian Howard Schrader.

I would love to hear from anyone who was stationed at Bicester at that time, as I am currently writing an article for a local book (my Father's home town) 13 Operational Training Unit had a similar crash on 6 December 1941 when a Blenheim crashed just after take off killing all crew members. Some of the crew are buried in the nearby St Laurence Churchyard at Caversfield. Any information on Bicester Aifield would be appreciated too.

Thankyou Trish Horan


Entrance to RAF Biscester Today

Entrance to RAF Biscester.

Road from main gate

Road from main gate.

The Guardroom

The Guard Room.

Fire Section

The Fire Section.

Fire section & trailer pump shed.

Fire section & trailer pump shed

The Chapel

The Chapel

Water Tower

Water Tower

Airfield ID

Airfield ID

Briefing Hut

Briefing Hut

Coke Store

Coke Store

Entrance to the C-type Hanger

Entrance to the C-type Hanger

MT Yard

MT Yard

Interior C-type Hanger

Interior C-type Hanger

Hanger Defence Post

Hanger Defence Post

Hanger Doors

Hanger Doors

Side of the C Type Hanger

Side of the C Type Hanger

Trailer Pump Shed

Trailer Pump Shed

Store Buildings

Store Buildings

Photos by Terence Jessup, ex-RAF Fire Section 1953 - 1959. The photos were taken mainly in 1996 but are of wartme installations.

If you have any Photographs you would like to share please get in touch.

List of those who served at RAF Bicester

  • F/o Binnie
  • Bob Burns RAF.
  • F/o Cummimngs
  • Sgt. Edward George "John" Dean. RAAF (Pilot.) 13 otu
  • Richie Digges. DFC RAAF
  • William Dunn
  • F/o Hall
  • Alec Hoyle. Wop/AG. 13 otu.
  • F/Lt King
  • Alfred Steadman
  • Howard Schrader (Canadian)
  • F/o Scott
  • S/Leader Thomas
  • Corporal John Albert "Bert" Wilson. Read his story
  • F/O Jack Youens Read his story

If you have any names to add to this list, or any recollections or photos of those listed, please get in touch.

If you have a story which you would like to share, or a website dedicated to an airfield or aircrew, please get in touch.

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