The aerodrome at Caversfield was originally established during the First World War as a training facility for those destined to serve on the Western Front. It was closed in 1920 and began redevelopment as a bomber base six years later.
Prior to the Second World War many of the Royal Air Force’s most advanced bombers of the time were based at Bicester. The base was increased in size to cope with larger aircraft of the period including Sidestrand and Overstrand bombers. From 1936 the latest Bristol Blenheim bombers were a common site in the skies over Bicester as there squadrons were based at the Aerodrome.
In 1939 squadrons of Fairey Battle light bombers were sent to France to counter the German threat. Crew members of these squadrons were awarded Victoria Crosses for their bravery in May 1940. The first flight of the Handley Page Halifax heavy bomber took place from Bicester in October 1939. The base subsequently became an important training base for British and Commonwealth aircrews until 1944 when it became involved in supplying materials for the ‘D Day’ landings in Europe.
R.A.F. Bicester took on a series of roles following the Second World War including aircraft crash investigation and repair work, parachute servicing and as a gliding centre. The Domestic site was sold in 2010.
For a detailed chronology of RAF Bicester click here.