HISTORY OF RAF JURBY
CELEBRATING THE ROYAL AIR FORCE CENTENARY
The Royal Air Force Jurby was first opened on September 18th 1939, around the same time WWII began its hostilities. The RAF first began as the No. 5 Air Observers School but was soon changed to No. 5 Bombing and Gunnery School at the start of December.
The station’s goal was to train bombing crews and was known as an Aircraft Armament Training Camp. Fairey Battles, Westland Wallaces and Hawker Henleys were some of the aricrafts used in training, as well as the obsolete Handley Page Heyford.
Following the Fall of France in May 1940, RAF Jurby became an ideal strategic defence location. It helped protect Belfast and Liverpool from German air raids, and between November 1940 and October 1941, the station housed five fighter squadrons:
- The 307 Polish Night Flight Squadron operating Boulton Paul Defiants, provided a detachment in Jurby to cover Carnage.
- The 258 Squadron took over from 307 Sqn. Operating Hawker Hurricanes.
- The 312 Squadron was the second set of Hawker Hurricane pilots, composed of mainly Czechoslovakian personnel. The squad took on convoy patrols over the Irish Sea.
- The 302 Squadron took up residence on May 1941. This squad was formed of Polish pilots that have escaped the invasion of France. They took over the previous squadrons duties in the Irish Sea.
- The 457 Squadron were the first Spitfires to arrive at RAF Jurby. The squad was mainly comprised of English and some Australian pilots.
By the end of the war in 1945, over 7000 personnel had passed through RAF Jurby. The station later on became the No. 1 Officer Cadet Training Unit, until 1963 when the Training Unit was to be moved to RAF Feltwell. This resulted in RAF Jurby closing down on September that same year.
Now a days, not many of the buildings still stand as most of them were constructed in 1938 expecting to stand for a decade at most. Some of the buildings, including the Control Tower have been kept standing throughout the years in various stages of disrepair.
The Isle of Man Motor Museum is also on the RAF Jurby and showcases well over 400 vehicles with 250 vehicles on loan from other collector enthusiasts. Of the vehicles showcased there are also over 200 motorcycles with everything from a 1902 Clement to 2009 Nortons, Sunbeams and Hondas to name a few.
The Jurby Festival takes place here every year in August since 2009. A lovely event comprised of races, live music, fresh food and many MANY motorcycles.
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