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RAF Odiham celebrates 80 years

In January, RAF Odiham celebrated its 80 year anniversary. Situated near the historic village of Odiham in Hampshire, RAF Odiham is currently the home of the Royal Air Force's heavy lift helicopter, the Chinook HC2, HC2A and HC3. 

Aircraft operations began from the site in 1925, but it was not until October 1937 that it was opened as a permanent airfield, ironically by Erhard Milch, the then Chief of Staff for the Luftwaffe. 

Chinooks take off at RAF Odiham

During World War Two, No 225 Squadron, flying Lysanders, took possession of the Station. In June 1943, Fighter Command took control of Odiham, flying Mustangs and later, Typhoons.

On D-Day, the unit assumed a transit role for 'follow-up' elements, and later became a Prisoner of War Reception Centre. 

Post World War Two saw a long period of occupation by Fighter Command, when the skies above Odiham reverberated to the sound of many different types of aircraft, including Spitfires, Hunters and Javelins.

One of RAF Odiham's most memorable days was 15 July 1953, when, as part of the nationwide Coronation ceremonies, the Queen and Prince Philip reviewed the Royal Air Force at Odiham. The static display comprised 318 aircraft, and another 641 flew past in salute.

Current role

RAF Odiham is now the sole UK base for the Chinook, with three frontline Squadrons stationed at the airfield as well as the Chinook Display Team. Odiham is also the headquarters for the Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing, which provides support to the United Kingdom Special Forces.

Alongside the Chinooks, No. 657 Squadron Army Air Corps is based at Odiham with the Lynx AH.9A.

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