RAF Cardington Camp

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A Memorial Stone for RAF Cardington.

Cookies 3. The memorial 4. RAF Cardington aaaaMike speech

Thank you Bellway Homes!!

The stone was designed and totally financed by Bellway Homes for which we are eternally grateful. More details of the memorial can be found on the Memorial Unveiling Page in the Topic Section. A huge thank you is due to Bellway Homes for supporting and financing this project right from the beginning. I think you will agree they have done a good job. Certainly without them this memorial would not have happened. Thank you from Jane Harvey.

On the morning of Saturday 18th May 2019 a memorial stone to RAF Cardington was unveiled. Special guests assembled to witness the unveiling of the stone located at the front of the Shorts Building (known as Station HQ in the RAF years). We were specially honoured to welcome the Lousada family to the memorial. From 1956 to 1959 Group Captain Lousada was Station Commander at Cardington and on July 27th 1959 he accepted the Freedom of Bedford on behalf of the station from the Lord Mayor of Bedford. We were delighted that his youngest son Michael (shown above right) had agreed to unveil the stone.

Hello, welcome to the RAF Cardington history website set up in 2012. The station just south of Bedford town was in operation from 1936 to 2000 and although primarily a recruitment centre was home to a large array of Units. Balloon Units were stationed here, a direct legacy from the early airship programme begun at Cardington in 1915. If you have any memories of the station please get in touch. Thank you. -Jane Harvey.


A A B Thomson - holder of The Military Cross & Bar. The first Station CO.

Arnold 55 Final Bedford map

Grp Capt A R Arnold DSO, DFC - the longest serving Station Commander from Nov 1939- Mar 1945

Arthur RAF sign Group cricket

A 1943 RAF Cardington cricket team. Sport of any kind was high on the agenda for staff in their spare time.

Renamed MU217 RAF Cardington in 1955 - the Gas Plant supplied RAF depots throughout the world.

Demob guide to Cardington 102SM

No 102 Dispersal Unit was set up to 'demob' the thousands of RAF men returning home.

Balloonatics programme  1940

A March 1940 station concert programme.

Absolute final sheds Jan 2016

The two magnificent sheds still standing proud. Home to airships from 1916-1930 and put to numerous uses by the RAF in later years.


Before the ceremony. Free Czech Air Force Association Ltd

September 2020 Updates.


1. Two fantastic and extremely rare photos of station rugby teams from 1937/8 and 1938/39 have been sent in from Flt Lt Vincent W Hislop RAFVR(T) Ret'd. Shown right is the 1938-1939 team. These can be found in the Sports page in the Topics section. Brilliant! Thank you!

2. Patricia Brown has sent in a photo of a tankard with an intriguing inscription relating to the station. Find this on the Cardington Objects page in the Topics section.

3. Ian Verber has sent in two great images - one of his father Benjamin Verber who enlisted at the station in 1944, see this on the RAF Servicemen 1944/45 page in the Peoples Gallery section. Ian’s other image is of a programme for play “The Astonished Ostrich” put on at the station at the same time. Find this on the Entertainment page in the Topics section.

4. Carolyn Jones has sent in an undated photo of a small group of recruits which include her uncle, Ron Sadler.  This photo also has signatures on the back.

During 1949/1951 over 120 ex RAF Czech pilots fled persecution in their home country and made their way to RAF Cardington.

A personal plea from me. PLEASE TALK TO YOUR ELDERLY RELATIVES!!  I have received thousands of e-mails since starting this website many from people searching for information about the wartime experiences of their parents/grandparents etc. A common lament is that questions were never asked so please get your notebooks out and have a chat and start asking questions NOW! - Thanks Jane. 

Please take a look and see if you recognise any of the names. The photo is on the Undated Photos page in the Peoples Gallery section. The photo is on the Undated Photos page in the Peoples Gallery section.

5. Mitchell Francis has sent in photos and information about his grandfather Alfred Francis who was at the station  around 1938/39. Details can be found on the Peoples Gallery RAF Servicemen 1937-1939 page.

6. Juliet Deane has sent in two group photos that include her father Sidney Howard Withey at Cardington around 1938 and also his Service Record Book. Find these in the Peoples Gallery RAF Servicemen 1937-1939 section.

7. Tim Holland has sent in details of some training equipment he helped design for use in the Gas Plant on the station in the 90’s. Find out more on the RAF Cardington 1990’s page in the RAF Cardington 1960 onwards section.  



Rugby team 1938 clipped