RAF Linton-on-Ouse: The history of the Yorkshire air base where Prince William trained now set to become refugee processing centre

Land formerly occupied by an RAF base is set to become a processing centre for asylum seekers, the government has announced.

RAF Linton-on-Ouse, near York, closed in 2020 as part of a Ministry of Defence cost-saving drive, bringing an end to a military presence which had existed in the village since 1937. Last year the MOD put the site up for sale after announcing it had no further use for it.

Around 300 personnel still worked at the base when it shut, and the mothballing left the MOD with around 160 houses once used as married quarters to dispose of. The MOD is due to transfer ownership of the tenanted properties to Annington Homes and there were hopes that local residents with no military connections could then rent them.

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After the base closed, pupil numbers at the village primary school dropped from 120 to 60.

The base closed in 2020

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Linton was an active airfield during World War Two, when it was used by bomber squadrons conducting raids on Germany, occupied Norway and Italy. Canadian servicemen were stationed there and it was even attacked by the Luftwaffe in a raid in 1941, with 13 airmen killed including the station commander.

However since 1957 it has been used for training purposes, and was the base of the Tucano aircraft until 2019, when they were retired.

It was the RAF's main pilot training facility, and this function has now been transferred to RAF Valley in Wales.

The Red Arrows visiting RAF Linton-on-Ouse

In the early 1960s, the runways were converted into a motorsport circuit and race meetings were held there for two summers. However, in 1961 a flag marshal was killed by a car driven by a serving RAF officer and racing at the track was discontinued.

In 2008 Prince William spent a period of time at RAF Linton undertaking flight training. He was seen socialising in York with fellow officers during his posting.