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Rhodesian Air Force, 1955 - 1980

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History of Thornhill Air Station

At the end of WWII the Royal Air Force retained its Rhodesian Training Group at Thornhill, Gwelo. The airfield remained an active Royal Air Force base flying Harvards until it's closure in 1955 and take over by the Royal Rhodesian Air Force. (Photos and Anecdotes...).
Spitfire at the gate at Thornhill Air Base
In order to reduce the congestion at New Sarum the piston engined aircraft (No 4 Sqn) were moved to Thornhill. There was no hard runway suitable for jet aircraft operations.

During 1956 and 1957 the Rhodesian government constructed a tarmac runway, taxiways and concrete hard standing areas as well as a new control tower at Thornhill. Once the new radar facility had been commissioned Thornhill was ready for jet training to commence.

No 9SSU was the first course to undergo Basic Flying School (BFS) at Thornhill in 1956. They were moved to New Sarum to do their Advanced Flying School (AFS)and Operational Conversion Unit (OCU).

No 10 SSU was the first course to do all their training at Thornhill in 1957-1958.

Resident Units

Thornhill was home to the following Squadrons and Units:

No 1 Squadron
No 2 Squadron
No 4 Squadron
No 6 Squadron
No 2 General Service Unit
No 2 Ground Training School

Commanding Officers

Sqn Ldr Doug WhyteNov 1955 - June 1957
Wg Cdr A. O. G. Wilson 10 June 1957 - 22 June 1959
Gp Capt J. H. Deall, DSO, DFC 23 June 1959 - 31 May 1961
Gp Capt J. P. Moss 1 June 1961 - 26 November 1961
Gp Capt R. A. J. Barber, DFC 27 Nov 1961 - 27 Dec 1963
Gp Capt. D. M. Whyte, OBE 28 December 1963 - 1 June 1966
Gp Capt C. H. Paxton, AFC 2 June 1966 - 11 January 1968
Gp Capt F. W. Mussell 12 January 1968 - 26 April 1970
Gp Capt D. A. Bradshaw 27 April 1970 - 6 February 1972
Gp Capt K. A. S. Edwards 7 February 1972 - 1 January 1975
Gp Capt D. W. MacLaughlin 2 January 1975 - 31 March 1977
Gp Capt F. D. Janeke 1 April 1977 - 7 Jan 1979
Gp Capt G.L. Pink8 Jan 1979 - 30 April 1980
Gp Capt H Griffith DCD.1 May 1980 - 31 Oct 1981
Gp Capt D.A.G. Jones DCD1 Nov 1981 -
Picture Gallery     Takeover from RAF 1955     Safety Equipment Sect     Thornhill Armament Sect    Electrical & Instruments Sect

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