Stafford Crown Court Opening with RAF Stafford

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Date:January 2001

Description:On a January day service personnel from RAF Stafford are pictured leading a procession from the Old Judge's Lodgings in the Market Square, Stafford. The processional party consisted of civic dignitaries, guests, Judges, barristers, and Police who walked from the Market Square along Greengate Street to attend a service at St Mary’s Collegiate Church. After the service the procession walked to Victoria Square to attend the opening ceremony of the Hilary Term (January to March) at Stafford Crown Court. The buildings in the background from left to right: Stafford Railway Building Society, Lloyds TSB Bank and the Shire Hall Gallery.

RAF Stafford was formed 1 December 1939 following the purchase by the Treasury of 362 acres of land near Stafford. The main site was at Beaconside and originally known as No. 16 Maintenance Unit or more often as 16 MU and there were outlying sites around the area. The Unit's motto was ‘Instumenta Fundamenta’ which translates as 'Supplies are the Foundations'.

Apart from helicopters, the site was a non-flying base which formed part of a large and complex RAF logistics organisation. There were many enormous stores and warehouse buildings with facilities for the maintenance of equipment and storage of parts needed by the Ministry of Defence in order to keep front line aircraft flying worldwide. Later the site also became involved in supporting military aircraft for NATO partners in Europe and for India and New Zealand.

The site celebrated 50 years in 1989 and at that time stood on 670 acres with seven dispersed sites. There were around 1600 personnel of which half were service and half civilian. The stores held around 617,000 different items of equipment including airframes, aero-engine spares, complete engines (e.g. for the Tornado), guided missile spares, right down to nuts and bolts.

On 1 April 1999 the name 16 MU disappeared and two new agencies were created with the site renamed as RAF Stafford and DSDC (Defence Storage and Distribution Centre) Stafford, subsequently known as DSDC North. In later years, due to Government policy, there were many changes for RAF Stafford and airmen and airwomen began to relocate to other sites. On 17 December 2004 the Mountain Rescue Team relocated to RAF Valley after 42 years with RAF Stafford. During September 2005 DSDC North was closed and on 31 March 2006 RAF Stafford closed after 67 years.

The site was given a new future by the Ministry of Defence who required the Army to occupy the base and it was given a new name: Beacon Barracks, MOD Stafford. A major redevelopment of the site took place with new buildings and facilities for troops transferring to Stafford. Additionally a new estate of over 340 houses was created on one of the former Storage sites opposite to the Beacon Barracks main entrance.

Copyright for this image belongs to MOD Stafford (Ministry of Defence) and it may not be used for resale or commercial purposes without MOD Stafford’s express permission.


The timeline shows resources around this location over a number of years.

Battle of Britain Parade by RAF Stafford
Battle of Britain Parade by RAF Stafford

The Mayor of Stafford, Alderman Mrs Ruth Turney (Mayor in 1946, 1947 and 1948) is ...

Battle of Britain Parade by RAF Stafford
Battle of Britain Parade by RAF Stafford

Pictured during a Battle of Britain Parade are RAF Stafford personnel marching from ...

Freedom of Entry into the Borough Parade with RAF Stafford
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On a sunny winter's day RAF Stafford service personnel march from Gaolgate Street ...

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Creators: MOD Stafford (The Ministry of Defence) - Contributor

Donor ref:Crown Court opening Jan 2001.3 (198/28220)

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