Freedom of Entry into the Borough Parade with RAF Stafford

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Description:On a sunny winter's day RAF Stafford service personnel march from Gaolgate Street into Market Square, Stafford while exercising their Freedom of Entry into the Borough of Stafford.

The Borough of Stafford conferred the Freedom of Entry into the Borough to RAF Stafford (16 MU) on 16 December 1954. Over the years this honour has been celebrated on a regular basis. Here, in 2000, the Mayor of Stafford Councillor Christine Baron and the Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, Sir James Hawley, are pictured on the right taking the salute.

The buildings in the background from left to right: Alliance and Leicester Building Society which later became the Santander Bank, Pizza Express (formerly the Nat West Bank), Stafford Railway Building Society and Lloyds’ Bank. In front of these buildings are the Royal Air Force Careers and the Royal Air Forces Association vehicles. On the left is the Mr Sizzle mobile food vehicle.

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 Units 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 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 our 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 around1600 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 known 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 ...

Stafford Crown Court Opening with RAF Stafford
Stafford Crown Court Opening with RAF Stafford

On a January day service personnel from RAF Stafford are pictured leading a procession ...