RAF Croft Page

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Gosling Camps Royal Naval
Training Establishment

The United States
Air Force Badge

RAF Croft is located off lady lane croft 3.2 km northeast from the town center of Warrington.

This site is not to be confused with the RAF Croft located in North Yorkshire later to be renamed RAF Neasham.

Croft was originally constructed for the royal navy also at this period 4 other camps were being constructed for the navy 
all within a few miles of each other within the Warrington borough  all the camps becoming known  as gosling camps 

HMS Gosling camp 1- at new lane the headquarters at Croft, HMS Gosling camp 2- at Risley, HMS Gosling camp 3- at lady lane Croft HMS Gosling camp 4- at Lowton and HMS Gosling camp 5-at Glazebrook.

Croft became commissioned during July 1942 becoming the training facility for the royal naval fleet air arm mechanics center. After ww2 on the 21st of October 1947, the royal navy left and the site was decommissioned.

During the mid-1950s the site was renamed RAF Croft and at this time period the site became tenanted by the USAF united states air force as a transient base for American personnel and their dependents from nearby RAF Burtonwood.

During this time on the 1st February 1956 the 7500th airbase squadron under the umbrella of MATS military air transport services arrived at Croft for the handling of all American personnel arriving and departing the united kingdom by aircraft from and to the united states.

Croft was handling over 60,700 passengers a year, the passengers being transported between RAF Burtonwood and RAF Croft by bus. RAF Burtonwood operated a fleet of 35 single-decker buses with a capacity of 29 passengers each.

Croft operated 7 days a week 24 hours a day processing all personnel arriving and departing.

The camp could accommodate around 400 people many were processed straight through and others stayed for just one night. Facilities included a snack bar for sandwiches and beer, a movie theater and dance hall, nursery, and a 24 hour a day dining /mess hall.

Also available air passenger specialists, finance, postal, civilian fire brigade.bakers, cooks, and its own police force.

Overnight sleeping arrangements were in H-block type buildings sited on the north and south sides of the main building.

By 1959 the united states air force had left RAF Burtonwood and croft was no longer required any more, shortly after the h-block sleeping buildings were demolished, leaving the large area of the dining kitchen area, cinema, tower block and adjoining buildings intact.

The site was later sold off by the RAF to a local farmer who retained the surviving buildings to store his farming equipment in.

HMS gosling book

Ordnance survey map showing the main service buildings 
in the middle with the h-block living buildings around the sides.

HMS Gosling/ RAF Croft June 2009

HMS Gosling 3 group training photo ww2

HMS Gosling 3 group training photo 3 April 1944.

HMS Gosling 3 group training photo,
course number - 86 - k3  8th March 1944

HMS Gosling 3 group training photo,
course number - 87 - e3 14 March 1944.

Group photo of Royal navy students at the HMS Gosling camp 3 training
establishment at lady lane Croft Warrington during world war 2.

Badge of the royal air force.

The following 6 black and white photos of RAF Croft appeared

in the united states air force yearbook during the late 1950s.

Kitchen serving area.

Dining room.

Post office 


Dining hall

Inside one of the H block central heated
living accommodation buildings.

RAF Croft main entrance  during 1956

RAF Croft main entrance during 2001

RAF Croft main entrance at the
time of demolition during 2013

The main entrance gates still survive today
at the RAF Burtonwood heritage centre.

No record site plan or building records in the royal naval and royal
air force archives are available for in-depth research of the site

Entering the site by the main gate at lady lane traveling east is the main entrance building constructed of brick that was used as a store and an armory.
Built on to the roof of this building is a large brick enclosure housing a large gravity supply water tank.

This building is joined to the main kitchens that were originally fitted with white tiled walls, the kitchen is alined longways south to west, this kitchen building connects to the 2 parallel dining mess rooms both aligned east to west longways.

The construction of the kitchen and dining rooms are of brick laid in stretcher bond to a height of 9 feet then with sheet cladding up to roofline height.

All 3 of these buildings are the same design and are steel-framed supporting a curved steel profile roof coved with corrugated sheets.

Metal framed windows are fitted around the walls for natural light, these buildings also had mechanical ventilation.

At the end of the dining rooms is a spine corridor with interlinked small rooms on the north and south sides.

The spine corridor and small rooms are single storeys high constructed in brick built-in stretcher bond, the brick walls support a flat reinforced concrete roof covered in asphalt/bitumen for waterproofing, the corridor is dark with no natural light but the side rooms have some windows.

Traveling east to the end of the spine corridor and turning right leads into 2 large single storey rooms, we are not quite sure of the purpose of the 2 rooms but we think they might have been used as part of the bar area as lounges /restrooms.

Or possibly training classrooms during the Royal Navy Occupation.

The rooms are fitted with steel-framed windows along the east and west elevations for natural light, the roofs are again flat.

Turning left at the end of the spine corridor leads into the bar area, and theatre building this building also being used as the cinema and dance hall.  

The cinema building has been constructed to the same design as the kitchen and dining halls buildings, the north and south elevations of this building are fitted with rows of steel-framed windows just under the roofline.

The building also contained a stage and the projection room the finished floor area being constructed of woodblock.

Built onto the east end of the cinema is a tall tower block building constructed out of brick, the upper part of the tower block is inaccessible but looks to have contained a plant room for the heating plant and air handling units for the cinema.

As an example, the nearby gosling camp 5 at Glazebrook has been constructed with the same design tower block and is explorable.

There is no evidence of any boiler houses or rising chimneys on-site, there would have been some type of heating system for heating the main facility and the H-block living accommodation buildings.

We think the site was constructed with district heating being supplied with 1 central boiler house that was probably demolished at the same time as the H-blocks.

Evidence of the final sub-circuit electrical installation still remains being installed in metal trunking with steel conduit fitted to the ceilings and walls.

Supplying power and lighting wired in TRS stranded singles cables, switchgear, sockets, and switches being constructed of cast iron.

The site was constructed with a tarmac perimeter loop road with the main service buildings in the middle and the H-block accommodation buildings on the north and south side of the perimeter road.

The former H-block accommodation buildings were demolished together with the air raid shelters in the late 1950s but before 1961.

Also in this eastern area was the camp exercise and parade ground also a large pond there was used as a static water tank, EWS emergency water supply for the use of fire fighting purposes.

Main front entrance of the facility looking east, this building contained the armoury and kitchen store.
The building constructed above is the housing for a gravity feed water tank, all brickwork on site is built in stretcher bond.

Looking north, to the left, is the armoury and kitchen store
with the tank room on the roof to the right can be
seen the curved profile roof of the kitchens.

Information board fitted on the north-facing sidewall of the
dining hall the building to the right is the kitchens.

The north-facing sidewall of the dining hall but at the east
end, there are 2 of these dining rooms in parallel rows.

The 2 parallel dining rooms east-facing elevations are in in the background,
 to the left, can be seen the spine corridor with its side small rooms.

Looking south the spine corridor is in the middle
and the 2 parallel dining halls are on the right

Looking northeast left to right are the kitchens,
dining hall, theatre, and the tower block.

Looking west from one of the large rooms in the bar area, to the right,
can be seen the spine corridor with a gravity water supply tank
above and in the background are the 2 parallel dining halls.

looking west from the roof of the bar area in the foreground can be seen the spine corridor
with small rooms on both sides and in the background are the 2 parallel dining halls.

The spine corridor and single-storey rooms are constructed of brick in stretcher bond
supporting a reinforced concrete flat roof covered with asphalt/bitumen for water proving.

Looking east is the roofs of the 2 parallel dining halls,
in the background are the cinema and tower block.

Inside the spine corridor with a small
room leading off on both sides.

The spine corridor had no natural light but the
small rooms on each side of the corridor had some windows.

Large room from the north, there are 2 large rooms
joined together extended south from the bar area.

The 2 large rooms have plenty of natural light with the
side walls lined with multi-metal framed windows.

We are not certain what the purpose of these 2 rooms
was for, but we think they were for lounges/restrooms.

We also think that these 2 rooms were training
classrooms during the Royal Naval period in WW2.

Large room from the south

Large room again from the north.

Latrine in the bar area

Latrine in the bar area, with the spine corridor leading off.

Main kitchen area.

Kitchen serving hatches.

Dining Hall

Bar area and serving hatch area, adjoining
the west elevation of the theater and cinema.

North elevation of the theater and cinema building
with the tower block building in the background.

South elevation of the theater and cinema building with the tower block building to
the right To the left of the photo can be seen the east elevation of the large rooms.

Looking east in the foreground can be seen the bar area,
with the theater/cinema and tower block behind.

Looking from the roof of the bar area towards the
theater/cinema with the brick tower block to the right.

Inside the theater/cinema building towards the stage looking east,
this building was also used as a dance hall fitted with woodblock flooring.

The cinema building is to the left looking east, this
building is constructed to the same design as
the kitchen and dining halls buildings.

All 4 of these buildings had a curved profile roof, also a steel-framed
suspended ceiling fitted above window height and infilled with
sheet panels was also instaled to these type of building.

Looking up inside the brick tower block, as you can see
the steel ladder is unusable to gain entry to the roof.

As an example of the roof detail of the tower block
building, the following 5 photos are taken at the
nearby Royal Navy Gosling camp 5 at Glazebrook.

Not Croft but an example of the same identical tower
block at Royal Navy Gosling camp 5 at Glazebrook.

This camp is abandoned after being
used as Glazebrook country club.

Detail of the inside of the tower block with the steel
staircase leading up to the roof lobby at Glazebrook.

Top of the steel stairs entering
the roof lobby at Glazebrook.

Detail of the building on top of
the tower block roof at Glazebrook.

Tower block roof detail from above, the apex roof in
the foreground is the cinema at Glazebrook.

Aerial image of RAF Croft HMS Gosling camp
2009 before new housing estate is built.

Aerial image of the site of HMS Gosling
camp Croft with new housing estate 2017.

The 2019 photo below shows the new road entrance
(Emerald Drive) that leads to the new housing estate
(above 2017 photo) now built on land that was where
HMS Gosling camp RAF Croft

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