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RAF Harwell was a Royal Air Force airfield in Berkshire, England, near the village of Harwell, later the site of the Atomic Energy Research Establishment and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. The site is now in Oxfordshire.

From its opening in February 1937 until March 1944 various bomber squadrons were stationed at the airfield. On the outbreak of war, it became part of 38 Group, initially used leaflet missions over France using Wellington bombers, later bombing raids on Bremen, Cologne and Essen. There were numerous Luftwaffe raids on the airfield from August 1940 until September 1941. The original grass field was replaced with concrete runways between July and November 1941.

In March 1944 it was reallocated to 30 Group Airborne Forces, where it mainly operated tug aircraft towing Horsa gliders. These gliders were used in a number of operations including carrying troops into Normandy to secure vital strategic positions in advance of the main landings on D-Day. In fact the first glider-borne troops to arrive in Normandy on D-Day came from RAF Harwell. A memorial to the men who from RAF Harwell who were killed on this operation now exists at one edge of the old airfield site, and a memorial service is held there annually. The airfield was also used briefly for SOE operations between July and September 1944. The RAF station was closed at the end of 1945 and the site transferred to the Ministry of Supply on 1 January 1946, where it became the Atomic Energy Research Establishment.

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Coordinates: 51°34′32″N 1°18′43″W / 51.57556°N 1.31194°W / 51.57556; -1.31194


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