Airborne Forces Establishment

Airborne Forces Establishment

1941 to 1942

Central Landing School was established at RAF Ringway airfield near Manchester on 21 June 1940 as a result of Prime Minister Churchill’s direction to create a corps of parachutists. It was initially commanded by Squadron Leader LA Strange RAF and designed primarily as a parachute training school and experimentation centre.

On 19 September the Central Landing School was expanded into the Central Landing Establishment RAF, divided into a Parachute Training school, a Technical unit and a Glider Training Squadron. The tasks were to train parachute troops, glider pilots and aircrew for airborne operations, develop the tactical handling of airborne troops, carry out technical research and recommend requirements.

The Central Landing Establishment was renamed as the Airborne Forces Establishment (AFE) in September 1941 and came under the command of 70 Group RAF, Army Co-operation Command. Its task was to "investigate problems of  technical development, to establish the principles of glider and parachute training and to form the first units carrying out this training."

Following reorganisation, when the Parachute and Glider Training Squadrons were devolved, the Airborne Forces Establishment became solely concerned with development and experimental work.

The AFE ceased to exist when its Headquarters, Technical Development Unit and Experimental Flight were merged to form the Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment in February 1942, and relocated to Sherburn-in-Elmet a few months later.

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