RAF Church Fenton

History of RAF Church Fenton

The ex RAF Church Fenton, which is now known as Leeds East Airport, still houses a number of abandoned buildings which offer a glimpse into the past use of the site. RAF Church Fenton first opened on 1st April 1937 as part of the RAF’s huge expansion plans prior to World War II. During the war, the base was responsible for accommodating both offensive and defensive squadrons however due to its northern location, in the earlier years, the base tended mostly to damaged aircraft bringing them back to battle ready condition. Towards the latter stages of the war, RAF Church Fenton formed groups which ultimately provided Allied mobile radar support for the D-Day landings.

After World War II the base continued to serve an important role in British air defences housing various squadrons and being one of the first bases to hold fighter jets (Gloster Meteors of 263 Squadron). In 1959 the base role pivoted into a training station and flight school which remained its primary function until the closure was announced in March 2013. Following the ultimate sale of the base, which was awarded to a local businessman who’s plan was to bring the base back into use as a small commercial airport, Leeds East Airport was born officially opening on the 1st April 2015.  If you are interested in more history on the base itself including service men details and historical photos there is a great Unofficial History website here run by Ian Herbert. For photos of the buildings in their current condition, keep scrolling…

Our Visits

Visited this place, or at least the derelict parts, on a few occasions with various people. Despite being a little empty, this overgrown site was surprisingly quite peaceful once inside the fenced off complex and was a nice spot to wander around for a few hours with the camera. I think the most memorable trip was the one with Masa when we headed up the water tower only to be surprised by a really close flypast of 2 military jets! Fun times! Enjoy the photos:


If you’ve made it this far… thanks for reading / checking out the pictures. Leave me a comment below or hit the like button to let me know you’ve enjoyed the shots and to encourage me to keep posting more 🙂

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