RAF Croughton in England


At the Front Gat of RAF Croughton
Alan Wilson/Flickr

RAF Croughton is a communications base in Northamptonshire, England, and operates one of Europe's largest military switchboards and processes approximately a third of all U.S. military communications in Europe. RAF Croughton is a warm and friendly base with extensive travel opportunities both in the UK and on the European continent. There is plenty to do, much to see, and lots to experience.

For over 60 years, RAF Croughton has been an important part of the Brackley community. From its beginnings in 1938 to the present day, the base has taken on many different roles. The Royal Air Force station was constructed in 1938 on 692 acres and named RAF Brackley. In July 1941 it was renamed RAF Croughton. During the Second World War Canadians, South Africans, Australians and New Zealanders flew Hampdens, Blenheims and Wellington bombers from the base and attracted the attention of enemy bombers throughout 1941. In August 1942 Croughton began training the Glider Pilot Regiment, an army unit that flew troop-carrying gliders, whose pilots fought alongside the troops they carried after landing. Flying ceased in May 1946 and the base was used to store ammunitions until the USAF took it over in January 1951. The geographical location of the base was ideal for the technological advances made in communications during the war, and the USAF saw the potential for RAF Croughton to be an effective and important communications center for the U.S. military in Europe.

RAF Croughton provides support for Presidential, NATO, European, and Central Command, operations with 23 communications and information weapon systems. They provide 30% of all DOD communications between Europe and CONUS. The base provides communication for deployed and en route war fighters.

Location/Driving Directions

RAF Croughton is located near Brackley, Northamptonshire, just 20 miles north of Oxford and 70 miles northwest of London.

Driving Directions From Nearest Major Highway

1. From A43, take B4031 for RAF Croughton (sign posted) approx 2 miles.

Driving Directions From Nearest Major Airport

1. From Heathrow take M40 north towords Oxford.

2. Exit junction 10 Approx 65 miles.

3. Take A43 north towards Brackley.

4. Then take B4031 for RAF Croughton Approx 10 miles

Main Phone Numbers

Base Operator 011 44 128070 8000 DSN 315-236-8000

RAF Croughton 422 Air Base Group Unit 5855 011-44-1280-70-8716 DSN 314-236-8716

Child Development Center 01280-708420 DSN 236-8420

Family Child Care DSN 236-8420 (01280-708420)

Housing Office DSN (314) 236-8761 UK COMM 01280 70 8761

School-Age Program DSN 236-8420.

Shepherd's Rest Inn 44-1280-70-8394 DSN: 236-8394

Youth Programs 236-8543/852

Population/Major Units Assigned

The 422nd Air Base Group is presently responsible for the day-to-day operations of RAF Croughton. The 422nd ABG is composed of four squadrons: the 422nd Air Base Squadron, 422nd Civil Engineer Squadron, 422nd Communications Squadron and 422nd Security Forces Squadron.

Temporary Lodging

Lodging is available on base at the Shepherd's Rest Inn.

Be sure to arrange for you lodging prior to your arrival. For reservations, contact the Lodging Office at DSN 314-236-8394 or 011-44-1280-708-3. You can make reservations up to a year in advance; however lodging does require a copy of your orders. If you are not able to stay on base, the Lodging Office will make arrangements for you at an off base approved lodging facility. If the Lodging Office is still not able to get you a room, then be sure to obtain a non-availability slip from Lodging to make your own arrangements. This will ensure that Finance will reimburse you. Make certain that your off-base Temporary Lodging Facility is within your per diem rate by visiting the Defense Travel Management Office website.

Check-in time for on base lodging is 1400. If arriving on an early flight, it may be helpful to have your sponsor book you in for the night before you arrive, so you will be able to get into a room immediately. Lodging only has one pet room. If it is not available, stop by the Airman and Family Readiness Center for a list of local boarding kennels for your animal.


A variety of military family housing (MFH) units are situated at several locations. Properties in the UK range from 600 to approx 1200 square feet, which is smaller than in the US. Not all housing units have multi voltage (240V and 110V) outlets. Due to construction methods and insurance liabilities, waterbeds are not permitted in MFH.

There is government housing for both officers and enlisted members, consisting of single and two story units with two to four bedrooms. Single members in the grade of TSgt or above are generally authorized to live off base in the local community. Average waiting times for government housing are subject to change. It is essential to check waiting times and your status on the housing waiting list at the Housing Management Office on arrival.

Due to the climate, there are no Air Conditioning units, or fly screens provided in MFH.
Storage space is limited - both externally and internally for many housing units. Very few MFH areas have covered, or garage parking availability. US vehicles generally do not fit in garages. There are limited parking bays and street parking berths.

NTSC/Non multi system televisions can only be used with Armed Forces Network and for watching NTSC DVD and VCR Players. Most cable providers use the PAL system. There is a two pet maximum in MFH.

The active duty member is responsible for applying for base housing. This can be done pre-arrival at the losing base.

If you plan to live on the economy, securing housing before you arrive can be challenging. The procedures for buying a home are different than in the states. The base housing office will assist you upon your arrival. We encourage you to visit your local Family Support Center where they can access more detailed information on housing in the RAF Alconbury area.


Croughton Elementary School is a small elementary school located near the Cotswolds of England. They are now a multi-aged school with 1.5 teachers teaming with each grade module. They offer students an excellent Enrichment program, Physical Education, and Guidance programs which complements the academic programs in each classroom. The military community is involved in many of its programs such as Mentoring, guest presenters in our cultural celebrations and after school music and language courses. Croughton ES is technologically driven, using Smart Boards in each classroom.

Due the closure of London Central High School after the 2006/2007 school year parents with children in 7th - 12th grades coming into RAF Croughton will have to register with the Non-DoDDS School Program.

Parents need to take the following steps

1. See the Non-DoDDS website to learn the process on how to apply to a British school, under the Non-DoDDS School Program (NDSP).
2. Other resources available to you are on London Central's school website.
3. Contact your School Liaison Officer (SLO), DSN 314-236-8578 or 011 44 1280 708578, for the list of contact information. The forms for the NDSP (Non DoDDS School Program) process will also be turned in to the SLO for proper signatures and routing.

Child Care

The Croughton Child Development Center offers care for children aged 6 weeks to kindergarten age 12. Programs include full day child care and drop-in care, on a space available basis. Operating hours are: Monday - Friday 0700 -1730. Closed Federal Holidays. Contact the CDC at DSN 236-8420 for more information.

FCC offers in home care for children aged 6 weeks to 12 years. Providers are licensed through the Air Force and follow the same regulatory guidance as the Child Development Center. Call the FCC at DSN 236-8420 for more information.

The School Age Program provides quality care for youth in grades K-6th. Drop-off before school and pick-up after school to Croughton American School is provided. Full-time care is provided during school holidays, teacher in-service days and Summer Break. Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday Before School 0700-0830 After School 1500-1730 For more information call the School-Age Program at DSN 236-8420.

Youth Programs provides exciting programs for youth aged 6-18 years to include open recreation, sports, special events and specialized programs. Programs offered include: FitFactor, SMART Girls, SMART Moves, Passport to Manhood, Kids in the Kitchen, Art-Rageous, 4-H, Torch Club, Keystone Club and Youth of the Year. Field trips are also offered periodically through the year. Sports offered include: Soccer, Flag Football, Basketball and Baseball. Specialized Programs include: 4-H Adventure Camp, Teen Aviation Camp, Space Academy, Missoula Performing Arts Theater Camp and USAFE Talent Show. Hours of Operation: Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday 1500-1900 Friday 1500-2200 Saturday 1400-2200 For more information call Youth Programs on DSN 236-8543/8524.

Medical Care

Cinic Services provided include Family Practice, Immunizations, Laboratory, General Dentistry, Life Skills, Family Advocacy, and Public Health in an ambulatory care setting. The clinic also offers a vast network of Host Nation providers within the local area if specialty care referrals are required. Radiology studies are provided by local national facilities or at RAF Lakenheath.

The dental clinic provides comprehensive dental care for all active duty and other eligible beneficiaries stationed at RAF Croughton, RAF Fairford and other surrounding areas. Specialty referrals can be made to the 48th Medical Group, RAF Lakenheath, for implants and orthodontic treatment. Care may be given after evaluation by their staff; however, it must be noted that orthodontic and/or implant treatment is not guaranteed, and is at the discretion of the provider making the evaluation at RAF Lakenheath. Another option is to seek care at an off base provider for those services and utilize the TRICARE Dental Plan. Dependents are highly encouraged to seek care at their civilian dentist prior to coming overseas. The clinic's practice is primarily focused on providing General Dentistry and Preventive care for active duty members and their families. For further information feel free to contact the Dental clinic at DSN 236-8819/Comm. 01280-708-819.