PICTURES AND VIDEO: Remembering RAF Finningley 20 years after its closure

A poster for the 1986 Air Show showing Concorde and the Red Arrows.

A poster for the 1986 Air Show showing Concorde and the Red Arrows.

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Exactly 20 years ago this year, the proud military history of Doncaster's RAF Finningley came to an end.

It was in 1996 that the ensign was lowered for the last time at the air base which welcomed thousands of Royal Air Force crews during its operational days and was known both locally, nationally and internationally as the venue for the annual September air show.

Now Robin Hood Airport, where the first commercial flight took off in April 2005, the site was home to RAF Finningley for 80 historic years.

The first airfield was built in 1915 and by the time the base closed two decades ago it had played a key part in Britain's defence for many years.

One of Finningley’s former residents, Vulcan XH558, the world’s last remaining flying Vulcan bomber until her retirement last year, returned to her spiritual home, being originally based in Doncaster between 1960 and 1968.

She returned to the hangars at Finningley in 2011 following a campaign to return her to flight.

The annual air show was one of the biggest events on the town's social calendar.

The annual air show was one of the biggest events on the town's social calendar.

The first air display at Finningley was held in September 1945 and for decades, Finningley was home to the Battle of Britain Air Display which was the largest one-day airshow event in the country.

The aerobatic airshow and the display of military hardware became so well known that the show attracted huge crowds and eventually became televised.

Famous memorable incidents during the airshows include a BAC Lightning breaking the sound barrier above the crowd during a display and an Avro Vulcan bomber scramble.

However, in 1994 the Ministry of Defence announced RAF Finningley was to close as part of defence cuts.

The 1981 brochure.

The 1981 brochure.

It closed in 1996 and at the time there was proposals to turn the site into a prison, but three years later, Peel Holdings, bought the land and transformed it into Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

The base was home to the Vulcan bombers during its RAF days.

The base was home to the Vulcan bombers during its RAF days.

The station crest.

The station crest.

The Queen inspects airmen at Finningley in 1977.

The Queen inspects airmen at Finningley in 1977.

An aerial view of RAF Finningley before its conversion to Robin Hood Airport.

An aerial view of RAF Finningley before its conversion to Robin Hood Airport.

Finningley was home to dozens of aircraft during its operational history.

Finningley was home to dozens of aircraft during its operational history.

Hundreds of air crews passed through Finningley during its RAF base days.

Hundreds of air crews passed through Finningley during its RAF base days.

The Queen visited RAF Finningley in 1977.

The Queen visited RAF Finningley in 1977.