History of RAF Spilsby

SWarnerC1801861v10021.jpg

Title

History of RAF Spilsby

Description

Describes location, construction and layout. Opened in September 1943 with 207 Squadron Lancaster and later 44 Squadron. Last operation was in April 1945 to Berchtesgaden. Covers post-war squadron moves, locations and disbandment, including arrival of 75 Squadron . Lists decorations awarded to all three squadrons as well as losses. Concludes with later history after take over by Americans until closed in 1958.

Temporal Coverage

Language

Format

One page handwritten document

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Rights

This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ and https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/legal.

Contributor

Identifier

SWarnerC1801861v10021

Transcription

[underlined] SPILSBY, LINCOLNSHIRE. 122/TFA 450650 JUST OVER 2 MILES EAST OF SPILSBY, NORTH OF THE B1195 ROAD [/underlined]

THIS AIRFIELD WAS SITED ON THE SOUTHERN END OF THE LINOLNSHIRE [sic] WOLDS A FEW MILES WEST OF SKEGNESS BETWEEN B1195 AND A158 [inserted] (T) [/inserted] ROADS, WORK STARTED EARLY IN 1943 AND A NUMBER OF MINOR ROADS TO THE NORTH OF GREAT STEEPING WERE CLOSED AND TAKEN OVER AS PART OF THE SITE. IT WAS CONSTRUCTED AS A BOMBER STATION WITH THE USUAL THREE CONCRETE RUNWAYS AND AN ENCIRCLING PERIMITER [sic] TRACK. BUT THE RUNWAYS WERE ABOVE AVERAGE LENGTH. THEY WERE THE STANDARD 150-FT WIDTH BUT THE MAIN RUNWAY WAS [underlined] 7,590 FT [/underlined] LONG, THE SECOND ONE [underlined] 6,000 FT [/underlined] AND THE THIRD [underlined] 4,290 FT. [/underlined] FOR SOME REASON THE AIRFIELD WAS NAMED AFTER THE LARGEST OF THE MARKET TOWNS TO THE WEST AND OPENED IN SEPTEMBER 1943 AS A BOMBER AIRFIELD IN NO 5 GROUP.

THE FIRST TO TAKE UP RESIDENCE WERE LANCASTERS OF NO 207 SQUAQDRON WHICH MOVED IN FROM LANGAR DURING OCTOBER. THEY CONTINUED OPERATIONS FROM HERE AND ON D-DAYS THE SQUADRON’S LANCASTERS BOMBED CAEN IN SUPPORT OF OPERATION “OVERLORD”

IN SEPTEMBER OF THAT YEAR THE RESIDENT UNIT WAS JOINED BY NO 44 SQUADRON, ALSO FLYING LANCASTERS AND SPILSBY BECAME A TWO-SQUADRON STATION, BOTH UNITS REMAINING HERE UNTIL AFTER THE WAR IN EUROPE. THE LAST MISSION OF THE WAR FOR BOTH UNITS ON APRIL 25 1945 WHEN EIGHT LANCASTERS NO 44 SQUADRON, AND 10 LANCASTER OF NO 207 SQUADRON WERE DESPATCHED TO BOMB BIEROHTESGADEN.

IN JULY 1945, NO 44 SQUADRON MOVED TO MEPAL, CAMBRIDGESHIRE, AND WAS REPLACED BY NO 75 (NEW ZEALAND) SQUADRON FROM THAT STATION. THIS UNIT REMAINED UNTIL OCTOBER 15 1945 WHEN IT THEN DISBANDED, BRINGING TO AN END A DISTINGUISHED WAR CAREER. THE DECORATIONS WON BY NEW ZEALAND PERSONNEL OF 75 SQUADRON WERE ONE V.C. SIX DSOs, 88 DFCs FOUR BARS TO DFCs, TWO CGMs and 17 DFM. BECAUSE OF THESE SQUADRON HONORS THE AIR MINISTRY SUGGESTED THAT THE R.N.Z.A.F SHOULD TAKE OVER THE SQUADRON NUMBER PLATE IN MEMORY OF THEIR FINE WAR EFFORT.

THAT SAME MONTH NO 207 SQUADRON MOVED TO METHWOLD SUFFOLK AND IT TOO HAD ACHIVED [sic] A FINE WAR RECORD – MUCH OF IT DURING ITS TWO YEAR STAY AT SPILSBY. THE SQUADRON HAD FLOWN 540 SORTIES AND LOST 154 CREWS (1,078) MEN. THE DECORATIONS WON WERE SEVEN D.S.O, 115 DFC AND 92 D.F.M. WITH THE DEPATURE [sic] OF THE LAST FLYING UNIT THE STATION WAS THE [sic] TAKEN OVER BY NO 2 ARMAMENT PRACTICE SCHOOL WHICH REMAINED UNTIL NOVEMBER 1946. BY THE END OF THE YEAR THE STATION HAD CLOSED DOWN AND WAS PUT ON CARE AND MAINTENANCE. FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS SPILSBY WAS SURPLUS TO REQUIREMENT AND WAS JUST ANOTHER DISUSED AIRFIELD, THEN, IN JUNE 1955, THE STATION WAS REOPENED AND USED BY NON-FLYING UNITS OF THE U.S.A.F. STORES AND MAINTENANCE FOR NEARBY EAST KIRKBY, THE AMERICANS REMAINED UNTIL 1958, THEN, WITH THE KOREAN WAR OVER, THE UNITS MOVED OUT IN MARCH.

THE STATION CLOSED IMMEDIATELY THE AMERICANS HAD LEFT AND, TODAY, VERY LITTLE REMAINS THE CONTROL TOWER HAS GONE AND MOST OF THE RUNWAYS AND PERIMETER TRACK HAVE BEEN DEMOLISED. [sic] THE REMAINING HANGER IS USED FOR SOME INDUSTRIAL PURPOSE, BUT FEW OTHER BUILDINGS THAT REMAIN ARE IN POOR CONDITION AND ARE FAST DISAPPEARING.

Citation

“History of RAF Spilsby,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 7, 2022, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/34074.

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