interview with John Tomlinson


interview with John Tomlinson
1011-Tomlinson, John-N Lincolnshire Disc 2


John Tomlinson lived in Elsham Wolds at the time when the airfield was operational.







00:04:16 audio recording


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Interviewer: It’s the 18th of May 2012 and I’m speaking to Mr John Tomlinson who was a resident in Elsham Wolds during the war. In Elsham village during the war. Thanks for talking to me, John and I’d just like you to recall your memories from the wartime when RAF Elsham Wolds was active.
JT: Well, I left school early because I managed to get an apprenticeship with the Air Ministry Works Department. So they allowed me to leave school early and I came up here and I was an apprentice electrician and I found myself working most of the time on the runways when the Wellingtons were here. And we, we had to work when the operations were on and it was very very cold on the runways in the winter. And we more or less counted the planes in and counted them back and it was very distressing at times when not all of them came back. I remember various ones crashing on the airfield on their return. And also I remember the happier times when my parents lived in the village at the time and a lot of the members of the aircrew came down to our house and my mother made cakes and we had cakes on the lawn in the summertime. And the, the chef from the Officer’s Mess came down with a party of men and picked fruit from our orchards to bring back up to the airfield to, for use in the Messes. And we had many happy memories with with the aircrew and ground crew at that time. I don’t think I’ve much else to tell you really.
Interviewer: But you, how old would you be then?
JT: Well, I was fifteen when I left school.
Interviewer: Ok.
JT: And I left [pause] I joined, I was in the Air Training Corps at Brigg and during that time I had three flights with Wellingtons from here mainly in the afternoons but one was in the evening and enjoyed those. And then I found out in the after some time that I wasn’t going to get in the Air Force for quite some considerable time so I decided in those days to say farewell to the RAF and joined the Army and I left the village in 1942 and I was away and have no more recollections of the aircraft. But I did hear of Lancasters you know going and my father used to talk. He worked on the airfield as well and he used to talk of the noise, and it was a rather a pleasant noise of about twenty or thirty aircraft circling the village on take-off ready to go on ops. And we think it’s marvellous now to see one Lancaster come over the village but in those days it must have been marvellous to see all those aircraft going in one go sort of thing.
Interviewer: Yes. Yes.
JT: But as I say I left the village in 1942 to join the Army and I’d no more connection with the RAF after that.
Interviewer: So, when you came back the war was over and —
JT: Yes, unfortunately I didn’t get back until the end of forty, Christmas ’47.
Interviewer: Right.
JT: So, the war was over then yeah.
Interviewer: Ok.
JT: Yeah.
Interviewer: Yeah.
JT: But there were Polish people living on the airfield at that time. They called it Warsaw Hamlet in those days and people used to live in the huts and that on the airfield even after the war. Yeah.
Interviewer: Ok.
JT: That’s all, I think.
Interviewer: That’s lovely.
JT: Yeah.
Interviewer: Thank you, John. Thanks very much.


This Interview was recorded by Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire., “interview with John Tomlinson,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed May 28, 2024,

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