Category Archives: Military

RAF Upwood

RAF Upwood opened as an airfield in 1917 by the Royal Flying Corps. Originally used as a night-landing ground, by 1918 five hangars had been built and the centre became a training station.

At the end of World War I the airfield was cleared but in 1934 RAF Upwood was reactivated and expanded to deal with the increasing threat posed by the German Luftwaffe. The new base became operational in February 1937, housing two flying units. These original squadrons were reassigned in 1939 and replaced by No.90 and No.35 Squadron. Neither squadron saw combat and they were merged as No.17 Training Unit. When this unit departed Upwood in 1943, the grassed runways were replaced with three concrete runways. The base re-opened in October 1943 and between 1944 and 1945 was used by No.139 and No.156 Squadrons.Their Mosquitos and Lancasters saw action in Germany, dropping target indicators over Berlin and bombing Stuttgart. The base housed several bomber units during the 1940’s and 1950’s, some of which took part in the Suez crisis.

In 1961 Upwood was transferred to RAF Strike Command and by 1981 the base was almost dormant. Control was passed to the United States Air Force and Upwood became a satellite base of RAF Alconbury, providing housing and support for personnel. In 1986 a multi-million dollar medical facility was opened, delivering outpatient services to American military members in the area. The end of the Cold War saw a phased rundown of RAF Alconbury and in 2005 the last USAF family moved out of the Upwood housing area.

As of 2009 there are plans to regenerate the area into housing and light industry.

RAF Driffield

The first aerodrome to occupy the site was made up of wooden and brick buildings, known as Eastburn, No.21 Training Depot was the first unit to occupy the site from July 15, 1918, joined later by Nos. 202 and 217 Squadrons from March 1919. However, by early 1920, these units had disbanded, leaving a deserted airfield, which was removed some years later.

During the early 1930’s, Driffield was selected for one of the RAF’s expansion scheme aerodromes, with construction work beginning in 1935. This new airfield consisted of five large aircraft hangars, curved round the grass runways. Placed neatly behind these hangars were the many buildings that made up the camp. Opened in July 1936, RAF Driffield became home to a number of bomber squadrons. By 1938, these had been replaced by No.77 and No.102 Squadrons, and were eventually equipped with the twin-engine Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bomber.

At the outbreak of WW2 the No102 squadron dropped parcels of propaganda leaflets over France and the following night No 77 squadron did the same. March 1940 saw No 77 squadron drop some 6 million leaflets over Warsaw. August 1940 saw an attack by 50 Junkers Ju 88 Bombers which caused extensive damage and 13 deaths. The aerodrome was closed for repairs until early 1941 when fighters replaced the bombers, then late 1941 the bombers returned.

In 1943 the site was closed again this time for the construction of 3 concrete runways then reopened with bombers. In 1977 the airfield and camp was taken over by the British Army who renamed it Alamein Barracks and used as an Army driving school. By the early 1980s, the control tower and air-raid shelters disappeared, while the hangars that protected aircraft for many years were converted to protect Government surplus grain from the elements. In 1992, the RAF regained ownership of this historic aerodrome, naming it: RAF Staxton Wold-Driffield Site. Once again, the RAF ensign flew over Driffield, but not for long.

In 1996, the RAF itself transferred its own personnel and facilities to RAF Staxton Wold, thus bringing an end to 60 years of service. On June 28, 1996, the RAF ensign was lowered for the last time, bringing to an end RAF Driffield.

Anzio Training Camp

Anzio Training Camp.

Originally built in 1943 as a transit camp for United States Army anti-aircraft battalions, in 1946 it was taken over by Polish troops from Italy and other Polish troops arrived later.

After the war the camp continued as a Polish civilian settlement until 1964 when those living there were rehoused on a new estate to the north.

In the early 1980’s the site was cleared and in 1983 Anzio Camp was opened there as a training camp for use by the regular army,the TA and scouts.

Finally closing in 2004 as being surplus to requirements by the M.O.D.