RAF Kirton in Lindsey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
RAF Kirton in Lindsey
Rapier Barracks
USAAF Station 349
Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svgEighth Air Force - Emblem (World War II).pngFlag of the British Army.svg
Near Lincoln, Lincolnshire in England
RAF Kirton in Lindsey is located in Lincolnshire
RAF Kirton in Lindsey
RAF Kirton in Lindsey
Shown within Lincolnshire
Coordinates 53°27′41″N 000°34′41″W / 53.46139°N 0.57806°W / 53.46139; -0.57806Coordinates: 53°27′41″N 000°34′41″W / 53.46139°N 0.57806°W / 53.46139; -0.57806
Type Royal Air Force station
Code KL
Site information
Owner Ministry of Defence
Operator Royal Air Force
United States Army Air Forces
Site history
Built 1940 (1940)
In use 1940–Present
Battles/wars Second World War, Cold War, War in Afghanistan (2001–present)

Royal Air Force Kirton in Lindsey or more simply RAF Kirton in Lindsey is a Royal Air Force installation located 15 miles (24 km) north of Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England.

From the historical point of view, there is some uncertainty about the correct name of the location. Kirton Lindsey or Kirton-in-Lindsey?

It appears to have been an RAF habit (inherited from the RFC) to name its bases after the nearest railway station, possibly to simplify the process of issuing Rail Warrants to personnel posted there. By that token, the site should be RAF Kirton Lindsey, Kirton Lindsey being the name of the nearby railway station constructed in 1849. No.255 Squadron's Operations Record Book (ORB)[1] consistently uses that version of the name. So does the airfield's separate ORB, from the date of the site's WWII creation (15 May 1940) through to May 1941. After mid-1941 and the departure of No.255 Squadron, use of RAF Kirton-in-Lindsey begins to appear in the site's own records – eventually dominating.[2]

On 25 March 2013 it was announced to dispose of the airfield and technical facilities with only accommodation remaining. The airfield used to host No. 1 Air Control Centre (1ACC), the RAF’s only deployable ground-based early warning and air control radar unit, which was parented by RAF Scampton.

First World War[edit]

The Royal Flying Corps and later Royal Air Force airfield at Kirton in Lindsey was used during the First World War from December 1916 to June 1919. The airfield was used by detachments of 33 Squadron from nearby Gainsborough until the squadron moved was based from June 1918, 33 Squadron was a home defence squadron equipped with the Bristol Fighters and Avro 504s.

With the end of the war, the airfield was returned to agricultural use.

RAF Fighter Command use[edit]

Kirton in Lindsey was opened on a new site in May 1940 as a Fighter Command Station covering the NE of England during World War II. Many Defiant and Spitfire Squadrons rested here for a short time during the Battle of Britain.

The first pilot casualty during the Battle of Britain, when Sgt Ian Clenshaw flew a dawn patrol from here on 10 July 1940, and was killed in what is generally regarded as a disorientation accident.[3]

The airfield was home of Number 71 Squadron of the RAF's Fighter Command. 71 Squadron was composed of mostly Americans and was one of the "Eagle Squadrons" of American volunteers who fought in World War II prior to the American entry into the war. 71 Squadron was assigned the squadron code XR.

The squadron arrived at the station in November 1940. By January the squadron was declared combat ready and began flying convoy escort over the North Sea. On 9 April No. 71 was moved to RAF Martlesham Heath.

RAF units and aircraft[edit]

Dates Unit Aircraft Variant Notes
1942 No. 43 Squadron RAF Hawker Hurricane I Short stay in September before the squadron moved to North Africa
1941 No. 65 Squadron RAF Supermarine Spitfire IIA February to September operating coastal patrols before moving south
1940–1941 No. 71 Squadron RAF Hawker Hurricane I Eagle Squadron
1940 No. 74 Squadron RAF Supermarine Spitfire IIA Short stay August/September 1940
1940 No. 85 Squadron RAF Hawker Hurricane I Short stay October/November 1940
1941 No. 121 Squadron RAF Hawker Hurricane I and IIB Eagle Squadron formed May 1941 before moving to RAF North Weald
1941–1942 No. 133 Squadron RAF Supermarine Spitfire IIA then VA and VB
1941 No. 136 Squadron RAF Hawker Hurricane IIA and IIB Squadron formed August 1941 before moving to the Far East
1942 No. 169 Squadron RAF North American Mustang I Detachments from Doncaster
1940 No. 222 Squadron RAF Supermarine Spitfire I Two short stays
1940 No. 253 Squadron RAF Hawker Hurricane I May to July
1940–1941 No. 255 Squadron RAF Boulton Paul Defiant
Hawker Hurricane
I
I
1940 No. 264 Squadron RAF Boulton Paul Defiant I
1943 No. 302 (Polish) Squadron RAF Supermarine Spitfire VB
1942
1942–1943
No. 303 (Polish) Squadron RAF Supermarine Spitfire VB
1942 No. 306 (Polish) Squadron RAF Supermarine Spitfire VB
1940 No. 307 (Polish) RAF Boulton Paul Defiant I Formed September 1940
1941–1942 No. 409 Squadron RCAF Bristol Beaufighter IIF Detachment from Coleby Grange
1941 No. 452 Squadron RAAF Supermarine Spitfire I and IIA
1942 No. 457 Squadron RAAF Supermarine Spitfire VB Short stay before move to Australia.
1942 No. 486 Squadron RNZAF Hawker Hurricane II Formed March 1942
1940–1941 No. 616 Squadron RAF Supermarine Spitfire I

USAAF use[edit]

Aerial photograph of RAF Kirton in Lindsey showing, the technical site with three C-Type hangars to the top (north), 27 July 1948.

Kirton in Lindsey was allocated to the United States Army Air Forces Eighth Air Force in 1942. It was assigned USAAF Station number 349, code "KL"

1st Fighter Group[edit]

Beginning in June 1942, the 94th Fighter Squadron of the 1st Fighter Group at RAF Goxhill used the station for training with Lockheed P-38 Lightings. The squadron remained until October.

81st Fighter Group[edit]

In October 1942, the 91st Fighter Squadron of the 81st Fighter Group used the station for training. The squadron arrived in Europe from Muroc AAF California flying Bell P-39 Airacobras. The squadron remained until December then departed for French Morocco as part of Twelfth Air Force.

RAF Flying Training Command use[edit]

In May 1943, the station was transferred back to RAF control for use as a Fighter Operational Training Unit with Spitfires of 53 OTU from Llandow, Caistor and Hibaldstow used as satellite airfields. Kirton in Lindsey remained a front-line RAF base during the Cold War and afterwards, with the following units assigned:

  • 05/46 to /48, No.7 Service Flying Training School with Oxfords from Sutton Bridge, moved to Cottesmore.
  • 48 to /52, Used by non-flying RAF Training Schools.
  • 52 to /57, No.2 ITS (later renamed No.1 ITS) with Tiger Moths.
  • 57 to /60, Airfield closed and on Care and Maintenance.
  • 60 to 12/65, Reopened with 7 School of Technical Training and a Gliding School.

British Army use[edit]

In 1966, control of Kirton in Lindsey was transferred to the Royal Artillery and was renamed "Rapier Barracks".

Due to the Royal Artillery association, the Army Cadet Force detachment which is housed there has the Royal Artillery cap badge. The former RAF camp was taken over by the army in 1966 and the 1st btn Royal Northumberland Fusiliers were there for 3–4 years ( going to Aden for about nine months) and then were amalgamated into the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in 1969/70 and left for Gibraltar in 1971 after a few tours of Northern Ireland

Return to RAF control[edit]

In 2004, the station was returned to RAF control and became the home of No. 1 Air Control Centre (1ACC), a deployable ground-based early warning and air control radar unit having relocated from RAF Boulmer in 2004–05.

Kirton also provides accommodation and messing for personnel based at, and is administered by, RAF Scampton.

In 2011–12, the technical site was vacated and No 1 ACC moved all personnel and equipment to RAF Scampton. During the same period the Junior Ranks Mess, accommodation blocks and dental centre were all closed. The Officers' Mess, Gym and a number of Service Families Accommodation remain open as a satellite of RAF Scampton, but it was announced on 25 March 2013[4] that a decision had been taken to dispose of the former airfield and technical facilities.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ The National Archives : AIR27/1518
  2. ^ The National Archives : AIR28/427 (Overview, various dates 1940–1941).
  3. ^ "Battle of Britain Then and Now," 1st ed., p 266
  4. ^ "Defence Estate Rationalisation Update" (PDF). Ministry Of Defence. 25 March 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]