RAF Spitalgate

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RAF Spitalgate
Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg
Westland Lysander Mark I, R2636, of No. 5 Group Communications Flight.jpg
Westland Lysander Mark I of No. 5 Group Communications Flight at RAF Spitalgate
IATA: noneICAO: none
Summary
Airport type Military
Operator Royal Flying Corps, Royal Air Force
Location Grantham, Lincolnshire
Elevation AMSL 415 ft / 126 m
Coordinates 52°54′05″N 000°36′15″W / 52.90139°N 0.60417°W / 52.90139; -0.60417Coordinates: 52°54′05″N 000°36′15″W / 52.90139°N 0.60417°W / 52.90139; -0.60417
Map
RAF Spitalgate is located in Lincolnshire
RAF Spitalgate
RAF Spitalgate
Location in Lincolnshire
Originally named RFC Station Grantham and later RAF Station Grantham. Decommissioned and closed in 1976.
Flying training establishment and Flying Training Command.

RAF Spitalgate formerly known as RFC Station Grantham and RAF Station Grantham was a Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force station, located 2 mi (3.2 km) south east of the centre of Grantham, Lincolnshire, England fronting onto the main A52 road.

History[edit]

The station opened in 1915 as Royal Flying Corps Station Grantham, becoming RAF Station Grantham on 1 April 1918 - a name it bore until 1942 when it was renamed as RAF Station Spitalgate. Throughout the First World War the station was a flying training facility and headquarters of No. 21 Group RFC Flying Training Command. The main lodging unit was No. 12 Flying Training School RFC with further elements at the satellite station at RFCS Harlaxton. Flying training continued at RAF Grantham during the inter-war years.

RAF Spitalgate should not be confused with HQ of No. 5 Group that was located in a large private house, St Vincents Hall, Grantham from October 1937 to November 1943 and also known as RAF Grantham during its final years there. Also in November 1943, elements of the HQ IX Troop Carrier Command of the USAAF were relocated to RAF Spitalgate, with their headquarters at St Vincents in the town centre. The station was also the training and point-of departure airfield for the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade during Operation Market Garden.

The station was an Officer Cadet Training Unit (OCTU) in the 1950s. Much later it became the Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF) Depot, responsible for the recruitment and training of all non-commissioned females in the RAF, until this moved to RAF Hereford and later again to RAF Swinderby. It was also the home of the Central Gliding School which moved to RAF Syerston in March 1975. The site is not part of Grantham, but the parish of Londonthorpe & Harrowby Without.

Spitalgate acted as a parent station for a relief landing ground four miles further south at RAF Harlaxton from November 1916 until 1945.

In 1975 the RAF vacated the site and the following year it became a British Army base known as Prince William of Gloucester Barracks.

Station commanders[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]