RAF Bawtry

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RAF Bawtry
Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Bawtry Hall, East side (geograph 3482406).jpg
East side of Bawtry Hall
Site information
OwnerMinistry of Defence (United Kingdom)
Controlled byRoyal Air Force
Open to
the public
Site history
Built1785 (1785)
In use1941-1986

RAF Bawtry was a Royal Air Force station located at Bawtry Hall in Bawtry, South Yorkshire, England and was No. 1 Group RAF Bomber Command headquarters and administration unit during and following the Second World War.


Bawtry Hall itself is a large redbrick house in two storeys with attics which was erected around 1785 by Pemberton Milnes, a prosperous wool-merchant from Wakefield, Yorkshire. It descended in the Milnes family for several generations before being sold to Major George Peake, a well-known amateur pilot, in 1905. It is a Grade II* listed building.[1]

During the Second World War the RAF took it over and it became an RAF command centre. RAF Bawtry did not have its own airfield but instead took advantage of RAF Bircotes, which was located literally next-door. Here the station based a number of communications aircraft.[2]

Bawtry Hall served the Royal Air Force from 1941–1984; first as HQ for No. 1 Group, Bomber Command during and after the Second World War, then as Strike Command HQ up to and including the later stages of the Cold War. The famous bombing of the airfield at Port Stanley by Vulcan bombers from RAF Waddington during the Falklands War was co-ordinated from the operations room at Bawtry Hall.[3]

RAF Bawtry became the centre of the RAF Meteorological Service for many years[4] and ceased military operations in 1986. In June 1987 Bawtry Hall was purchased by The Welbeck Estate Group.

No.1 Group Bomber Command units based at RAF Bawtry comprised as follows: -

Airfield . Squadron Aircraft Type Number of Aircraft .
RAF Elsham Wolds 103 Sqn Avro Lancaster I and III 17
RAF Elsham Wolds 576 Sqn Lancaster I and III 8
RAF Kirmington 166 Sqn Lancaster I and III 23
RAF Ingham 300 (Polish) Sqn Vickers Wellington X 23
RAF Ingham 300 (Polish) Sqn Lancaster I and III 0 - Re-equipping
RAF Wickenby 12 Sqn Lancaster I and III 16
RAF Wickenby 626 Sqn Lancaster I and III 14
RAF Grimsby 100 Sqn Lancaster I and III 18
RAF Grimsby 550 Sqn Lancaster I and III 7
RAF Ludford Magna 101 Sqn Lancaster I and III 22
RAF Binbrook 460 Sqn RAAF Lancaster I and III 27
RAF Kelstern 625 Sqn RAAF Lancaster I and III 17

+data from:[5]

During the Miners' Strike in the mid-1980s, up to 17,000 Police were based at RAF Bawtry to provide a central Operations and co-ordination point on the South Yorkshire / Nottinghamshire border.


The Air Training Corps 2008 Squadron is still located at the former site on Park Road in Bawtry, in a new building that replaced the former ones.[6] The squadron is a fully functioning unit that regularly attend flying, gliding, target shooting and a very high quality of fieldcraft training. Currently the squadron is known for its high standards of cadets, and was the first ever Squadron from the Yorkshire Wing to participate in the 4 day Nijmegan March (100 miles). In 2009 the Squadron has had a boom in the recruiting of cadets following successful recruiting campaigns in local schools, boosting its total number of attendees by 25+. 2008 Squadron gather every Wednesday and Friday evening to continue activities run by the Air Training Corps

It was sold by Defence Estates in the mid 1980s to a Roger Byron-Collins company who owned Bawtry Hall for 3 years together with the nearby technical and domestic site at RAF Hemswll and the post war married quarters sites at RAF Finningley and RAF Scampton. Later the building was bought by Action Partners Corporation, a Christian organisation, and has been used as teaching and conference centre for the past 24 years.[3]

The trustees had taken the decision to close the hall on 31 December 2013 and a buyer was being actively sought.[7] The hall was sold in 2014 for £1.6 million to Bawtry Hall properties who would be moving various video gaming enterprises into the building.[4]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Historic England. "BAWTRY HALL (1151550)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  2. ^ Halpenny 1981, p. 47.
  3. ^ a b "Bawtry Hall played an important role in history". Retford Guardian. 15 October 2007. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  4. ^ a b Bateman, Stephanie (27 March 2014). "Bawtry treasure sold for £1.6 million". Doncaster Free Press. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  5. ^ "Bases of Bomber Command Then and Now". After the Battle. Archived from the original on 17 September 2010. Retrieved 6 January 2008.
  6. ^ "Bircotes and Bawtry". Abandoned, forgotten and little known airfields in Europe. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  7. ^ "Bawtry Hall Closure Plans". Action Partners Corporation. Archived from the original on 29 June 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.


  • Freeman, Roger Anthony. Bases of Bomber Command : then and now. London, UK: Battle of Britain International, 2001. ISBN 1-870067-35-5.
  • Halpenny, Bruce. Action Stations 2; Military airfields of Lincolnshire and East Midlands. Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK: Patrick Stephen Publishing, 1981. ISBN 0-85059-484-7.
  • Halpenny, Bruce. Action Stations 4; Military airfields of Yorkshire. Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK: Patrick Stephen Publishing, 1982. ISBN 0-85059-532-0.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°25′43″N 1°01′21″W / 53.4286°N 1.0226°W / 53.4286; -1.0226