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East side of Bawtry Hall
|Owner||Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)|
|Controlled by||Royal Air Force|
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.
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.
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.
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|
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. 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.
The trustees had taken the decision to close the hall on 31 December 2013 and a buyer was being actively sought. 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.
- Historic England. "BAWTRY HALL (1151550)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
- Halpenny 1981, p. 47.
- "Bawtry Hall played an important role in history". Retford Guardian. 15 October 2007. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
- Bateman, Stephanie (27 March 2014). "Bawtry treasure sold for £1.6 million". Doncaster Free Press. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
- "Bases of Bomber Command Then and Now". After the Battle. Retrieved 6 January 2008.
- "Bircotes and Bawtry". Abandoned, forgotten and little known airfields in Europe. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
- "Bawtry Hall Closure Plans". Action Partners Corporation. 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.