An 11(F) Squadron Lightning from RAF Binbrook landing at RAF Finningley
|Owner||Ministry of Defence|
|Operator||Royal Air Force|
|In use||June 1940 – 1942
1943 – April 1988
Royal Air Force Station Binbrook or RAF Binbrook is a former Royal Air Force station, now closed, located near Binbrook, Lincolnshire, England. The old domestic site (married quarters) has been renamed to become the village of Brookenby. RAF Binbrook was primarily used by Bomber Command. After the war it was amongst others the home of the Central Fighter Establishment. It also served as base for the last two RAF squadrons to employ the English Electric Lightning between 1965 and 1988.
RAF Binbrook was opened as a Bomber Command station in June 1940 during the Second World War home to No. 12 Squadron RAF which operated between 3 July 1940 and 25 September 1942 before moving to RAF Wickenby. The squadron operated the Vickers Wellington Mk II and III. Another squadron to use Binbrook before 1942 was 142 which initially operated between 3 July 1940 and 12 August 1940 with the Fairey Battle and left for a short time before returning on 6 September 1940 and going to RAF Waltham on 26 November 1941. The squadron used the Battle until November 1940 before switching to the Wellington Mk II. It closed in 1942 for the installation of three concrete runways, reopening in 1943 as home to No. 460 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force. Post-war, Binbrook was home to a number of distinguished RAF bomber squadrons, notably IX, 12, 101 and 617, all four of which were there for more than a decade. The airfield saw the start of the RAF's transition to jet bombers with the arrival of the first English Electric Canberras.
After the departure of IX and 12 squadrons in 1959, Binbrook housed Gloster Javelin all-weather fighters belonging to 64 squadron, as well as the Central Fighter Establishment. 85 Squadron also moved to Binbrook with a mixture of Canberras and Gloster Meteors in the target facilities role.
From 1965, Binbrook was the home to the English Electric Lightnings of 5 Squadron, joined by the similarly equipped 11 Squadron in 1972. 5 and 11 were the last two RAF squadrons to employ the Lightning. 5 Squadron re-equipped with the Tornado F3 at RAF Coningsby early in 1988, leaving 11 Squadron to soldier on at Binbrook for a few more months with the remaining few Lightnings in RAF service. When 11 Squadron disbanded to also re-equip with the Tornado F3 at RAF Leeming, the Lightning was withdrawn from service.
On 8 September 1970, Captain William Schaffner, an American exchange pilot flying BAC Lightnings with 5 Squadron, took off from Binbrook in the plane XS894 at 22:06, armed with two Red Top air-to-air missiles. The plane was lost over the North Sea. Three weeks later it was located on the sea bed. Some believe this was an encounter with a UFO.
The station closed as a Main Operating Base in the 1980s, although it continued as a Relief Landing Ground for RAF Scampton into the early 1990s before eventually closing and all military activity ceasing, it was subsequently sold off for development.
The Control Tower and adjacent Fire Section were demolished in 1995.
As of 2012 a majority of the accommodation blocks have been demolished. The hangars and offices are used as an industrial estate housing many businesses. The flight line is fenced off and used for storage of mainly ex-military equipment awaiting resale. The married quarters are private housing, forming the new village of Brookenby. There is also a memorial to 460 Squadron (RAAF) consisting of a Memorial Plaque and benches around the former Ident Square.
- Halpenny, Bruce Barrymore. Action Stations: Wartime Military Airfields of Lincolnshire and the East Midlands v. 2. Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1981. ISBN 0-85059-484-7.
Later published (With 16 page Update Supplement) as:
- Action Stations: Wartime Military Airfields of Lincolnshire and the East Midlands v. 2 Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1991. ISBN 1-85260-405-0.
- Jefford, C.G, MBE, BA, RAF (Retd). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
- Halpenny, Bruce Barrymore. English Electric/BAC Lightning (Osprey Air Combat Series No.4). Publishing Ltd., 1984. ISBN 0-85045-562-6.
- Scott, Stewart. Airfield Focus: Binbrook. GMS Enterprises, 2000. ISBN 1-870384-80-6.
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