RAF Croft

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RAF Croft
Croft Aerodrome
Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svgAir Force Ensign of Canada (1941-1968).svg
RAF Building , Cockleberry Saw Mill. - geograph.org.uk - 143748.jpg
A building at Cockleberry Saw Mill which was part of RAF Croft during the Second World War
Summary
Airport type Military
Owner Air Ministry
Operator Royal Air Force (RAF)
Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF)
Location Dalton-on-Tees
Built 1941
In use 1941-1946
Elevation AMSL 180 ft / 55 m
Coordinates 54°27′09″N 001°33′11″W / 54.45250°N 1.55306°W / 54.45250; -1.55306Coordinates: 54°27′09″N 001°33′11″W / 54.45250°N 1.55306°W / 54.45250; -1.55306
Map
RAF Croft is located in North Yorkshire
RAF Croft
RAF Croft
Location in North Yorkshire
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
00/00 0 0 Concrete
00/00 0 0 Concrete
00/00 0 0 Concrete

Royal Air Force Croft or RAF Croft is a former Royal Air Force station located 4.6 miles (7.4 km) south of Darlington, County Durham, England and 8 miles (13 km) north east of Richmond, North Yorkshire. The site is also known locally as Croft Aerodrome or Neasham.

The airfield was opened in 1941 for use by the Royal Air Force (RAF) but by 1942 the aerodrome had been taken over by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) for training as part of No. 6 Group RCAF.

The station is now more famously known as the site of Croft Circuit, a motor racing circuit which hosts various car championships including the British Touring Car Championship.

History[edit]

The first squadron to join the airfield was No. 78 Squadron RAF which arrived on 20 October 1941 flying both the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mk.V and the Handley Page Halifax Mk. II before leaving on 10 June 1942[1] when no units were stationed during the summer but on 1 October 1942 No. 419 Squadron RCAF has arrived with their Mk. III Vickers Wellingtons before re-equipping with the Halifax II and leaving on 10 November 1942. During this time on 7 November 1942 427 Squadron RCAF was formed at the airfield with a mixture of Mk III's and Mk X's Wellington before leaving on 4 May 1943.[2]

In 1943, Croft became a sub-station of RAF Middleton St. George which was allocated to No. 6 Group, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).[3]

The airfield also hosted No 1664 (Royal Canadian Air Force) Heavy Conversion Unit RAF starting from 10 May 1943 which trained new pilots to fly the new heavy bombers using the Mk II and the Mk IV Halifax before leaving on 7 December 1943.[3] When three days later on the tenth 431 Squadron RCAF began using the airfield with the Halifax Mks V and III and the Avro Lancaster Mk.X before leaving on 7 June 1945 going to Canada.[2] This squadron was joined by 434 Squadron RCAF which had joined on 11 December 1944 also flying the Halifax and the Lancaster before leaving on 15 June 1945 to also go to Canada.[4]

After the RCAF left in 1945, Croft saw little wartime activity. Later in 1945 the aerodrome became a satellite of No. 13 Operational Training Unit RAF based at Middleton St. George flying de Havilland Mosquitoes. The station was closed in the summer of 1946.[3] [5] [6]

Current use[edit]

The Croft aerodrome is now better known as a Croft Circuit, a regular venue for the British Touring Car Championship and British Superbike Championship. It is located near the North Yorkshire villages of Dalton Gates and Dalton-on-Tees.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 78.
  2. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 91.
  3. ^ a b c "RAF Croft". Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  4. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 92.
  5. ^ Moyes 1976, pp. 240, 246, 249 and 251.
  6. ^ Sturtivant and Hamlin 2007, p. 99.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1981-1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Jefford MBE, Wg Cdr C G (1988). RAF Squadrons. A comprehensive record of the movement and equipment of all RAF squadrons and their antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury: Airlife. ISBN 1-85310-053-6. 
  • Moyes, Philip J.R. Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 2nd edition 1976. ISBN 0-354-01027-1.
  • Sturtivant, Ray, ISO and John Hamlin. RAF Flying Training And Support Units since 1912. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 2007. ISBN 0-85130-365-X.
  • Todd, A.A.B. Pilgrimages of Grace: a history of Croft aerodrome. Alan Todd Associates, Durham, UK: 1993. ISBN 0-9520177-0-9.

External links[edit]