RAF Swinderby

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RAF Swinderby
Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg
Near Swinderby, Lincolnshire in England
Former RAF Swinderby during 2008.
Former RAF Swinderby during 2008.
RAF Swinderby crest.jpg
Haec porta moenia viri
(Latin for 'This is the gate, the walls are men')
RAF Swinderby is located in Lincolnshire
RAF Swinderby
RAF Swinderby
Location in Lincolnshire
Coordinates53°08′49″N 000°40′16″W / 53.14694°N 0.67111°W / 53.14694; -0.67111Coordinates: 53°08′49″N 000°40′16″W / 53.14694°N 0.67111°W / 53.14694; -0.67111
TypeRoyal Air Force flying station
Site information
OwnerMinistry of Defence
OperatorRoyal Air Force
Site history
Built1940 (1940)
In use1940–1993 (1993)
FateSold in 1995, the technical site is now an industrial estate and domestic site became the village of Witham St Hughs. The airfield remains and is disused.
Airfield information
IdentifiersICAO: EGXS
Elevation19 metres (62 ft) AMSL
Direction Length and surface
02/22  Asphalt
06/24 1,845 metres (6,053 ft) Asphalt
11/29 1,268 metres (4,160 ft) Asphalt

Royal Air Force Swinderby or more simply RAF Swinderby was a Royal Air Force station airfield opened in 1940, one of the last of the stations completed under the RAF's expansion plans started in the 1930s. It was built near the village of Swinderby, Lincolnshire just off the south east side of the A46 (the Fosse Way) between Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire and Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England.

The station closed on 17 December 1993.

The Explorer Scouts unit based in the village of Swinderby, is named EGXS, a reference to the ICAO of the airfield. Their badge includes the layout of Swinderby's runways.


Under the command of No. 1 Group RAF, Swinderby came under the auspices of RAF Bomber Command and housed several bomber squadrons, among others No. 300 Polish Bomber Squadron and No. 301 Polish Bomber Squadron, initially flying the Fairey Battle, then Vickers Wellington. Other squadrons operated aircraft, such as the Handley Page Hampden.

On 16 July 1941 the newly created Polish Air Force Colour was presented to General Sikorski, the Polish Commander-in-Chief, in the presence of many dignitaries, in a solemn ceremony at RAF Swinderby.[1] It was then handed to No. 300 Bomber Squadron, the senior Polish Squadron in England, resident at Swinderby. Thereafter it was rotated to other Polish Squadrons every 3 months.[2]

In the 1950s and early 1960s it was the home of No. 8 Flying Training School RAF, converting trainee pilots to de Havilland Vampires. In 1956 it hosted a brief experiment to keep all the flying training to wings stage straight through on one base. This was abandoned after a month due to the obvious danger of collisions in the circuit between the Vampires and the much slower piston engined Percival Provost basic trainers.

Passing out parade in November 1971.

In 1964 RAF Swinderby changed its role to that of recruit training when No.7 School of Recruit Training, formerly at RAF Bridgnorth, opened at RAF Swinderby. It became responsible for the basic training of all male enlisted personnel prior to their trade training, in August 1964 intake 7/46 was the first pass out parade at RAF Swinderby. Females were still trained at RAF Hereford in 1976 and in 1982 the very first integrated Flight (i.e. male and female recruits) passed out in November at RAF Swinderby. In July 1993 No.1 Squadron 6 Flight was the final pass out parade before the RAF School of Recruit Training moved to RAF Halton.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9]

A live LP recording of a passing out parade was made in 1973, featuring the Midland Band of the Royal Air Force. It included all the commands and sounds of the parade.[10]

RAF Swinderby closed on 17 December 1993, with the Joint Elementary Flying Training Squadron having previously moved to RAF Topcliffe in North Yorkshire.[11]

Current use[edit]

Information board outside the new village hall, 2013.

In 1995 the station was put up for sale, where the land was purchased by Cemex for commercial mining. However, Cemex continue to rent the land to International Antiques & Collectors Fairs five times a year for the Swinderby Antiques Fair.

In 2013 the hangars and the air traffic control tower remained in evidence along with acres of concrete runways and taxiways but most of the other buildings on the technical site have been demolished. In 2014 only 2 hangars remained, but the control tower was demolished.

The domestic site has been developed as the new village of Witham St Hughs with only the former Officer's Married Quarters and Airmen's Married Quarters remaining. The new village hall has an information board giving the history of RAF Swinderby.

On 10 May 2014 a memorial was dedicated to all those Servicemen and Servicewomen who served at RAF Swinderby from 1940 to 1993. It is situated by the modern village hall, adjacent to the information board and the bench "Remembering No. 300 & No. 301 Polish Squadrons who served with the Royal Air Force at RAF Swinderby during WW II".[12]


Squadron Equipment From To To Notes
No. 50 Squadron RAF Handley Page Hampden 20 July 1941 26 November 1941 RAF Skellingthorpe [13]
No. 300 Squadron (Polish) RAF Fairey Battle
Vickers Wellington IC
22 August 1940 18 July 1941 RAF Hemswell [14]
No. 301 Squadron (Polish) RAF Battle
Wellington IC
29 August 1940 18 July 1941 RAF Hemswell [14]
No. 455 Squadron RAAF Hampden 6 June 1941 8 February 1942 RAF Wigsley Formed here.[15]


  • Arkady Fiedler: 303 SQUADRON – The Legendary Battle of Britain Fighter Squadron (Aquila Polonica (U.S.) Ltd, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., 2010, ISBN 978-1-60772-005-8).


  1. ^ Arkady Fiedler, 303 SQUADRON, The Legendary Battle of Britain Fighter Squadron, pg. 325
  2. ^ Arkady Fiedler, 303 Squadron, The Legendary Battle of Britain Fighter Squadron, pg. 326
  3. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 00.
  4. ^ Halpenny 1981, p. 180.
  5. ^ Halpenny 1981, p. 181.
  6. ^ Halpenny 1981, p. 182.
  7. ^ Halpenny 1981, p. 183.
  8. ^ Halpenny 1981, p. 184.
  9. ^ Halpenny 1981, p. 185.
  10. ^ Passing Out Parade, The Newcomers, Swinderby Style, Record Number CS 7095
  11. ^ March, Peter R. (1998). Brace by Wire to Fly-By-Wire – 80 Years of the Royal Air Force 1918–1998. RAF Fairford: Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund Enterprises. p. 160. ISBN 1-899808-06-X.
  12. ^ "RAF Swinderby Memorial Dedication".
  13. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 41.
  14. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 84.
  15. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 93.


  • Halpenny, B.B. Action Stations: Wartime Military Airfields of Lincolnshire and the East Midlands v. 2. Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, Patrick Stephens Ltd, 1981. ISBN 0-85059-484-7.
  • Jefford, C.G. RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1988. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.

External links[edit]