RAF Wickenby

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For civilian use of the airfield, see Wickenby Aerodrome.
RAF Wickenby
Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg

Wickenby Aerodrome
Wickenby Airport
Summary
Airport type Public
Owner Air Ministry 1942-1964
Operator Royal Air Force 1942-1964
Wickenby Aerodrome 1964 – present
Serves Langworth
Location Holton cum Beckering
Elevation AMSL 82 ft / 25 m
Coordinates 53°19′01″N 000°20′56″W / 53.31694°N 0.34889°W / 53.31694; -0.34889Coordinates: 53°19′01″N 000°20′56″W / 53.31694°N 0.34889°W / 53.31694; -0.34889
Website www.wickenbyairfield.com
Map
EGNW is located in Lincolnshire
EGNW
EGNW
Location in Lincolnshire
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
03/21 530 1,738 Concrete
16/34 497 1,630 Concrete
Source: UK AIP at NATS[1]

Royal Air Force Station Wickenby or RAF Wickenby was a purpose built Royal Air Force station constructed late 1942 and early 1943. It lies halfway between Wickenby and Holton cum Beckering, to the south-east of Wickenby close to the B1399 in West Lindsey, 8 NM (15 km; 9.2 mi) north-east of Lincoln, England.[1]

Construction[edit]

It had two T2 type hangars and one B1 type. The B1 and one of the T2 hangars can still be seen on the airfield site. The T2 near the threshold of runway 21 was recently acquired by the airfield owners and after many years of industrial use is now, once more, an aircraft hangar.

The airfield covered about 600 acres (2.4 km2), and had the usual three runway configuration with perimeter track, hard standings, a brick watchtower and numerous brick and metal buildings for the aircrews and ground staff. A number of the buildings were to the east (Communal Site, Living Quarters, WAAF Quarters) and stretched to and beyond the Lissington road - a road travelled many an evening by the airmen and women who visited their favourite watering hole, the White Hart[2] at Lissington. The Sick Quarters were to the south of the airfield together with a Communal Site and Living Quarters.

Residential units[edit]

RAF Wickenby Memorial.

Wickenby was occupied in September 1942 by No. 12 Squadron (a/c code PH) who brought with them Wellington II/III's, but during the winter of 1942/3 they converted to the Avro Lancaster. The Squadron flew the Lancaster throughout the rest of the war. On 7 November 1943, C Flight was expanded to become 626 Squadron (a/c code UM), also flying the Lancaster. Wickenby played a large part in the bomber offensive, taking part in many of the major raids including: Berlin, Munich, Nuremberg, Essen, Mailly-le-Camp, and Caen. Aircraft from Wickenby were also involved in mine-laying (gardening), and operations Manna and Exodus. On 24 September 1945, 12 Squadron moved to a more permanent site at Binbrook.

12 Squadron still exists to this day flying Tornado aircraft out of Lossiemouth. Having spent its entire existence at Wickenby, 626 Squadron was disbanded on 14 October 1945. The base was later taken over by No. 93 Maintenance Unit[3] and subsequently No. 92 Maintenance Unit[4] who used the runways to dismantle ordinance until 1956 when the base was closed. Civil aviation and maintenance began in 1963, and the land was sold between 1964-6. During the relatively short period of active service 1,080 lives were lost from RAF Wickenby. This sacrifice is commemorated by the RAF Wickenby Memorial[5] in the form of Icarus on an obelisk at the entrance to the airfield. The memorial was placed there by members of the Wickenby Register, an association of former 12/626 Squadron personnel and associate relatives.

Post-war use[edit]

The north part of the former airfield is now known as Wickenby Aerodrome, which is a grass and concrete airfield.[6] A road from Holton cum Beckering to Snelland[7] runs right over the former airfield. Companies based at the airfield are Thruster Aircraft who make microlight planes; Fly365 Ltd who fly pleasure flights; and Rase Distribution - a haulage firm. Planes using the airfield have to make contact first with the control tower at RAF Waddington.

The Watch Office is the home of the RAF Wickenby Memorial Collection and the Wickenby Archive, a museum and collection of memorabilia and archive dedicated to the memory of the Squadrons who served here.

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ a b "Wickenby - EGNW". National Air Traffic Services. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  2. ^ "White Hart". 12sqn.net. Archived from the original on 8 March 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  3. ^ "93 Maintenance Unit". RAF lincolnshire info. 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "92 Maintenance Unit". RAF lincolnshire info. 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  5. ^ Croft, Richard. "RAF Wickenby Memorial". Geograph Britain and Ireland. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  6. ^ Croft, Richard. "Wickenby Airport". Geograph Britain and Ireland. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  7. ^ Murray-Rust, Alan. "Wickenby Airfield". Geograph Britain and Ireland. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
Bibliography
  • Halpenny, Bruce Barrymore (1981). Action Stations: Wartime Military Airfields of Lincolnshire and the East Midlands (Volume 2). Cambridge: Stephens. ISBN 978-0850594843. 
  • Currie, Jack (1997). Lancaster Target: The Story of a Crew Who Flew from Wickenby. Goodall Publications Ltd. ISBN 0-907579-32-9. 

External links[edit]