Wellesbourne Mountford Airfield

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Wellesbourne Mountford Airfield
Avro 698 Vulcan B2, UK - Air Force AN2253959.jpg
Avro Vulcan XM655 is located at the airfleld.
Airport typePrivate
OperatorRadarmoor Ltd
LocationWellesbourne, Warwickshire
Elevation AMSL157 ft / 48 m
Coordinates52°11′32″N 001°36′52″W / 52.19222°N 1.61444°W / 52.19222; -1.61444Coordinates: 52°11′32″N 001°36′52″W / 52.19222°N 1.61444°W / 52.19222; -1.61444
EGBW is located in Warwickshire
Location in Warwickshire
Direction Length Surface
m ft
05/23 587 1,926 Asphalt
18/36 917 3,009 Asphalt
18/36 506 1,660 Grass (Unlicensed)
Sources: UK AIP at NATS.[1]

Wellesbourne Mountford Airfield (ICAO:EGBW) is located in Wellesbourne, Warwickshire, England, 3.9 miles (6.3 km) east of Stratford-upon-Avon. The airfield was formerly the Royal Air Force station RAF Wellesbourne Mountford.

Wellesbourne Mountford is best known for its role in the Second World War, when it was under control by RAF Bomber Command as an Operational Training Unit training crews from within the commonwealth and other countries.

Today the airfield has a CAA Ordinary Licence (Number P681) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction as authorised by the licensee (Radarmoor Limited).[2] It is primarily a general aviation (GA) airfield; see UKGA[3] for details. Wellesbourne Mountford is also home to Avro Vulcan XM655, which is kept in taxiable condition.

History of the airfield[edit]

Royal Air Force use[edit]

RAF Wellesbourne Mountford seen from north-north-west circa 1941-1942

The airfield was originally opened in 1941 constructed in the typical Class A airfield design, the main unit to use the airfield was No. 22 Operational Training Unit RAF which flew Vickers Wellingtons and Avro Ansons for RAF Bomber Command from 14 April 1941.[4]

During the Second World War the airfield was attacked a few times by enemy bombers on their way home after bombing targets in the Midlands such as Coventry and Birmingham. The nearby Ettington railway station was used to transport troops and munitions from the rest of the country then to the airfield using RAF lorries and buses. Crews also attacked a number of German cities such as Cologne, Essen and Bremen as part of the 1,000 bomber raids. The aircraft were crewed by instructors and students with some planes unfortunately failing to return.

The airfield was briefly home to the No. 3 Glider Training School which started using Wellesbourne Mountford during July 1945 preparing for war in the far east using the General Aircraft Hotspur before being disbanded on 3 December 1947,[5] the RAF School of Photography from 1948 to 1964, the RAF School of Education 1950 to 1952 and the Airfield Construction Branch from 1951 to 1964. In 1964 the airfield was closed and put on a care and maintenance basis then returned to the original owners.[6]

Civilian use[edit]

The airfield has been reduced in size following the closure of the RAF station with a large number of the pan dispersals and dispersal track being removed in the 1970s for civilian construction projects and with the removal of one runway (which is now a concrete taxiway) and the shortened length of another. In the past, Wellesbourne was temporarily home to Air Atlantique Douglas DC-3s between 1965 and 1981 also the site was used for vehicle testing by the Rootes Group, Coventry and a number of different groups occupied the site for uses like microlighting.[7]

Current use[edit]

Today the airfield has a CAA Ordinary Licence (Number P681) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction as authorised by the licensee (Radarmoor Limited).[2] It is primarily a general aviation (GA) airfield; see UKGA[3] for details.

Wellesbourne Mountford also has an annual wings and wheels event where military and classic cars meet with various aircraft including the in-house Avro Vulcan bomber XM655.[8]

The airfield holds a large market held on Saturdays and Bank Holidays on the eastern side.[9] The airfield also has a café and a number of flying schools located near to the control tower.

The airfield is currently under threat from developers trying to build 1,600 homes on the site.[10]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

In 2010 a small plane crashed on the A429 near to the airfield.[11] The aeroplane was doing circuits around the airfield.

On Tuesday 6 August 2013 a two-seater Van's Aircraft RV-9 diesel powered aircraft suffered an engine failure shortly after take off. The pilot executed a forced landing into a nearby field (near Loxley) which resulted in the aircraft smashing through a hedgerow and inverting. The pilot, who was 59 and had 10 years flying experience, was trapped for 40 minutes whilst emergency services tried to locate the crash site. The pilot escaped with just a "bloody thumb".[12][deprecated source]

Wellesbourne Wartime Museum[edit]

Avro Vulcan XM655 at Wellesbourne Mountford Airfield
Avro Vulcan XM655 at Wellesbourne Mountford Airfield

The airfield is also home to the Wellesbourne Wartime Museum situated at the end of the car park near to the control tower which includes the Avro Vulcan XM655 which is located separately in the northwest corner of the airfield and maintained by the 655 Maintenance & Preservation Society.[13]

Current museum exhibits[edit]

Manufacturer Aeroplane[14] Serial Notes
de Havilland D.H.110 Sea Vixen FAW.2 XJ575 Cockpit only
de Havilland D.H.115 Vampire T.11 XK590
Percival P.56 Provost T.1 WV679
Yakovlev Yak-52 RA-01378



  1. ^ "Wellesbourne Mountford - EGBW". National Air Traffic Services. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Civil Aviation Authority Aerodrome Ordinary Licences" (PDF). Civil Aviation Authority Aerodrome. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 March 2009. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  3. ^ a b "UKGA pages for Wellesbourne". United Kingdom General Aviation. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  4. ^ Lake 1999, p. 147.
  5. ^ Lake 1999, p. 110.
  6. ^ "History". Wellesbourne Mountford Airfield. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  7. ^ "RAF Wellesbourne Mountford (Part 2)". BBC History - WW2 People's War. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  8. ^ "Wellesbourne Wings and Wheels 2012". 655 Maintenance & Preservation Society. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  9. ^ "Wellesbourne Airfield Market". The Platt Group. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  10. ^ "Anger at Wellesbourne Airfield homes plans". Leamington Observer. Archived from the original on 27 March 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  11. ^ "Pilot escapes injury after emergency landing on road". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  12. ^ "Pilot's miraculous escape as he walks away from crashed plane with nothing but a grazed thumb". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  13. ^ "XM655 History". 655 Maintenance & Preservation Society. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  14. ^ "Wellesbourne Mountford (EGBW)". Maurice Greenaway. Retrieved 20 March 2012.


  • Lake, A Flying Units of the RAF. Shrewsbury, Airlife Publishing Ltd., 1999. ISBN 1-84037-086-6.

External links[edit]