From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present
Raf Driffield
Statistics
Category
County
Coordinates
Grid
Condition
Age
Cost
Military
East Yorkshire
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Poor
1918
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Raf Driffield is an abandoned Air Force Base located near Driffield in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Raf Driffield started life as an aerodrome in 1918 with wooden and brick buildings but it was called Eastburn Aerodrome. Three squadrons trained at the aerodrome but after the First World War these units were disbanded and the aerodrome was abandoned.

It was in the 1930's that the aerodrome's fortunes changed. As the newly formed Royal Air Force was expanding, new bases were needed. The old Aerodrome was selected for reuse and expansion. Construction started in 1935 and was finished mid 1936. Five large hangers were build with supporting buildings and a watch tower. Barracks were built behind the hangers. A grass runway was cut and ran towards the North West. The site became Raf Driffield and home to a number of bomber squadrons. Constant training proved that the base was ready for the Second World War.

The beginning of Second World War saw a lot of activity on the base. Propaganda leaflets were dropped behind enemy lines constantly. One mission in 1940, Six Million leaflets were dropped over Warsaw. Bombing raids were carried out as well as the leaflet campaign. A German bombing raid on the base in August 1940 left 14 people dead, after the 50 Junkers Ju88 aircraft dropped 169 bombs. They also destroyed 12 aircraft, all 5 hangers and extensive damage to the other buildings around the site. Repairs to the air base took about eight months.

Once the repairs were complete, Raf Driffield was given a new role in the war, Spitfires and Hurricane fighter aircraft replaced the bombers, once No 13 Fighter Command took control. They patrolled the coast line. Bomber Command returned with Wellington Bombers mid 1941 and resumed bombing raids on German positions. The Air Base was closed in 1943 as concrete runways were constructed and then resumed operations in June 1944 with heavier bombers, in time for operations to support the Allied invasion.

After the war, Raf Driffield was set up as a training base, first using aircraft from the war and then became the first training facility for the new breed of men and machines as the jet replaced conventional aircraft. The base reverted back to a fighter station in 1955. In 1958 Raf Driffield was selected to be used as a nuclear deterrent and was equipped with three Douglas Thor missiles, each with a range of 1,750 miles and capable of reaching Moscow. The missiles at Driffield were never used and the system was dismantled in 1963.

In 1977 Raf Driffield was taken over by the army and renamed Alamein Barracks.cBy the early 1980s, the runways were removed and the hardcore used in the construction of the Driffield bypass. The control tower and air-raid shelters were demolished, while the hangars that protected aircraft for many years were converted to protect Government surplus grain from the elements. The army used Raf Driffield as a driver training centre until they moved to a new site. The Raf regained Driffield but then called it Raf Staxton Wold - Driffield site. This did not last long as in 1996 the Raf closed the base ending 60 years of service.

The hangers have now been converted to factory units and a small medical facility exists on the site. The remaining buildings are abandoned and derelict with an unknown future.