From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

RAF Swinderby

53° 8' 50.3" N 0° 40' 44.5" W
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Raf Swinderby is located between Lincoln and Newark in Lincolnshire. The airfield opened in 1940, and was was one of the last expansion plan airfields to be built. Raf Swinderby was used by Bomber Command during the war.

As Raf Swinderby was incomplete at the start of the war, three curved roof type J hangers were built instead of the more expensive type C hanger. Most of the site was built to prewar specifications, which included the barracks and administrative blocks. The runways were leveled but were mostly grass.

Mid 1940 the base came to life when No. 1 group, 300 and 301 squadron took charge of the base. The two squadrons were just fresh from training and had a lot to prove, as they were the first Polish bomber squadrons in the RAF. They soon saw action, in their Fairy Battles, on a bombing mission over Boulogne harbour. The Fairy Battles were soon replaced with a long range medium bomber called the Wellington. These bombers were used for many night time raids during the early part of the war.

The grass runways were soon proven to be unsuitable for the medium bombers, who soon rutted the runways. These were replaced with hard runways in about November 1941. The aircraft were stored on Twenty four hardstandings, with nine of them on the other side on the A46. Traffic was stopped when the aircraft needed to cross the road.

300 and 301 squadrons left Raf Swinderby in July 1941 when the base was given to No. 5 Group and 50 squadron took charge in a reshuffle of resources.

The airbase was in a constant state of improvement for most of the war, as resources became available. The runways were extended, the hard standings increased to 36, three type T2 hangers build and bomb stores enlarged. Accommodation was also improved.

Sadly the air field, as with all air fields, lost aircraft and crew. The last aircraft lost is thought to have been a Lancaster bomber on 23/24th of September 1942. As many as 77 loses were accounted for, two Battles, 54 Hampdens, 12 Wellingtons, two Manchesters and seven Lancasters.

Raf Swinderby took on a new role early in 1943, it became an operational training station for No. 5 Group with the formation of No. 1660 Heavy Conversion Unit using Manchesters and Lancasters, but later temporally replaced with Sterlings, due to a shortages. Later it changed again as No. 7 Training group took control in late 1944. Again this changed, with the end of the war, Raf Swinderby became an advanced flying school, at first using Mosquitos. Swinderby retained this role until 1964. The facilities were upgraded in the 1950's, with a new control tower, various buildings and improvements to the taxiways.

1964 saw yet another change for Swinderby. Its new use was for basic training and assessment of raw recruits, with a flying unit added in 1979 for prospective pilot assessment. Sadly this came to an end in 1995, with the airfield up for sale with planning permission for homes and a business park. Although homes were built on some of the site, alot of existing building have been kept and used or commercial benefit or just stand empty and derelict. These empty buildings have been a target for vandalism and destruction.