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

The base was attacked in 1940 and in 1942 by the Luftwaffe, fortunately, only one person was killed during these raids.

On 1 February 1941 a spy, Josef Jakobs, was captured by farmers after he had parachuted into the area, breaking a leg in the process. He was discovered to have maps of the RAF Upwood area, a code device and almost £500 in his possession. Jakobs was subsequently sent to the Tower of London where he was tried, found guilty and executed by firing squad.
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RAF Upwood is located next to the village of Upwood, Cambridgeshire. It is close to Huntingdon and RAF Alconbury. It closed in 1994 and is now derelict. Only the Aircraft Hangers remain in use but belong to a private company.

The site was requisitioned by the Royal Flying Corps in 1917 and opened in September of that year. It was known as Bury at the time, being close to Bury village. At this time it was only used for night landing, as a satellite field for 75 Squadron based in Elmswell, Suffolk. The site was expanded in 1918, with new building being erected including five hangers and a watch tower; It was then renamed to Upwood. As World War I ended the air field was no longer required, so in June 1919 it closed, all the buildings were flattened and the land returned to the local community.

The Air field was reopened in the early 1930's as britain saw the need for an improved Airforce. New buildings were built and the base designed to house two medium bomber squadrons with room for a third if needed. Mostly the airfield was used for training and this carried on well into World War II. Problems with the grass runway forced many operations to be suspended, but was replaced in 1943 with three concrete runways. 139 Squadron arrived early 1944, flying Mosquitos and flew various missions. March saw the arrival of 156 squadron with its lancaster bombers who flew bombing raids into Germany

One the war was over, Upwood was used in operation Manna and Exodus. They took food into Holland and repatriated former prisoners of war. Once these missions were complete, the Squadrons disbanded or moved to other airfields. Upwood became home to squadrons of Lancasters. These were replaced in 1949 with Avro Lincoln's who flew covert missions and anti communist operations.

The Avro Lincoln's were replaced with Canberra aircraft in 1954. The squadrons of Lincoln's were disbanded in turn, replaced with new squadrons flying the Canberra. These flew various missions but were then phased out with the last squadron disbanded in september 1961.

RAF Upwood was transferred to Strike Command, who transformed the base but it was not to last long. In 1964 the units left the base but left a care-taking unit behind. Later that year, the base reprised its former role as a training facility. The 22 group Technical Training Command set up a school of management and work study. These and other training programs lasted until 1981.

The United States Air Force took control of RAF Upwood and became a satellite of RAF Alconbury providing housing and support services. A large medical facility was built at Upwood for American personal and family.

The end of the cold war saw the end of RAF Upwood, when it was returned to the MOD in 1995. By 2005 the last USAF family moved out of the Upwood housing area and it was returned. The medical unit remains open providing outpatient care for the community.