AIRFIELD HISTORY

 
 Faldingworth was constructed on an isolated area of farmland covering three parishes southeast of the River Ancholme, 4.5 miles from Market Rasen. The contractors involved were Tarmac Ltd and J.Cryer & Sons Ltd, with work totalling £810,000. Site clearance of woodland and hedges began in July 1942.
Aerial photo at start of building work

 Runway laying was completed by the following summer. Built to Class A standard, the runway lengths were 08-26 at 2,000 yards, and 1,400 yards for each of the subsidiaries, O1-1.9 and 13-31. Thirty-six hardstandings, all loops, and two T2 and a single B1 hangar were provided. The dispersed camp sites were towards Newton by Toft in the north-east, giving accommodation for up to 1,957 males and 281 females.
No. 1667 Heavy Conversion Unit arrived in August 1943 flying Halifax's and Lancaster's, losing several in crashes before being moved to Sandtoft in February 1944. This was to allow No.300 Squadron a more suitable airfield from which to operate Lancaster's  conversion from Wellingtons taking place when the squadron arrived at Faldingworth, on 1st March 1944, from Ingham's grass surface. No.300 was the veteran Polish-manned bomber unit and the first Polish squadron to be formed in Britain.
The first operation by Lancaster's was on 18/19 April 1944, with an attack on the railway junction at Rouen. From June to September 1944 a shortage of Polish aircrew led to B Flight being manned by British and Commonwealth crews from other Lincolnshire-based units.

The Squadron took part in all the major operations of Bomber Command, and Faldingworth formed part of 14 Base (Ludford Magna, Wickenby and Faldingworth) of 1 Group. On 29 January 1945 it was handed over to the Polish Air Force, becoming PAF Station Faldingworth. 300 Squadron's last operation was a Manna supplies drop to the Dutch people (Rotterdam) on 7th May 1945, and it also flew former P.O.W.s back to Britain in Operation exodus.

The last recorded flying by aircraft of the Polish Air Force in Lincolnshire was carried out by 300 Squadron on 26 November 1946. In October 1946, 305 (Polish) Squadron arrived at Faldingworth flying its Mosquito's in from the Continent prior to dispersal  and following the decision to disband all Polish Air Force units serving in Britain was disbanded on 6 January 1947, with 300 Squadron being officially disbanded on 2 January 1947.

photo taken 1948

Although no further use was made of the airfield as an RAF flying station, it was kept in a state of care and maintenance for some years. In the early l95Os its comparatively isolated position in the Lincolnshire countryside saw the airfield selected for development as one of the major stores for nuclear weapons. Underground bunkers were built in western part of the former flying field and surrounded by high fences, with guard towers to afford tight security. For much of the next two decades the main controlling agency was No. 92 Maintenance Unit. In the early 1970s this central store was no longer required by the RAF and the site was eventually taken over by an armaments manufacturer associated with Royal Ordnance. This organisation used Faldingworth for secure armament storage and experimentation until 1996 when this facility was put up for sale. Royal Ordnance still retains part of Faldingworth, security being maintained. In 1999 the main runway remains intact and a single B1 hangar also survives. The major area of the airfield, some 470 acres, was sold for agricultural use in 1998.

To view the airfield today click here 

 

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