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  RAF Bottesford
US Army Air Force Station No 481

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> RAF Bases

Interactive map
Full list of locations

Alma Park
Anwick
Bardney
Barkston Heath
Belton Park
Binbrook
Blankney Hall
Blyton
Boston Wyberton Fen
Bottesford
Bracebridge Heath
Braceby
Buckminster
Bucknall
Caistor
Cockthorne
Coleby Grange
Coningsby
Cranwell
Cuxwold
Digby
Donna Nook
Dunholme Lodge
East Halton
East Kirkby
Elsham Wolds
Faldingworth
Fiskerton
Folkingham
Freiston
Fulbeck
Gosberton
Goxhill
Grantham
Greenland Top
Grimsby
Grimsthorpe Park
Harlaxton
Hemswell
Hibaldstow
Holbeach
Humberston
Immingham
Ingham
Ingoldmels
Kelstern
Killingholme
Kirmington
Kirton in Lindsey
Langtoft
Leadenham
Lincoln West Common
Ludford Magna
Manby
Market Deeping
Market Stainton
Mere
Metheringham
Moorby
Morton Hall
New Holland
Nocton Hall
Normanby
North Coates
North Killingholme
North Witham
Norton Disney
Orby
Rauceby
Saltby
Sandtoft
Scampton
Skegness
Skellingthorpe
Skendleby
South Carlton
South Elkington
South Witham
Spilsby
Spitalgate
Stenigot
Strubby
Sturgate
Sutton Bridge
Swinderby
Swinstead
Theddlethorpe
Tydd St Mary
Waddington
Wainfleet
Waltham (Grimsby)
Wellingore
Wickenby
Wigsley
Winterton
Woodhall Spa

Updated: 5 Dec 12

Opened: Sep 1941

Closed: 1945

Squadrons based here:

207 Sqn :: Nov 1941 - Sep 1942

90 Sqn :: ?Oct - Dec 1942

467 Sqn RAAF :: 24 Nov 1942 - 12 Nov 1943

50th Troop Carrier Wing 9th USAAF :: 18 Nov 1943 -

436 Troop Carrier Gp USAAF :: Jan 1944 - Mar 1944

440th Troop Carrier Gp USAAF :: 11 Mar 1944 - Apr 1944

1668 HCU :: 28 Jul 1944 -

207 Conversion Flight :: 1 Jan 1942 (formed) - 23 Aug 1942
merged into 1660 HCU on 7 Oct 1942

256 MU :: 18 Sep 1945 (parented by Barkston Heath)

Airfield code :: BT > AQ

ICAO Code ::

Airfield call sign :: RINGOUT, FLOWERBED (1 Nov 1943)

Bottesford airfield was constructed by George Wimpey & Co with ground broken in Nov 1940. It was one of the first in the region to be built with concrete runways from the outset. The main runway was built to 1700 yards but extended to 1933 yardsprior to the airfield being completed. In addition, 36 pan hardstandings were built. Five dispersals were lost when the hangars were erected. The main technical site was situated on the northeast side and dispersed domestic sites in fields towards the A1 trunk road. A Type T2 hangar was located on the technical site and another on the south-west corner of the airfield. A B1 hanger was later added for Ministry of Aircraft Production engineers was with an access strip to the perimeter track. The dispersed sites included 11 domestic, two communal and a sick quarters accommodating a maximum complement of 2373 male and 462 female staff and lay to the north of the airfield.

Bottesford site straddles Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire county boundaries.

RAF Bottesford became became operational in Nov 1941 under 5 Group with the arrival of 207 Sqn from Waddington. 207 re-equipped to the Lancaster and moved to RAF Langar in nearby Sep 1942 while Bottesford was further extended. In Nov 1942, 90 Sqn was re-formed at Bottesford to fly Stirling and departed the following month. 467 Sqn RAAF arrived the same month and began operations on 2/3 Jan 1943. In relocated to RAF Waddington in Nov 1943 as Bottesford had been allocated to the USAAF's IX Troop Carrier Command for forthcoming operations in Europe.

The USAAF presence arrived in Nov 1943 from RAF Cottesmore. 436th Troop Carrier Group arrived in Jan 1944. Bottesford was one of the cluster of 12 airfields around Grantham that were allocated for US Troop Carrier Command use in August 1943. 50th Troop Carrier Wing Headquarters on arrived on 15 Nov 1943. It was then opened as a reception base for Douglas C-47/C-53 Skytrain groups that were scheduled to fly in from the United States. It was known as USAAF Station AAF-481 and given USAAF Station Code AQ. In advance preparation for the cross-channel assault, two further T2 hangars were erected in 1943 to protect Horsa gliders. Bottesford hosted over 50 of these wood and canvas craft. 56 C-47 Dakota aircraft of the 436th Troop Carrier Group arrived in January 1944 and moved on in March to be replaced by the 440th TCG, which followed south in April for Op OVERLORD. Bottesford was then used for glider repair and modification.

Bottesford reverted to 5 Group Bomber Command in July 1944 from the USAAF, 1668 HCU arriving with Lancaster. Some specialist flights joined later with a variety of aircraft types. In Nov 1944 1668 HCU was re-assigned to No 7 Training Group and Bottesford remained a Lancaster training station until the late summer of 1945. March 1945 saw Bottesford as the victim of the final German air raid on the UK, with a Lancaster and some crockery in the mess suffering damage. On 17 Sep 45 1668 HCU moved to Cottesmore with flying almost ceasing at Bottesford. Hangars were used for storage by the Air Ministry and Bottesford became a sub-site of 256 Maintenance Unit based at Barkston Heath, responsible for the storage and disposal of surplus equipment. Although held at limited readiness until 1948 the airfield was returned to agricultural use by 1948.

Although RAF Bottesford officially closed in 1948 its hardstandings continued to served as a store for some of the millions of tonnes of wartime ammunition stockpiles awaiting disposal. Hundreds of bombs were stacked along the runways, behind the B1 hangar across the Normanton road and on the grass verges beside it. When the bomb dump was finally cleared in the 1960s the pyrotechnics remaining gave local children a firework display they would remember for years to come.

Mr John Rose who operated a warehousing company in the hangars from 1954 subsequently purchased most of the airfield in 1962. The Roseland Group Ltd continues to operate from the site and uses the restored control tower as the company's office. The Roseland Group, which owns the site, have restored the Control Tower for office use. RAF Bottesford is now called Normanton Airfield.

The technical site buildings are operated as an industrial facility known as Roseland Business Park, with tenants including Gardner Douglas Sports Cars manufacturing, Babcock, concrete manufacture and forestry services. are stored on the former runways, all of which still exist with just a small amount of concrete (mostly dispersal loops) being removed for hardcore.
The perimeter track and two T-2 hangars still exist, being used for unknown purposes, although the condition of the perimeter track is very deteriorated. The former airfield control tower has been restored and used as offices.

RAF Bomber Command operational losses sustained by the units based at Bottesford amounted to three Manchesters and 55 Lancasters, a total of 58.

There is a memorial to 207 Sqn in the church of St Mary the Virgin, Bottesford.

Bottesford was protected by three Q site decoy airfields at Belvoir, Foston and Tithby (Nottinghamshire).

The Viking Way long-distance footpath passes 1 km to the east of the former domestic site at Bottesford.

View photographs of modern-day Bottesford in the photo section.

Dr Vincent Holyoak wrote a history of RAF Bottesford in 1995 which drew heavily on the oral history of service personnel at the airfield. Although the 140+ page book is no longer in print, it is available to read online in its entirety on the Bottesford Living History site.

Google aerial photo

Aerial photo, Apr 1944

RAF Bottesford books

RAF Bottesford photos

467 Sqn RAAF Website

The US Air Forces in Lincolnshire

RAF Bottesford page on Royal Air Force website

Buy the local map:
click to buy on Amazon.co.uk1:25 000 (detail)
click to buy on Amazon.co.uk1:50 000 (area)

> USAAF Station Numbers

345 - Goxhill
349 - Kirton in Lindsey
428 - Coleby Grange
479 - North Witham
481 - Bottesford
483 - Barkston Heath
484 - Folkingham
488 - Fulbeck

 

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