|RAF Donna Nook|
Opened as range and relief landing ground: 1927
Converted to Q/K Decoy site: Jun 1940
Converted to operational airfield: Feb 1941
Airfield code :: ZN
ICAO Code: EGXX / EGXS
Squadrons based here:
206 Sqn :: 1 Aug 1941 - Jul 1942
61 MU :: Oct 1945 - Dec 1947
Initially Donna Nook was used as a bombing range and relief landing ground for squadrons at Armament Practice Camp at North Coates from 1927. The bombing range included 7 1/2 miles of foreshore south of Donna Nook Beacon and out to sea to a range of 8000 yards. Large proportions of this were exposed sand and mud flats at low tide and used for bombing and gunnery targets. Practice bombing was conducted from altitudes of up to 14 000 ft. There were 5 quadrant towers along the shoreline, used to record fall of shot and bombing scores for instant relay back to North Coates Fitties for the returning aircraft.
In the early stages of the Second World War Donna Nook was built as a bombing decoy airfield for RAF North Coates airfield. It operated as a K site decoy to deflect enemy day bombing. The site was equipped with dummy Blenheim aircraft. It operated as a K site from Jun 1940 to Feb 1941, and also operated as a Q site night time decoy in Jun 1940. Overcrowding at nearby RAF North Coates led to the site being transfered to Coastal Command and converted into a genuine satelite airfield to provide an overspill runway in Jan 1941. After the conversion, Donna Nook had its own bombing decoy at Marsh Chapel.
RAF Donna Nook became home to 206 Sqn for a year from Aug 1941. From Jul 1942 there were no resident formations and it served as a relief landing ground or diversion for North Coates. Donna Nook airfield subsequently closed in 1945 but remained an RAF unit with 61 MU taking residence from Oct 1945 to Dec 1947. It reopened as a NATO bombing range in 1949 and is still in regular use. It had also served as a prisoner of war camp. It is now known as the Donna Nook / East Coast bombing range.
RAF Donna Nook was the first National Nature Reserve on Ministry of Defence land in the UK, formally opened in Jul 2002 :: click here.
A few buildings and a section of perimeter track / runway are all that survive of the former RAF Donna Nook. The name lives on in the "new" RAF Donna Nook which uses the adjacent sandflats as a NATO air weapons range.
Contact Donna Nook on 01507 358716
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