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  RAF East Kirkby

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Updated: 12 Feb 12

Opened: 20 Aug 1943

Care and Maintenance: Nov 1945

Reopened: Aug 1954

Closed: 1958, sold in 1970

Airfield code :: ET, XK > EK

ICAO Code :: MWYB

Airfield call sign :: SILKSHEEN

Squadrons based here:

57 Sqn :: 28 Aug 1943 - Nov 1945

630 Sqn :: Nov 1943 - Jul 1945

460 Sqn RAAF :: Jul 1945 - Oct 1945

3917 Sqn USAF :: Aug 1954 - 1958

East Kirkby originally functioned as a decoy airfield. Its wooden Whitley bombers were targeted on several occasions. According to ControlTowers.co.uk East Kirkby in turn had its own decoy airfield at Sibsey, 7 miles south.

Construction of the airfield began in 1942 and the station was operational by Aug 1943. Lancaster-equipped, 57 Squadron arrived within a week.

630 Sqn formed here from B Flt of 57 Sqn in Nov 1943 and stayed for the duration of the war, flying the last operational sortie from the station, on 25 Apr 1945.

East Kirkby's worst night of aircraft losses was 21 Jun 1944 when 11 aircraft were lost in a single attack.

In Apr 1945, a Lancaster caught fire while being bombed up, resulting in a huge explosion which set off further bombs. 4 people were killed, 6 Lancaster totally destroyed, and a further 14 damaged.

460 Sqn disbanded here in Oct 1945 after a brief stay. The station went into care and maintenance the following month but was retained for trials use.

In 1954 RAF East Kirkby reopened to serve both RAF and USAF units staging operations in the Far East from here. USAF Dakotas of 3917 Air Base Sqn of 7 Strategic Air Command Air Division were based here until closure in 1958.

The Ministry of Defence finally disposed of the site in 1970. In recent years due to the work of Fred and Harold Panton, RAF East Kirkby is now home to the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre.

 

location of RAF East Kirkbyin relation to Lincolnshire - click here for full-size map showing all station locations

RAF East Kirkby photos

RAF East Kirkby memorials

Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre

History of 460 Sqn

RAF East Kirkby memories on the Wartime Memories Project

RAF East Kirkby on ControlTowers.co.uk

Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire
(Tourism)

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