Updated: 7 Dec 12
Opened: late 1916 as Brattleby aerodrome, renamed Scampton in 1917.
Closed: Jan 1920
Reopened: Aug 1936
Reopened: Dec 2000
Closed: still an active RAF station
Airfield code :: SP > SA
ICAO Code :: MWXP > EGXP
Airfield call sign :: LEFTHAND
No 3 Gp :: 1936 - Mar 1938
No 5 Gp :: Mar 1938 - Oct 1944
No 1 Gp :: Oct 1944 -
Squadrons based here:
33 Sqn :: Dec 1916 - Jun 1919 (A Flight)
60 TS :: spring 1917- Jul 1918*
80 TS :: summer 1917 - Jul 1918*
11 TS :: Sep 1917 - Jul 1918*
* formed 34 Training Depot Station :: Jul 1918 - Apr 1919
9 Sqn :: Oct 1936 -
214 Sqn :: Oct 1936 - Apr 1937
148 Sqn :: Jun 1937 -
49 Sqn :: 14 Mar 1938 - 2 Jan 1943
83 Sqn :: Mar 1938 - 1941; 1960 - Aug 1969
8 Sqn ::
57 Sqn :: Oct 1942 - Aug 1943; ??May/Dec 1945 - May 1946
467 Sqn :: 7 Nov 1942 - 24 Nov 1942
617 Sqn :: 16 Mar 1943 - 30 Aug 1943; May 1958 -
1690 BDT Flt :: summer 1944 - Oct 1944
153 Sqn :: Oct 1944 -
1687 (Bomber) Defence Training Flt :: Dec 1944 - Mar 1945
625 Sqn :: 5 Apr 1945 -
100 Sqn :: 3 Dec 1945 - May 1946
Flight :: 11 Apr 1942 - 21 Aug 1942
Bomber Command Instructors' School :: Jan 1947 - 1953
Red Arrows :: Feb 1983 - 1996; ?? - present day
230 OCU :: ?Feb 1949 - ; 1969 - ??
10 Sqn :: 1953 - <=1955
18 Sqn :: 1953 - <=1955
21 Sqn :: 1953 - <=1955
27 Sqn :: 1953 - <=1955; ??Apr 1961 - ; 1973 - ??
35 Sqn :: 1975 -
Central Flying School :: 1984 - ?1995
Home Defence Flight Station Brattleby (also known locally as Brattleby Cliff) opened in late 1916 with reserve sqns as the first residents. In addition to timber administration and barrack huts there were six large wooden hangars. Elements of 33 Sqn RFC defending against the Zeppelin threat arrived shortly afterwards with their FE2b. As the war progressed the site developed into a Royal Flying Corps training aerodrome and was renamed Scampton in 1917, supporting 60 Training Sqn. Two additional TS were to join; 81 TS formed here in the summer of 1917, and 11 TS arrived from then RFC Grantham.
In Jul 1918 the three TS were combined into 34 Training Depot Station. This remained until Apr 1919. The landing ground was returned to its owners in Jan 1920 and within 5 yrs all the buildings, including the hangars, had been removed leaving little trace of the previous use.
As Britain reacted to the growing German threat in the 1930s, an expanding RAF looked first to abandoned landing grounds to site new airfields. The land was compulsory purchased in 1935, construction beginning on brick buildings and 4 Type C hangars.
RAF Scampton reopened in Oct 1936 as a 3 Gp bomber airfield, 9 Sqn and 214 Sqn arriving from Northern Ireland on the Virginia. 214 Sqn converted early in 1937 to Harrow moving shortly therafter to Feltwell. C Flt of 9 Sqn became the reformed 148 Sqn in Jun 1937.
With the Stn passing to 5 Gp in Mar 1938, when the recently Group was given bomber stations in Lincolnshire, 9 Sqn and 148 Sqn moved south to 3 Group's new station at RAF Stradishall, being replaced by 49 Sqn and 83 Sqn. From Mar 1938 the Station was a Hampden base, focusing on mining enemy port sea lanes. From Dec 1941 to Apr 1942 the resident sqns converted to the troubled Manchester, soon casting this aside for the Lancaster from May 1942. 467 Sqn RAAF formed here in Nov 1942.
In Aug 1943, 57 Sqn and 617 Sqn departed to RAF East Kirkby and RAF Coningsby to allow the runways to be upgraded to concrete measuring 2000, 1500 and 1400 yards. 1690 Flt, a fighter affiliation unit, was the first to return to the Station in mid-1944 for bomber defence training, as the Stn passed to 1 Gp. 1 Gp quickly moved in a reformed 153 Sqn with the Lancaster, and 1687 Bomber Defence Training Flight by Dec 1944. 1687 Flt moved to Hemswell in Mar 45 to be replaced by 625 Sqn, at last returning Ssampton to two operation bomber sqn status.
Shortly thereafter, the last WWII offensive bombing sortie took place on 25 Apr 1945 when 153 Sqn and 625 Sqn attacked Hitler's Obersalzberg mountain retreat. Thereafter both Sqns participated in Op MANNA, food drops to the residents of the Netherlands, and EXODUS the repatriation of Prisoners of War from Europe to the UK, up to 4 Jun 1945.
RAF Scampton's total wartime losses were 155 Hampden, 15 Manchester and 95 Lancaster.
Both Sqns were disbanded in the autumn after the war ended. Within the month, 57 Sqn returned and was joined by 100 Sqn in Dec 1945. 57 Sqn converted from Lancaster to Lincoln by May 1946 when both Sqns were transfered to Lindholme.
Scampton then played host to training units, most notably Bomber Command Instructors' School from Jan 1947 to 1953.
Jul 1947 to Apr 1948 saw runway strengthening and other infrastructure work being completed. The post-war lull ended and important activity resumed in Jul 1948 when RAF Scampton was home to 30 B-29 Stratofortresses of 28th and 301st Bomb Groups, US Strategic Air Command, due to its runway length and strength. The B-29 flew in the Berlin airlift. Once SAC departed, 230 OCU arrived for Lincoln conversions.
In 1953 RAF Scampton became a front-line bomber squadrons base again with 10 Sqn, 18 Sqn, 21 Sqn and 27 Sqn all Canberra-equipped. However, these had all departed by Jun 1955 so that Scampton could be rebuilt for heavy jet -powered bomber use. The extended 3000 yard runway required the A-15 to be diverted into the sweeping curve around the end of the airfield.
In May 1958 the Vulcan bomber force began to assemble, 617 Sqn reforming in May 1958, joined in 1960 by 83 Sqn. 230 OCU returned in 1969 and 27 Sqn reformed in 1973. In 1975 35 Sqn returned, 3 Vulcan sqns remaining at Scampton until 1982.
From 1961 to 1968 RAF Scampton was one of the key Vulcan airbases maintaining Britain's readied nuclear deterrent. The Vulcan conventional role was retained until 1982 when Scampton reverted to a training role with the Central Flying School arriving in 1984. RAF Scampton was placed on Care and Maintentance for a period from 1996 until the Red Arrows took up residence again.
Details of museums and memorials to RAF Scampton and the Dambusters can be found on the memorials page.
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