Opened: 1917 as Wellingore Heath
expanded to full airfield during winter 1939/40
Airfield code: JW
Station Identification Code: WC1, earlier known as "L1"
Squadrons based here:
Up to Jun 1940 Wellingore served as a relief landing ground for Cranwell before becoming a satellite to Digby in ?? Base.
29 Sqn :: 8 Jul 1940 - Apr 1941
402 Sqn RCAF :: May 1941 - Jun 1941; 12 Jan 1944 - 29 Apr 1944
412 Sqn RCAF :: Oct 1941 - May 1942
54 Sqn :: 2 Jun 1942 - 19 Jun 1942
154 Sqn :: Sep 1942 - Nov 1942
81 Sqn :: 1 Sep 1942 - 30 Oct 1942
288 Sqn :: Dec 1942 - Jan 1943
2953 Sqn RAuxAF :: Jun 1943 -
613 Sqn :: Apr 1943 - May 1943
349 Sqn :: Aug 1943
416 Sqn RCAF :: 29 May 1943 - 7 Jun 1943; 19 Sep 1943 - 2 Oct 1943
439 Sqn RCAF :: Jan 1944 -
2898 AA Sqn RAuxAF :: 15 Mar 44 -
RAF Wellingore has its origins in a naval landing site for the RNAS during the Great War, then known as Wellingore Heath. Pilots' log books held at Cranwell document a number of forced landings on the Wellingore Heath airfield.
Wellingore was pressed back into service in World War II. Initially, up to Jun 1940, it served as a relief landing ground for Cranwell before becoming a satellite fighter airfield to RAF Digby.
During the winter of 1939-40 a concrete peritrack and 8 hangars gave the airfield some substance. During World Word II a variety of squadrons passed through the camp.
Notable personalities include Wg Cdr Guy Gibson. He lived with his young wife in Navenby village. It was at Wellingore, while flying a Bristol Beaufighter night fighter with 29 Sqn that he shot down his first enemy bomber, a Heinkel-111 off the coast of Skegness on 12 Mar 1941. Gibson spent his wedding night at the Lion and Royal pub in Navenby. His crew clubbed together to buy the couple a whole fresh salmon as a wedding gift. However, their delight changed to surprise when the pub staff prepared it for their supper - cleaned, deboned, battered and served with chips.
439 Sqn RCAF formed here in Jan 1944. However with the air war moving away from the East Cast, Wellingore was once more to be transfered. From 29 Apr 1944 until closure in 1945 Wellingore served as a relief landing ground for nearby RAFC Cranwell.
2953 Squadron RAuxAF formed at Wellingore in June 1943, in the Light Anti-Aircraft role, later moving to Bolt Head and disbanded in October 1943. On 15 Mar 44, 2898 AA Sqn RAuxAF moved to Wellingore.
Post-war the station served as a camp for ex-prisoners of war from Germany and the Ukraine and finally reverted to farmland in the 1950s, being handed back to the Overton family.
Many of the perimeter pill boxes remain. Under the camouflage of trees are the remains of emergency camp facilities later used as a prisoner of war camp.
Wellingore Hall was pressed into service as a mess. Later in the war this was where prisoners of war were held and interrogated, those who had served their usefulness were then transferred to the more open prison camp nearer the airfield. The Hall stills shows the scars of discarded cigarette stubs trodden into the wooden flooring. Both Douglas Bader and Guy Gibson lived here when the younger Magee was billeted in a cottage in the driveway.
The Viking Way long-distance footpath passes immediately to the east of the airfield site along High Dyke (Ermine Street Roman Road) from Wellingore towards Cranwell. If you drive on the minor road from Wellingore to Leadenham along the top of the Lincoln Edge you will pass the former domestic site, part of which is now a picnic area and viewpoint, in the strip wood to the west of the road at Pottergate (SK984566). A public footpath leading from the Pottergate junction (987563) in a south-east direction led to Wellingore airfield. View photographs.
Today the most noticable signs of the former airfield are the many pill boxes along Ermine Street to the East of the site, where there is also a memorial. Flying continues from the site at a grass strip at nearby Griffin's Farm
RAF Wellingore on ControlTower.co.uk
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