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Royal Air Force Skellingthorpe
Active 1941–1952
Country United Kingdom
Type Flying station
Role Bomber Station
Part of RAF Bomber Command
Garrison/HQ Lincoln, England
Royal Air Force Ensign Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg
Equipment Handley Page Hampden, Avro Manchester, Avro Lancaster

The former Royal Air Force Station Skellingthorpe, more commonly known as RAF Skellingthorpe was a station of the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. It was located in the city of Lincoln, England. It was known as "Skelly" by the RAF personnel serving there.

Second World War[edit]

The RAF Bomber Command Station, RAF Skellingthorpe, opened in 1941 on a field previously called Black Moor, approximately 2 12 miles (4 km) south-east from the village of Skellingthorpe.

The airfield consisted of the standard pattern of three runways, with one Type B1 and two Type T2 hangars. Nissen huts were used for accommodation.

No. 50 Squadron RAF, equipped with Hampdens, was the first squadron based at Skellingthorpe, with the first detachment of personnel arriving shortly before the runways were complete. They were followed by No. 455 Squadron RAAF (also flying Hampdens), however this squadron moved to RAF Wigsley shortly afterwards.

The 50 Squadron Hampdens were replaced with Avro Manchesters in April 1942, then, in June 1942, Skellingthorpe was closed for runway extensions to cope with the Squadron's conversion to new Avro Lancaster aircraft.

In November 1943 a further bomber squadron, No. 61 Squadron RAF operating Avro Lancasters, arrived at Skellingthorpe, and remained until February 1944 after which it transferred to RAF Coningsby in order for accommodation to be built on the Doddington Road side of Skellingthorpe airfield.

The 463 Squadron moved to RAF Skellingthorpe on 3 July 1945 with Lancaster Mks I and III from RAF Waddington.

During the war the tally of bombers lost or failed to return from Skellingthorpe reached 208: 15 Hampdens, six Manchesters and 187 Lancasters. In 1981, former Chief of the Air Staff, Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Michael Beetham, who had flow Lancasters from Skellingthorpe during the war, unveiled a memorial on the site to commemorate the 1,984 men killed flying from the airfield during the Second World War.[1]

Postwar usage[edit]

After the end of the Second World War, RAF Skellingthorpe was the base for No. 58 Maintenance Unit RAF, with salvaged crashed aircraft stored at the base. The Birchwood Estate was built on the airfield in the 1970s, and the A46 Lincoln Bypass was built on it in 1986.

Today that site is known as Birchwood. The local public house, The Black Swan, was named after the R/T call[further explanation needed] sign of the airfield.

Exhibition and museum[edit]

A Heritage Room at the Community Centre in Skellingthorpe holds a public exhibition of photographs showing the history of RAF Skellingthorpe and Squadrons based there, and is part of the North Kesteven Airfield Trail.

A small public museum, part of Birchwood Community Centre in Lincoln, commemorates Nos. 50 and 61 Squadrons. Included in the museum is squadron aircraft memorabilia, photographs and records. The 50 and 61 Squadron Books of Remembrance are also held there.


  1. ^ "Marshal of the RAF Sir Michael Beetham - obituary". Telegraph. Retrieved 28 October 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°12′50″N 0°36′11″W / 53.214°N 0.603°W / 53.214; -0.603

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Skellingthorpe — Please support Wikipedia.
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11 news items


Wed, 03 Jul 2013 07:45:02 -0700

Mrs Rumsey first made the journey to Runnymede at the age of 16 and has returned regularly ever since. ED470, from 61 Squadron, had set off for its last mission at 7.20pm on September 23, 1944 from its base at RAF Skellingthorpe, near Lincoln. It was ...

The Guardian

The Guardian
Thu, 30 Jul 2015 06:41:15 -0700

International Bomber Command Centre has already sent out 900 invites, and organisers believe there are at least 1,400 veterans still alive across the world. Avro Lancaster heavy bombers at RAF Skellingthorpe, Lincoln, in 1942. Facebook Twitter Pinterest.

Grimsby Telegraph

Grimsby Telegraph
Sat, 25 Jul 2015 02:11:15 -0700

The memorial centre on Canwick Hill in Lincoln lies only a few miles from the site of RAF Skellingthorpe and no doubt James' thoughts will turn to his time there, the friends he knew and a the friends he lost, when the official opening takes place on ...

Lincolnshire Echo

Lincolnshire Echo
Thu, 30 Jul 2015 22:37:30 -0700

HIs 61 Squadron , Lancaster bomber took off from RAF Skellingthorpe but was shot in down France while on a bombing mission to Munich . Sergeant Jones who joined up in 1939 aged 19 was one of among those killed. Despite Nazi occupation, villagers ...

Lincolnshire Echo

Lincolnshire Echo
Thu, 01 Oct 2015 22:02:35 -0700

Among the hundreds to attend the event this week will be Lincolnshire's James Flowers, a rear gunner with 50 Squadron at RAF Skellingthorpe near Lincoln. "We were so raw we could have got the chop and been shot down at any time," he said in a recent ...

Ipswich Star

Ipswich Star
Mon, 12 Oct 2015 01:02:49 -0700

Mr Catling, who flew in and out of RAF Skellingthorpe with the 50 Squadron, was given a special invite to the event in Lincoln. The Lincolnshire Bomber Command Memorial Trust, in partnership with the University of Lincoln, aims to open the Centre in 2016.

Lincolnshire Echo

Lincolnshire Echo
Sat, 07 Feb 2015 23:07:10 -0800

Kevin Bending is the official historian of 97 Squadron, which lost a four-man Lancaster bomber crew in a crash when taking off from RAF Coningsby in July 1945, weeks after Hitler fell. British forces were getting ready for a prolonged battle in Japan ...

Lincolnshire Echo

Lincolnshire Echo
Tue, 02 Dec 2014 23:18:45 -0800

This occupied much of the area now forming the Birchwood and Doddington Park housing estates. RAF Skellingthorpe became a fully-operational bomber airfield, which accommodated No50 Squadron and No61 Squadron. The base was a cosmopolitan one ...

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