Lancashire At War.co.uk

Exploring the hidden history of War sites in Lancashire

WW2 Airfields in Lancashire and beyond

This page is an introduction page with links to more in depth pages about each of these sites.

 

 

HMS Ringtail (Burscough)

'HMS Ringtail' (RIGHT) sounds like a code name doesn't it? But that is what the World War Two airfield near Burscough was called. Named after a bird, it was a Navy airfield rather than an RAF one - hence the name. The last airfield to be built in Lancashire during WW2 it followed the Navy blueprint for airfields - which differed significantly from RAF airfields. There are still many buildngs standing but slowly the site is being cleared for development

 

 

 

RAF Burtonwood (Warrington)

RAF Burtonwood, near Warrington is now sadly completely demolished. Until fairly recently some of its huge hangars could be seen from the M62 motorway.  

 

However, if you look carefully there are a few things still visible and there is an excellent museum that documents its history.

 

RAF Burtonwood was built specifically for the Second World War, opening in time for the Battle of Britain before being handed over to the United States when they entered the war. It was: "open the longest and was the last to close. It had the most US personnel, the highest production, the most aircraft, the longest runway and even the most marriages." (Lancashire Airfields in the Second World War by Aldon P.Ferguson). See RIGHT

 

 

 

RAF Heywood - 35MU (Maintenance Unit)

During World War Two (and for for some time after - it closed in 1967) Heywood had a huge RAF site. But this site was mostly civilian - it was a Maintenance Unit and much of what it did was storage and repair.

 

Today it is Heywood Distribution Park, a massive industrial estate. But it gives you an idea of how big the original site was. According to a thread on the Airfield Information Exchange some original buildings still exist, though they have been modified and adapted. One area of the site is still under government ownership - the Department for Work and Pensions, and is known as Heywood Stores. See RIGHT

 

 

Airfields beyond Lancashire......

 

RAF Skipton on Swale, (North Yorkshire)

The sparse remains of the World War Two airbase at Skipton On Swale is still there if you pay attention.

 

It was part of Bomber Command, the airfield opened in August 1942, becoming operational in May 1943, and closing October 1945. It was manned by four bomber squadrons, all Canadian. During their stay around 100 aircraft were lost. Planes based here were at first Hampdens then Wellingtons, later Halifaxes then late in the war, Lancasters.

See RIGHT

 

 

 

RAF Elsham Wolds (North Lincolnshire)

Today it is just off the A15, it was once the largest bomber airfield of 1 Group, Bomber Command. According to Patrick Otter ('Lincolnshire Airfields in the Second World War') it "was once home to two squadrons of Lancaster bombers and the base station in a network of airfields which spread across north Lincolnshire".

 

It was also home to a famous Lancaster, M-Mother (ED888) which between 20th April 1943 and early 1945 had flown a record 140 operations.

 

Operations began in July 1941 and between then and April 1945 over 1000 crew died on operations from this airbase.

All that remains today is the one J-Type Hangar. (see RIGHT)

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