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Lancashire At

Exploring the hidden history of War sites in Lancashire

RAF Skipton on Swale

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


I discovered this site by accident while travelling past and recognised the WW2 buildings. On returning home I found out I missed many other buildings - but these can be seen on other people's pages - see the links below.


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.

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Some recommended links for further information:


Forgotten Airfields site


Control Towers page

Skipton on swale GE

Right: An aerial view courtesy of Google Earth


Left: This contemporary photo of the camp shows the same type of buildings


Right: for a detailed account of operations, planes and the history of the site we would recommend 'Yorkshire Airfields in the Second World War' by Patrick Otter.

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On a second visit we spotted this other building and its adjacent military road leading to other, now demolished, buildings that are still visible on Google Earth.

According to

Skipton-on-Swale Airfield , Yorkshire, SE 378 812.

"A former World War Two military airfield, opened in 1942 and closed in 1945. The airfield consisted of three tarmac runways with an unusual layout of hardstandings and dispersals on the west side because of the proximity of the River Swale. The main technical site was on the north-east side. The technical site features two aircraft hangars, one each of Type T2 and Type B1 designs. There was a further aircraft hangar (type T2) on the opposite side of the airfield. There was dispersed temporary accommodation for personnel. It was an operational bomber station, used by Number 420, 432, 433 and 424 Squadrons of the Royal Canadian Air Force. By the 1950s the site returned to agricultural uses. Parts of the main runways remain intact in use as bases for poultry houses".

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