RAF Barkston Heath History
© Crown Copyright/MOD 2010
Google Earth Co-ordinates:
52°57'37.26"N 0° 0°33'35.86"W
01/19 & 11/29 = 4200ft x 150ft
07/25 = 6000ft x 150ft
06/24 = 6007ft x 150ft
11/29 = 4206ft x 150ft
18/36 = 2657ft x 75ft
Barkston Heath airfield is located west of, and adjacent to, the B6043 just over one south of its junction with the A153. The airfield started life in 1936 as a grass surfaced satellite landing ground for the RAF College at Cranwell, approximately six miles to the north. When WWII broke out, the site continued to be used for training and other facilities were added, including four blister hangars. The airfield was selected as suitable for development to Class 'A' standard in 1941.
Construction to upgrade Barkston Heath as a bomber airfield began in the summer of 1943, with the provision of three concrete runways of the standard lengths. A perimeter track connected the runway heads and 50 aircraft dispersals. The airfield ultimately had seven hangars, one B1 and six T2s, four of which were erected in early 1944 and were sited across the B6043 and linked to the perimeter track by a loop system. The technical site was to the south and communal & accommodation sites were dispersed to the south. The bomb stores were located off the western perimeter track.
The airfield was allocated to 5 Group, and was parented by Swinderby, which was the base station for a group of airfields tasked with the training of bomber crews. A change of ownership occurred in January 1944, when the airfield was reopened as Station 483, part of the Ninth Air Force. In February, the 61st TCG equipped with the Douglas C-47, arrived to prepare for the D-Day landings in June 1944. Following this, aircraft from Barkston Heath participated in Operation Market Garden, the ill-fated Allied assault on the Rhine Bridges at Arnham, Holland, between 17-25th September 1944. The 61st TCG left Barkston Heath on 13th March 1945. Later that month the 349th TCG arrived from Indiana with their C-46 Commando transport aircraft but they were to stay only three weeks, before moving to France on 18th April.
Following the end of the war, Barkston Heath was retained by the RAF and today, it remains an operational station involved with aircrew training on the Grob Tutor.
|1939||Station opened as a satellite landing ground for use by training aircraft.|
|1943||Flying ceased for concrete runways to be laid. Re-opened in January 1944.|
|January 1944||Station changed hands to the USAF - Station 483.|
|February 1944||14th TC Sqn USAF||Operating the Douglas C-47 Skytrain and Airspeed Horsa. Left Barkston in March 1945.|
|February 1944||15th TC Sqn USAF||Operating the Douglas C-47 Skytrain and Airspeed Horsa. Left Barkston in March 1945.|
|February 1944||53rd TC Sqn USAF||Operating the Douglas C-47 Skytrain and Airspeed Horsa. Left Barkston in March 1945.|
|February 1944||59th TC Sqn USAF||Operating the Douglas C-47 Skytrain and Airspeed Horsa. Left Barkston in March 1945.|
|June 1945||Station returned to RAF control.|
|June 1945||256 MU RAF||Maintenance Unit move in to clear the surplus from WWII.|
|September 1945||2 Regt RAF||RAF Regiment move in to use the airfield for training. Left Barkston in July 1946.|
|May 1948||Station became satellite landing ground again for RAF Cranwell. Still acting in this role.|
|November 1948||Station put on care and maintenance.|
|July 1966||Station manning was reduced and confined to refuelling and air traffic services.|
|1983||No.25 Sqn RAF||Operating the Bloodhound surface-to-air guided missile unit. Left Barkston in July 1989.|
|2002||BBMF||Based at here while RAF Coningsby had it’s runways resurfaced. Left Barkston in 2004.|