RAF Donna Nook History

RAF Donna Nook Range
RAF Donna Nook Crest
© Crown Copyright/MOD 2010
Airfield Code: N/AGoogle Earth Co-ordinates:
53° 28'20.75"N    0° 9'11.45"E
Runways: N/A
Station History

Approximately 10 miles from the market town of Louth, is RAF Donna Nook. Through the village of North Somercotes, the country roads take you out to the coastal bombing range. Although through the months of October-December the range is overcome by hundreds of breeding grey seals and becomes popular with the public. The bombing range, through the noise, has acted as protection since the colony first got established in the 1970’s. Supervision is now in place during the winter months, as the range can be crowded by hundreds of visitors viewing the breeding seals.

From 1927, RAF Donna Nook was initially used as a bombing range and relief landing ground for squadrons at the Armament Practice Camp at RAF North Coates. The bombing range included 7miles of foreshore south of Donna Nook Beacon and out to sea to a range of 8,000 yards. Practice bombing was conducted from altitudes of up to 14,000ft. There were 5 quadrant towers along the shoreline, used to record fall of shot and bombing scores for instant relay back to RAF North Coates Fitties for the returning aircraft.

By the spring of 1940 and with the increase of German air attacks on Britain, a number of decoy airfield sites were established in an attempt to draw enemy aircraft away from operational bases. Donna Nook became one of many decoy sites and a number of wood and fabric dummy aircraft (Bristol Blenheim) were erected at strategic points around the base. This tactic was extremely useful as Donna Nook was attacked on at least one occasion.

Overcrowding at nearby RAF North Coates later led to the site being transferred to RAF Coastal Command to provide an overspill runway. RAF Donna Nook subsequently became home to No.206 Squadron from August 1941-July 1942. From 1942 Donna Nook returned to being used as a relief/emergency landing ground, as there were less enemy air attacks in the area. In 1945 the range was closed as a satellite of North Coates and the 355 acre site is used for agricultural purposes. Although around late the 1940’s it was re-opened by NATO, to be used as a bombing range and is still in regular use today.

Some buildings today still exist and can still be seen amongst the sand dunes. Local cadets can sometimes be seen using the dunes for their training along with practice bombing from Tornado’s and Typhoon’s from nearby RAF bases, along with the occasional visit from USAF aircraft.

Aircraft and Squadrons
1927Range opened.
August 1941No.206 Sqn RAFOperating the Lockheed Hudson. Left Donna in July 1942.
1945 Range closed as satellite airfield.
October 1945No.61 MU RAFThe Maintenance Unit left Donna in December 1947.
1949Range re-opened and is still in use today.