Woodhall Spa Airfield History

RAF Woodhall Spa Airfield
(Map edited to show the airfield and runways between 1940-45)
Bomber Command Crest
© Crown Copyright/MOD 2010
Airfield Code: ALGoogle Earth Co-ordinates:
53°8'6.97"N  0°11'27.00"W
12/30 & 18/36 4200ft x 150ft - 06/24 6000ft x 150ft
Station History

The airfield was located south-east of Woodhall Spa, off the B1192. It was a standard bomber airfield for 5 Group and opened in February 1942. Two T2s and a B1 hangar were provided, and the bomb stores were in woodland to the north. The first unit based at Woodhall Spa was No.97 Squadron which arrived from Coningsby on the 2nd March 1942, equipped with Lancasters. The squadron provided six aircraft for the M.A.N diesel engine factory raid at Augsburg. They remained at the airfield until the 18th April 1943, when they moved to Bourn, Cambridgeshire. Three crews from No.97 Squadron remained at Woodhall Spa forming the nucleus of No.619 Squadron, which came into being on the 18th April 1943.

Having built up to full squadron strength, No.619 Squadron remained until the 9th January 1944, when it moved to Coningsby, exchanging places with No.617 Squadron. Joining No.617 Squadron on the 15th April was No.627 Squadron, a pathfinder unit from Oakington, Cambridgeshire, equipped with Mosquitoes. In November 1944, the squadron joined those from No.9 Squadron, Bardney at Lossiemouth to take part in Operation Catechism, the successful attack on the German battleship, Tirpitz. On the 17th June 1945, No.617 Squadron moved to Waddington, No.627 Squadron was disbanded at Woodhall Spa on the 30th September 1945. The day after, it was renumbered No.109 Squadron, and remained at the airfield until the 19th October 1945, when it moved to Wickenby. Following the departure of No.109 Squadron, flying at the airfield ceased and the site was retained for use as storage. During the 1960s, No.222 Squadron and No.112 Squadron served at Woodhall Spa with Bloodhound surface-to-air missiles.

Today little of the airfield itself remains. A section of the western perimeter track and a T2 hangar were retained and used by Coningsby as an engine facility until 2003. Some buildings exist on the technical site which is now private land. In Woodhall Spa village is a very impressive memorial to No.617 Squadron. The former airfield communal site is now the home to Thorpe Camp Visitor Centre which uses a number of restored buildings as exhibition rooms. Also on-site is a small memorial garden, which commemorates all the Woodhall Spa-based squadrons.

Station Timeline
February 1942RAF Woodhall Spa opens.
March 1942No.97 SqnOperating the Avro Lancaster. Left Woodhall Spa in April 1943.
August 1942No.1660 HCULeft Woodhall Spa in September 1942.
April 1943No.619 SqnOperating the Avro Lancaster. Left Woodhall Spa in January 1944.
January 1944No.617 SqnOperating the Avro Lancaster. Left Woodhall Spa in June 1945.
April 1944No.627 SqnOperating the de Havilland Mosquito. Squadron disbanded in September 1945.
10th December 1945Station put on care and maintenance.
May 1960No.222 SqnOperating the Bloodhound missile units. Squadron disbanded in June 1964.
November 1964No.112 SqnOperating the Bloodhound missile units. Left Woodhall Spa in October 1965.
October 1967RAF Woodhall Spa put on care and maintenance and retained as a satellite to RAF Coningsby.