Military History Tours On Tour - RAAF in the UK 7 July 2011
A very windy day greeted us as we left the hotel for what was to be a very memorable day. Leaving York we headed south west to Breighton Airfield. This is now an industrial site but parts of the runways are still there and in fact one of the runways is still used by light aircraft. The father of Tony Todd served here during the war in a specialised role that had him moving around quite a bit and Breighton was only one of the airfields that he operated from.
We then moved on to Holme on Spalding Moor where 458 Squadron operated flying Hastings. 76 Squadron under Cheshire VC also operated from here. At one time there were 10,000 working from this base. There are 2 memorials at the old airfield, a business park now, and we conducted a small service in the memory of those lost when flying from this airfield.
Following the service we were able to visit a special photographic display that Joe Rotherham, the owner of the site, has collected from the old site and restored onto a display wall in his showrooms. This display has been so well done and it is Joe's way of keeping the memories of those who were lost, flying from the site of his now business, alive and remembered. It is a site not to be missed on this special tour.
From a very memorable and moving visit we headed further east to Driffield, another airfield where Tony's father had operated. This site is now an Army training centre but we were able to view the airfield and a number of the hangers that are still there. The administrative headquarters building is also still in use.
We completed our visit and headed south towards Lincoln towards Binbrook. But first, we called into Beverley, a town just before the River Humber were we stopped for lunch. A very nice town with quaint shopping area that is now a mall through the old town.
Binbrook after lunch. Binbrook was the home of the famous 460 Squadron. The squadron is thought to have been the most efficient of the Australian bomber squadrons. It maintained consistently higher serviceability rates amongst its aircraft, set operational records within Bomber Command, flew the most bombing raids of any Australian squadron and was credited with the most tonnage of bombs dropped, 24,856 tons. "G" for George located in Canberra was a 460 Squadron plane.
The squadron, however, suffered heavily with 181 planes lost and 1,018 fatalities of which 589 were Australians, the highest of any Australian unit in the War.
Some of the more substantial buildings are still standing as part of an industrial park. The Nissan huts that were used for the briefings etc are still there as is the operations room. On the airfield is one memorial and in the town another where we stopped to hold a small service.
Prior to arriving in Lincoln, ewe visited Scampton, the airfield rom where the Dambusters took off on that famous raid. Still an active airfield but a lot of the old barracks and the Officers Mess are boarded up due to the presence of asbestos.
We arrived at our hotel and prepared for dinner at the Pride of Lincoln.