At First Sight
At Second Sight
BEF Al Faw Video '05
At First Sight
RAF Oakington was a peacetime built H
Block station with brick built Type A and B hangars, in the occupation of No.
7 Squadron Lancasters of Path Finder Force.
627 Squadron arrived on formation in
November 1943 and occupied dispersal pans in the North West corner and one
wartime built B1 hangar for maintenance. “A” Flight had a fairly protected
area bounded by hedges and trees, while “B” Flight dispersals were at the end
of Runway 100/280, in open country.
I have suspicion that this was due to a
slight seniority as between Flight Sergeants. When 627 Squadron was detached
to 5 Group the dispersals were occupied by 571 Squadron, also Mosquitoes of
LNSF, and 1409 Meteorological Flight from Wyton.
The airfield occupied the entire area of
land between the villages of Oakington with Westwick and Long Stanton All
Saints with Long Stanton St. Michael, villages which had, prior to the
construction of the airfield, been connected by a road, but this was absorbed
into the perimeter track isolating the two communities and causing a long
detour for the Long Stanton residents wishing to go to Cambridge, the nearest
All station buildings, both technical and domestic were on the
Long Stanton side, i.e. North of the runways and the East side of the
airfield was bounded by the railway line running from Cambridge to St. Ives.
After WWII Oakington was transferred to the Army and is currently occupied as
the base of the Royal Highland Fusiliers.
RAF Woodhall Spa, approximately three
miles South of the small Lincolnshire town of that name, was constructed in
1941 as a satellite to RAF Coningsby and was a dispersed airfield with a
number of domestic sites scattered over a fairly wide area ofTattershall
Thorpe, a village south of the actual airfield.
On arrival of 627 Squadron in
April 1944 both air and ground crews occupied a newly completed extension
site (No. 5) on farmland just east of the main Coningsby to Woodhall Road, using
existing messes in a wooded site immediately adjacent to the main road.
were Nissen or brick and corrugated asbestos “temporary” buildings, but a
large portion of No. 1 Domestic site remains extant and is in the process of
rebuilding as a museum of Woodhall Spa.
The Squadron occupied the North West
corner of the airfield with two hangars (a T2 for maintenance and a B1 for
aircraft storage). Aircraft were dispersed three per pan on a total of six
pans, with remaining aircraft on hangar aprons when necessary.
This was done
to keep the Mosquitoes in close proximity, there being a severe shortage of
highly experienced ground crews. Ancillary trades had office and workshops at
rear of the maintenance hangar, making the Squadron almost self-contained.
When, in early 1945 the H2S Training & Development Flight was formed with
extra Mosquitoes and two Lancasters, four extra pans were occupied on the
inside of the perimeter track, but still in the North West corner.
remainder of the airfield was absorbed by 617 Squadron who, at that time
operated modified Lancasters dropping 12,000lb and 22,000lb “Tallboy” and
“Grandslam” bombs. The ex 627 area is currently occupied by Tornado
Propulsion Flight, maintaining Coningsby’s Tornado Engines.
Photo to come
Oakington - 31 January 1944
Although the Squadron was formed in November 1943 it was
not until about the time this photo was taken that all air and ground
crews had been posted in to complete the unit. Even so several people
were on leave and some, known to have formed the Squadron, claimed to
have had 'flu' at the time this was taken, so there are some faces
missing, including that of the writer. The majority of the faces have
been identified but ground crew were normally known to each other by
first names only and records of ground personnel were not retained,
hence large gaps in the list of names.
Back Row L to R: 1. Les Seagrave, 2. Tony Downs, 3. Jack Ratcliffe, 5. Cpl Little, 7. Chapman, 9. Wally Walton, 16 Charlie Cope, 17. Tom Mills, 22. Joe Kingsley,
38. 'Lofty' Parsons
Stan Tyrer, 13. Jack Spinach, 14. Armourer Sgt, 15. Sgt Hirons, 17. Sgt
Porter, 18. F/S Garton, 19. F/O Foxcroft, 20. P/O Wilmott, 21. W/O
22. Sgt Maxwell, 23. F/S Taylor, 24. F/S Dobson, 25. Sgt Corrigan, 26.
Jim Elton, 28. Junior, 29, Jim Wookey, 32. Cpl Flatt, 33. Cpl Ludlow,
34. Cpl Blake
Sitting: 2. F/Lt
Steere DFM, 3. F/O Gale RAAF, 4. F/O Griffiths RCAF, F/O Heath DFM
RAAF, 6. F/O Saint-Smith DFM RAAF, 7. F/O Gribbin DFM, 8.
9. F/Lt Peck DFC, 10, F/O R.F. Davies, 11. F/O Kingham, 12. S/L
Saunderson, 13. S/L Nelles, 14. W/C Elliot DSO DFC, 15. S/L Lockhart
16. F/Lt DeBoos DFC RAAF, 17. F/Lt Levander, 18. F/O Boyle RAAF, 19.
F/O Hickox, 20. W/O Yarema RCAF, 21. F/O Acworth, 22. F/O Hughes,
23. F/O Boothright, 24. F/O Richards, 25. F/O Evans, 26. F/O Grey DFC
Front: 1. F/S McCorkindale, 2. F/S Marshalsay, 3. F/S Upton, 4. F/S Ranshaw, 5. P/O Devigne, 6. F/Lt Clarkson.
Ranks stated were those held at the time photograph was takem
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