Wartime airfields project takes flight

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“BOMBER County” is being put on the map once more with the launch of a project celebrating eight former RAF airfields in northern Lincolnshire.

The airfields played a significant role in the Second World War as the launch pad for raids on Germany, although little now remains.

New leaflets have been produced and interpretation boards set up at the sites, recalling a time when Lancasters and Spitfires were a common sight over the Lincolnshire skyline.

The eight include RAF Kirton in Lindsey – home to three of the famous Eagle Squadrons, made up of Americans who risked being stripped of their US citizenship to fight, before the US’s formal entry in the war in December 1941.

RAF Kirmington – now better known as Humberside International Airport – opened in 1942 and as home of 166 Squadron took part in many of the raids that became known as the Battle of the Ruhr.

Meanwhile it was a Lancaster from 550 Squadron based at RAF North Killingholme, which dropped the first bomb of the campaign on D-Day, June 6 1944, earning a Croix de Guerre from the French authorities.

Project Manager for the Northern Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Project Kayleigh Michael said: “Northern Lincolnshire has a remarkable and varied aviation heritage. The project brings together our eight World War Two airfields and tells their stories in a new light, celebrating their achievements and memories.”

Elsham Wolds Memorial Rooms will be open to visitors on Friday May 18 between 6pm and 8.30pm and a special event takes place at Kirton in Lindsey Town Hall on Saturday May 19 between 6pm and 10pm to commemorate Kirton and Hibaldstow airfields, including a 1940s fashion show.

North Lincolnshire Council is also keen to hear from anyone who worked at or remembers the airfields and would be willing to record an oral history.

For more information call 01724 297536.