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After an original idea by Paul Freeman.
First published 7 Nov 2010. This collection of airfields is © 2010 - 2018 RonaldV
uk

Dunholme Lodge

12-12-2015


1139

53°17'33"N 000°30'14"W


Runway: 04/22 6000ft (2000yds) x 150ft - concrete
Runway: 10/28 4500ft (1500yds) x 150ft - concrete
Runway: 16/34 4200ft (1400yds) x 150ft - concrete

Dunholme Lodge airfield (RAF Dunholm Lodge) was an airfield 200 kilometer north of London.
Initially, it was a grass airfield, first used by the Royal Air Force during 1941 and 1942 as a dispersal for Hampden bomber aircraft from nearby RAF Scampton. A number of pan-type hard standings were put down around the flying field. Although fuelling and arming facilities were available, there are no records of operations being carried out during the 1941/42 period. The only exception was a target-towing flight, which was stationed at the airfield from August to late October 1942.
The airfield was officially opened as a RAF Station in September 1942 as part of RAF Bomber Command with the start of the construction of three hard runways in the standard "A" formation of a wartime Bomber base, although one of the secondary runways would become slightly longer than standard at 1,700 yards. The airfield was named after Dunholme Lodge, a private farm that had been requisitioned by the Air Ministry to become the airfield. There were three hangers, one at the technical site close to Dunholme Lodge (type T2), one just inside the southern perimeter track (type T2) and the third just outside the perimeter track to the south west (type B1).
The base reopened as a 5 Group station when 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron arrived on 31 May 1943 from their comfortable peacetime airfield at RAF Waddington, on a "temporary" basis, while the Waddington runways there were tarmaced.  Without doubt they must have been appalled by the hastily built buildings and Nissen Huts which made up the airfield. As always seemed to happen, the temporary move proved pretty much permanent though and the squadron stayed at Dunholme Lodge. 

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Air Vice Marshal R A Cochrane, Air Officer Commanding No. 5 Group, sat at his desk at Dunholme Lodge, Lincolnshire (© IWM (CH 11946)).

The airfield was briefly shared with 49 Squadron in September and October 1943. They were joined on 17 April 1944 by 619 Squadron from RAF Coningsby in April 1944. Both remained at the base until the end of Septermber 1944 when the airfield was transferred to 1 Group and both squadrons moved to RAF Spilsby. 

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Lancaster I R5729/KM-A of No 44 Squadron at Dunholme Lodge, Lincolnshire, before setting out for Berlin on 2 January 1944 (© IWM (CH 11929))

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Avro Lancaster B Mark I, R5729 'KM-A', of No 44 Squadron, Royal Air Force runs up its engines in a dispersal at Dunholme Lodge, Lincolnshire, before setting out on a night raid to Berlin. This veteran aircraft had taken part in more than 70 operations with the Squadron since joining it in 1942. It was finally shot down with the loss of its entire crew during a raid on Brunswick on the night of 14-15 January 1944 (© IWM (CH 11927)).

The following month 170 Squadron, recently re-formed as a Lancaster squadron at Kelstern, took up station but its stay was little more than a month (from October to November 1944) before it was moved to Hemswell and the station was then put on "care & maintenance" in early 1945. Officially as it was too close to other bases for active use despite being in constant use for the previous two years. This may have been true however, as the airfield was then used mostly for daylight traffic, namely the reception, storage and delivery of Hamilcar gliders.
At its height RAF Dunholme Lodge had housed 2,000 staff and 60 Lancasters and had been one of the most important bases in Bomber County, Lincolnshire. By the end of the war, around 120 of the aircraft that flew from Dunholme Lodge had been lost. 

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RAF Dunholme Lodge after it was closed in early 1945, as can be seen from the X-marks on the runways ('Every RAF Bomber Command base in England mapped', in The Telegraph). 
 
After the end of WWII, the airfield was used occasionally for motor-cycle racing on a 3.7 mile circuit. On the 9th October 1948, during a motor-cycle meet, a race for 500cc cars (the prospective Formula 3) was held over 8 laps, the race being won by Stirling Moss at an average speed of 78.56 mph.
 
From April 1959 the station was reopened as an RAF base and 141 Squadron moved in with Bristol Bloodhound Mk. I SAM Missiles to protect the Thor ICBM sites in the center of Great Britain. The station was closed again in March 1964, this time permanently. 

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Part of a ca. 1975 map showing the location of Firing Unit 5 of 141 Squadron, as well as some of the former airfield infrastructure, which appearantly was still more or less intact. recognisable are aircraft parkings, taxitracks and part of the 10/28 runway (airfieldinformationexchange).

Almost all of the airfield has since reverted to farmland. By the 1990s most of its concrete and buildings had disappeared. The Bl hangar still survived for commercial storage in 2002. A memorial plaque to No. 44 Squadron is to be found in Dunholme church.
The William Farr School is built on one of Dunholme Lodge's domestic sites. The school library holds a range of material relating to RAF Dunholme Lodge, including photographs of Polish Air Force and Polish Resettlement Corps personnel.

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Breaking up of the airfield after it was finally put up for disposal (William Farr School library museum, via Lincolnshire Echo).




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