Kirton in Lindsey
It is a common mistake to confuse the current airfield site with the location of the WWI aerodrome – although RFC Kirton in Lindsey was actually three miles north of Manton and was known locally as Manton Aerodrome.
Kirton in Lindsey opened 10 May 1940 as a fighter airfield within 12 Group. The flying field was grass-surfaced with two landing strips of 1,100 yards and 1,000 yards. The technical site was to the north behind three ‘C’ Type hangars. Due to the small size of the airfield it was impossible for the communal and accommodation area to be contained within the camp so these were sited across the road from the main entrance.
The first three units, 65 Squadron and 222 Squadron with Spitfires and 253 with Hurricanes arrived towards the end of May. During and immediately after the Battle of Britain, various fighter squadrons rotated through the airfield. These were day and night fighter units bringing a variety of aircraft types including Spitfires, Hurricanes and Defiants.
As the need for defensive patrols diminished, fighters from the airfield were increasingly employed on offensive sweeps or escort missions. Kirton in Lindsey was home to all three Eagle Squadrons; 71 Squadron, 121 Squadron and 133 Squadron – RAF units manned by American pilots.
The Americans entered WWII in December 1941 and in June 1942, Kirton in Lindsey became USAAF Station 349 (although it was still RAF Kirton in Lindsay), home to the 94th Fighter Squadron, part of the 1st Fighter Group based at Goxhill.
In April 1943, the airfield reverted back to the RAF as a training station with the formation of 53 OTU (Operational Training Unit) which remained there until May 1945. At various times during the war, Nos. 302, 303, 306 307 and 308 Squadrons of the Polish Air Force were stationed here as well.
Kirton in Lindsey was retained by the RAF following the war continuing in various training roles until December 1965, when it was transferred to the Army who moved out in late 2004. In 2005, No.1 Air Control Centre arrived with the site becoming RAF Kirton in Lindsey once more. They relocated to Scampton in 2011 and the site closed.
Although no longer a satellite of RAF Scampton, the facilities remain under their control, including the officers’ mess, gymnasium and married quarters. The site is currently up for disposal.
On Kirton in Lindsey village green is a memorial to the Eagle Squadron with a Northern Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage information board sited nearby.
Map: Kirton in Lindsey