Construction of a Class ‘A’ bomber airfield for 5 Group started early 1943. The usual three concrete runways were longer than the standard design, with the main one at 2,033 yards and subsidiaries at 1,576 yards and 1,470 yards in length.
The technical site was on the south-west side of the airfield and contained the two T2 hangars. The B1 hangar was located off the eastern perimeter track.
The communal and accommodation sites were dispersed behind the technical site, across the B1373 in what is now Woodford Hall Caravan and Leisure Park. The bomb stores were to the north of the airfield towards the A157.
Strubby was ready to receive operational units by April 1944; however, the airfield was surplus to 5 Group’s requirements at the time. It was envisaged the airfield would be needed in the autumn, so in the meantime it was ‘loaned’ to 16 (Reconnaissance) Group, Coastal Command.
The first unit to arrive was 280 Squadron on 1 May 1944 from Thornaby, Teeside, equipped with Warwick air-sea rescue aircraft. They were joined at Stubby on 1 July 1944, by the two Beaufighter-equipped squadrons from Davidstow Moor, Cornwall. The squadrons – 144 Squadron and 404 Squadron RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) formed the Strubby Strike Wing and carried out anti-shipping strikes following the invasion of Europe.
The lifeboat equipped Warwicks of 280 Squadron provided the air-sea rescue element. The Strike Wing was disbanded in September 1944, with 144 Squadron and 404 Squadron departing for Banff, Aberdeenshire and 280 Squadron leaving for Langham, Norfolk.
The airfield was handed back to Bomber Command and the Lancaster of 619 Squadron arrived from Dunholme Lodge 28 September 1944, carrying out their first operation on the 4th of October. The squadron left Skellingthorpe on 1 July 1945. On 7 October 1944 ‘B’ Flight 619 Squadron was teamed with ‘A’ Flight 9 Squadron at Bardney to reform 277 Squadron at that station. They moved to Balderton, Nottinghamshire, in October 1944 and to Strubby on 5 April 1945. The squadron then departed for Gravely, Cambridgeshire on 8th June 1945.
Strubby was retained after the war and used for storing Lancasters prior to their disposal. Following this in 1949, Strubby became a satellite and RLG (Relief Landing Ground) for Manby.
The airfield was sold in 1980 and today supports a variety of civil aviation, both commercial and private. Many original buildings are existent on the technical site, including the watch office which is now a private dwelling. The hangars are used for business and industrial purposes. At the main entrance there is a modest memorial to the airfield.
Map: Strubby Airfield