Unit History: RAF Hemswell
RAF Hemswell was an airfield used by RAF Bomber Command for 35 years. It was located close to the village of Hemswell in Lincolnshire, England.
The first airfield on the site was opened in 1916 by the Royal Flying Corps and called Harpswell after the village of that name across the A631. During World War I it was used as a night landing ground and several training squadrons were established there. After the war it returned to farmland.
A new airbase, now called Hemswell, was opened on New Year’s Eve 1936 to accommodate the rapidly expanding Bomber Command. During the war years various squadrons were based at Hemswell and it continued in flying use by bombers until 1956. From December 1959 until May 1963 the base became the main headquarters of the 5 Lincolnshire Thor missile sites, and three American intermediate range ballistic missiles were based there. In 1964 it was designated as an operational conversion unit for the new TSR.2 aircraft, but when that was cancelled in 1965 it sealed the fate of Hemswell, which closed in 1967.
In 1972 the station became Hemswell Uganda Asian Resettlement Camp when it received asians expelled from Uganda by president Idi Amin.
Hemswell was used for much of the filming of the 1954 movie The Dambusters.
After Hemswell closed the site was eventually redeveloped into a private trading estate and residential area and became what is now the new civil parish of Hemswell Cliff.
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