Unit History: RAF Skipton on Swale

RAF Skipton on Swale
RAF Skipton on Swale is based four miles west of Thirsk, North Yorkshire and was one of the closely-packed bomber stations in the Vale of York.  It was a Royal Air Force air station operated by RAF Bomber Command during World War Two and was a substation of RAF Leeming.  Its site catered for 1,924 males and 166 females when it was opened in August 1942, then becoming operational in May 1943.
After VE day the RAF maintained a housekeeper unit at the airfield for a few months under a Maintenance Unit, there was no further use for the base and by the `fifties it was returned to agriculture

RAF Skipton on Swale during WW2


Originally RAF Skipton on Swale was for No.4 Group but, earmarked for No.6, the station received No.420 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and its Wellington bombers. These were transferred from No. 1 Group at Weddington in preparation for joining the planned RCAF group. RCAF squadrons stationed here included 424 Squadron, recently returned from North Africa to re-equip with Halifax’s. Officially born at RAF Skipton on Swale, on May Day 1943 No. 432 Squadron started operations with Wellingtons on the night on the 23rd May. Squadron No. 432 later moved to RAF East Moor in September 1943. No. 433 Squadron came into being in late September 1943 to fly Halifax’s. Both squadrons flew the Halifax bomber until replaced by the Lancaster in January 1945.

Nos. 424 and 433 Squadrons were disbanded in October 1945 and in November 1946 No. 300 Polish Bomber Squadron moved in and disbanded here on 2 January 1947.

Following VE-Day, both squadrons remained in Bomber Command until disbanded in mid-October 1945.

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