Unit History: RAF Snaith

RAF Snaith
RAF station Snaith was designed in March 1940 with construction commencing later that year. The northern boundary was formed by the A545 and the southern side by the Great Heok to Pollington Lane. The three intersecting concrete runways measured 1,400 yards for the main and 1,100 yards each for the subsideries although these were extended in the summer of 1941: the main 14-32 to 2,000 yards, 07-23 to 1,400 yards and 09-27 to 1,100 yards. A Type J and two Type T2 hangars were erected on the technical site. The usual 36 pan-type hardstandings were accessible from the encircling perimeter track. The camp, south-east of the flying field, provided for a maximum of 2,016 males and 394 females. The bomb stores, a series of blast mound protected revetments, lay in fields to the west on the opposite side of the airfield from the main technical site and it was here that a disasterous explosion took place on June 19, 1943.
The airfield was first assigned to No. 1 Group and received No. 150 Squadron and its Wellingtons from Newton in July 1941. The squadron participated in Bomber Command main force operations from Snaith until October 1942 when the station was turned over to No. 4 Group and No. 150 Squadron moved out to Kirmington. No. 51 Squadron, having been on loan to Coastal Command at Chivenor, retrained on Halifaxes which it operated from Snaith right up until the end of the war flying 264 raids and losing 148 aircraft. In January 1944, its `C' Flight was used to form No. 578 Squadron which, as was usual procedure, moved into a vacant airfield, Burn, after its first few operations. No. 51 Squadron was transferred to the permanent station at Leconfield a few days after the last No. 4 Group bombing operation took place on April 25, 1945. A total of 205 bombers were lost from Snaith, 57 being Wellingtons of No. 150 Squadron.
In the following weeks little flying took place from Snaith until a Beam Approach Flight arrived with Oxfords in September. By the following spring, the RAF presence was no more than a care and maintenance party and this, in time, was withdrawn. Like many wartime airfields, Snaith languished unused with a little demolition during 1950s but thereafter a more rapid reduction occurred. In the 1970s, the M62 motorway link between the Midlands and the Humber bridge sliced through the northern part of the flying field south of Snaith itself. Nevertheless, at the end of the 20th century much still remains including the MT sheds and the Sergeants' Mess still complete with its brick fireplace.

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