Unit History: RAF Bourn

RAF Bourn
This site was acquired in 1940 as a satellite for Oakington under No. 3 Group. Six miles west of Cambridge, it borders the south side of the old A45 to St Neots. Some four hundred acres of farmland between Bourn Grange in the south, Great Common Farm in the west and Highfield Farm in the east were eventually taken over for the airfield which was not completed until the winter of 1941-42 although it is reported to have been used by Oakington during the summer of 1941.
In the spring of 1942 work was carried out to lengthen the main runway to 1,960 yards with the O1-19 going to 1,600 yards and the 13-31 to 1,400 yards, the main 07-25 being extended at both ends while O1-19 only at the O1 end. When this work was completed only 27 of the original pan standings remained so nine of the loop type were added.
In February 1942, No. 101 Squadron with its Wellingtons left the parent airfield and took up station at Bourn. The squadron left for Stradishall in August and No. 15 Squadron brought its Stirlings in to Bourn the same month. It had vacated Wyton as this was the headquarters airfield of the Pathfinder Force formed on August 15, the same day as No. 15's Stirlings set off on their first raid from the airfield. In April 1943, the squadron was again moved on to the No. 3 Group station at Mildenhall to make way for Pathfinder units. The expanding No. 8 Group acquired Bourn for the Lancasters of No. 97 Squadron from Woodhall Spa in No. 5 Group. During No. 15 Squadron's tenure three T2 hangars were erected in the Grange Farm area to provide cover for Stirlings sent for repair and modification by a branch of Short Bros. Ltd.
In late March 1944, No. 105 Squadron and its Mosquitos were switched from Marham to Bourn when the former, was scheduled to be upgraded to a very heavy bomber airfield. No. 97 Squadron's stay lasted a year and in mid-April 1944 it returned to No. 5 Group to practice its pathfinder arts out of Coningsby. No. 105 Squadron had Bourn all to itself until December 1944 when No. 162 Squadron was re-formed with a nucleus from the established resident to expand the Mosquito force. The last Mosquito operation from Bourn was flown on the night of May 2/3, 1945. A total of 135 Bomber Command aircraft were lost in operations flown from Bourn; 19 Wellingtons, 32 Stirlings, 60 Lancasters and 24 Mosquitos.
No. 105 Squadron went to Upwood in June 1945 and No. 162 to Blackbushe in July. Thereafter, care and maintenance descended on Bourn and no further flying units were based there.

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