Unit History: RAF Warboys

RAF Warboys
Located seven miles-south west of Chatteris and south of Warboys village, this airfield was constructed to the west of the A141 Huntingdon to Chatteris road in 1941-42. The runways were 12-30 at 1,250 yards, 07-25 at 1,100 yards and 18-36 at 1,100 yards. However, in early 1942, before the airfield was finished, the runways were extended. To achieve the required length for the 12-30 it was necessary to take it across the A141; consequently a new length of public road had to be built to bypass the airfield and the village. The final runway lengths were 12-30 at 2,097 yards, 07-25 at 1,447 yards and 18-36 at 1,350 yards. The perimeter track was reworked to connect the ends of the new runway. Twentyfour pan hardstandings had already been constructed but two of these were lost to hangar construction. With 18 loop type added, the total of aircraft standings was 39. The hangars were a T2 on the technical site on the south-east side near the start of the new bypass road with another on the north side and a Bl east of the 18 runway head. The bomb stores lay off the west side and eleven domestic, mess and communal sites dispersed either side of the A141 south to Old Hurst. Maximum accommodation was given as for 1,959 males and 291 females.
Allocated to No. 3 Group in August 1942, the Wellington’s of No. 156 Squadron moved in from Alconbury which was then being turned over to the USAAF. The squadron’s first operation from Warboys was on the night of August 9/10 and later in the month it became one of the original squadrons of the new Pathfinder Force. No. 156 converted to Lancasters in January 1943 being resident until March 1944 when it was moved to Upwood. Thereafter Warboys became an operational training station with No. 8 Group’s Night Training Unit coming with Lancasters from Upwood and No. 1655 Mosquito Conversion Unit was re-formed to provide instruction on that type. This unit was absorbed by No. 16 OTU at Upper Heyford in December 1944 and the NTU continued part of the Mosquito instructional programme. A total of 99 aircraft were lost on wartime operations from Warboys: 16 Wellingtons and 83 Lancasters.
Following VE-Day, the training establishment was dissolved and in July No. 571 Squadron with its Mosquitos arrived from Oakington only to disband in September, the airfield closing to flying at the end of 1945. The flying field remained intact for many years although the B1040 was reinstated. In 1960 a Bloodhound unit, No. 257 Squadron, was set up on the western side beside runway 12-30, but these ground-to-air missiles were removed in 1964 and the airfield sold. The technical site buildings were taken over by a transport firm and the airfield itself returned to agricultural use.

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