Unit History: RAF Wickenby
R.A.F. Wickenby was a purpose built bomber base constructed late 1942 and early 1943. It had two T2 type hangars and one B1 type. The B1 and one of the T2 hangars can still be seen on the airfield site. The T2 near the threshold of runway 21 was recently acquired by the airfield owners and after many years of industrial use in now, once more, a aircraft hangar.
The airfield covered about 600 acres, and had the usual three runway configuration with peripheral tracks, hard standings, a brick watchtower and numerous brick and metal buildings for the aircrews and ground staff. A number of the buildings were to the east (Communal Site, Living Quarters, WAAF Quarters) and stretched to and beyond the Lissington road - a road travelled many an evening by the airmen and women who visited their favorite watering hole, The White Hart at Lissington. The Sick Quarters were to the south of the airfield together with a Communal Site and Living Quarters.
Wickenby was occupied in September of 1942 by No. 12 Squadron (a/c code PH) who brought with them Wellington II/III’s, but during the winter of 1942/43 they converted to the AVRO Lancaster. The Squadron flew the Lancaster throughout the rest of the war. On November 7th 1943, C Flight was expanded to become 626 Squadron (a/c code UM), also flying the Lancaster. Wickenby played a large part in the bomber offensive, taking part in many of the major raids including: Berlin, Munich, Nuremberg, Essen, Maillie-Le-Camp, and Caen. Aircraft from Wickenby were also involved in mine-laying (gardening), and operations Manna and Exodus. On September 24th 1945, 12 Squadron moved to a more permanent site at Binbrook.
12 Squadron still exists to this day flying Tornado aircraft out of Lossimouth. Having spent its entire existence at Wickenby, 626 Squadron was disbanded on October 14th, 1945. The base was later taken over by 93 MU and subsequently 92 MU who used the runways to dismantle ordinance until 1956 when the base was closed. Civil aviation and maintenance began in 1963, and the land was sold between 1964/66. During the relatively short period of active service 1080 lives were lost from RAF Wickenby. This sacrifice is commemorated by a memorial in the form of Icarus on an obelisk at the entrance to the airfield. The memorial was placed there by members of the Wickenby Register, an association of former 12/626 Squadron personnel and associate relatives.
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