Unit History: RAF Woodhall Spa

RAF Woodhall Spa
RAF Woodhall Spa is a station based in Lincolnshire built to a Class A Standard.  It opened as a satellite station to RAF coningsby in February 1942.
Woodhall Spa became one of several `mothballed' airfields left to decay. However revival came in 1960 when it was selected as a base for a Bloodhound ground-to-air missile site for the defence of the Lincolnshire's V-bomber stations. The first operating unit was No. 222 Squadron, replaced by No. 112 Squadron with a new mark of Bloodhound four years later. The missiles were removed in 1965 but the site was retained for exercises. The RAF continues to hold part of the airfield as a satellite to Coningsby, albeit for component servicing and storage. There is a No. 617 Dambuster Squadron memorial at Woodhall Spa.

RAF Woodhall Spa during WW2


First used by No. 106 Squadron Hampdens when the parent station suffered winter water logging. No. 97 Squadron and its Lancasters removed from Coningsby to Woodhall Spa's paved surfaces in March 1942, the squadron having only just converted to Lancasters. It flew its maiden mission with the type from the new station on March 20/21. The squadron operated from Woodhall Spa until mid-April 1943 when it was selected to transfer to No. 8 Group and develop pathfinder techniques.

The day after 97 Squadron was moved to Bourn a detachment from No. 97 was left behind to form No. 619 Squadron, which flew its first raid on June 11/12. It stayed until January 1944 when it moved to Coningsby. This was an exchange of stations with No. 617 Squadron which was pioneering the use of special weapons and tactics, notably the l2,000 lb ‘TallBoy’ and 22,000 lb ‘Grand Slam’ bombs. The reason for the move is understood to be because No. 617 required more dispersals and Coningsby was only a two squadron station.

April 1944 another specialist squadron, No. 627 equipped with Mosquitos, arrived from Oakington and No. 8 Group to furnish No. 5 Group with its own pathfinders. The squadron arrived at Woodhall Spa on 14 April 1944 and stayed until the end of the war. No. 617 was moved to Waddington in June and No. 627 was re-numbered No. 109 Squadron on October 1, 1945 and moved to Wickenby.

Operational losses from Woodhall Spa amounted to 91 aircraft, 74 Lancasters and 17 Mosquitos.

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