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Royal Air Force Alma Park

Ensign of the Royal Air Force

Located Near Grantham, Lincolnshire, England
File:RAFRegtbadge.png
Crest of the RAF Regiment
Type Disestablished Military Headquarters
(Non flying station)
Coordinates Latitude:
Longitude:
Built 18th century
(Converted for RAF use in Dec 1941)
In use 1941 - 1946
Current
condition
Demolished and replaced by an extensive modern trading estate
Current
owner
Private ownership.
Controlled by Royal Air Force
Garrison Headquarters Royal Air Force Regiment
Battles/wars World War II

RAF Alma Park was a Royal Air Force corps headquarters and training facility during World War II and is notable as the birthplace of the Royal Air Force Regiment. Alma Park is located 2 miles (3.3 kilometres) north east of the centre of Grantham, Lincolnshire, England.

The headquarters was established in the house and grounds of an 18th Century stately home, called Alma House and its grounds known as Alma Park, that was requisitioned by the Air Ministry for the duration of the war. RAF Alma Park opened in December 1941 and closed in August 1946.

The original house and its grounds were demolished post-war and the land is now in use as a modern trading estate, with only a few acres of open parkland remaining.

HistoryEdit

As early as the 1920s the RAF had formed small airfield defence units but traditionally the role of ground defence had predominantly been handled by detachments of regular army personnel. It became evident in the aftermath of the Dunkirk evacuation that the army did not have the resources, personnel or expertise to continue supporting the growing number of UK and overseas RAF airfields and the decision was taken to form a dedicated RAF defence force.

The search for a suitable headquarters and training site settled on Alma House in Grantham and the Air Ministry requisitioned the estate in the autumn of 1941.[1] The headquarters was established on 14 December 1941 although the Corps of the RAF Regiment was not formally established until 1 February 1942 under Royal Warrant from George VI.

During World War I in November 1915 the Alma Park estate, then known as Harrowby Camp, together with Belton Park had been a training centre for the Machine Gun Corps [2] and together the two adjoining estates had housed and trained 18,000 men.

Although some RAF Regiment training took place on the parkland at Alma Park the corps rapidly expanded to in excess of 66,000 personnel organised into 280 squadrons and there was not room to accommodate them onsite. The first RAF Regiment depot accommodation barracks were established instead at adjoining RAF Belton Park and nearby airfields at RAF Folkingham and RAF North Witham.

RAF Alma Park closed in 1946 along with RAF Belton Park and the headquarters and depot of the RAF Regiment were combined and relocated to RAF Catterick where they remained until 1994 when they relocated to its current home at RAF Honington.

Alma Park todayEdit

No trace of the original Alma House remains, having been demolished post-war. The majority of the site is now covered by the modern Alma Park Trading Estate although a small portion of the original open parkland remains as a rough heathland with pathways.

The prefabricated buildings at RAF Alma Park had remained in use as council living accommodation until the late 1960s when the area was designated as an area for light industry. In 1970 Barrats/Janes Ltd started building the Polygon Estate followed by Jelsons building on the Kenilworth Road side of Harrowby Lane in 1973.[3]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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