|Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)|
|Controlled by||Royal Air Force|
RAF Bawtry was a Royal Air Force station located at Bawtry Hall in Bawtry, South Yorkshire, England and was No. 1 Group RAF Bomber Command headquarters and administration unit during and following the Second World War.
Bawtry Hall itself, was erected around 1785 by a prosperous wool-merchant from Wakefield, Yorkshire. During the Second World War the RAF took it over and it became an RAF command centre. RAF Bawtry did not have its own airfield but instead took advantage of RAF Bircotes, which was located literally next-door. Here the station based a number of communications aircraft.
Bawtry Hall served the Royal Air Force from 1941–1984; first as HQ for No. 1 Group, Bomber Command during and after the Second World War, then as Strike Command HQ up to and including the later stages of the Cold War. The famous bombing of the airfield at Port Stanley by Vulcan bombers from RAF Waddington during the Falklands War was co-ordinated from the operations room at Bawtry Hall.
RAF Bawtry became the centre of the RAF Meteorological Service for many years and ceased military operations in 1986. In June 1987 Bawtry Hall was purchased by The Welbeck Estate Group.
No.1 Group Bomber Command units based at RAF Bawtry comprised as follows: -
|Airfield .||Squadron||Aircraft Type||Number of Aircraft .|
|RAF Elsham Wolds||103 Sqn||Avro Lancaster I and III||17|
|RAF Elsham Wolds||576 Sqn||Lancaster I and III||8|
|RAF Kirmington||166 Sqn||Lancaster I and III||23|
|RAF Ingham||300 (Polish) Sqn||Vickers Wellington X||23|
|RAF Ingham||300 (Polish) Sqn||Lancaster I and III||0 - Re-equipping|
|RAF Wickenby||12 Sqn||Lancaster I and III||16|
|RAF Wickenby||626 Sqn||Lancaster I and III||14|
|RAF Grimsby||100 Sqn||Lancaster I and III||18|
|RAF Grimsby||550 Sqn||Lancaster I and III||7|
|RAF Ludford Magna||101 Sqn||Lancaster I and III||22|
|RAF Binbrook||460 Sqn RAAF||Lancaster I and III||27|
|RAF Kelstern||625 Sqn RAAF||Lancaster I and III||17|
During the Miners' Strike in the mid-1980s, up to 17,000 Police were based at RAF Bawtry to provide a central Operations and co-ordination point on the South Yorkshire / Nottinghamshire border.
The Air Training Corps 2008 Squadron is still located at the former site on Park Road in Bawtry, in a new building that replaced the former ones. The squadron is a fully functioning unit that regularly attend flying, gliding, target shooting and a very high quality of fieldcraft training. Bawtry Sqn also enjoys its own hovercraft, which is now part of a project to maintain. Currently the squadron is known for its high standards of cadets, and was the first ever Squadron from the Yorkshire Wing to participate in the 4 day Nijmegan March (100 miles). In 2009 the Squadron has had a boom in the recruiting of cadets following successful recruiting campaigns in local schools, boosting its total number of attendees by 25+. 2008 Squadron gather every Wednesday and Friday evening to continue activities run by the Air Training Corps
After being sold by the RAF in the mid 1980s, the building was bought by Action Partners Corporation, a Christian organisation, and has been used as teaching and conference centre for the past 24 years. The trustees had taken the decision to close the hall on 31 December 2013 and a buyer is now being sought.
- Bruce Barrymore Halpenny, Action Stations: Military Airfields of Yorkshire v. 4, ISBN 978-0-85059-532-1
- Roger A. Freeman, Bases of Bomber Command Then and Now, ISBN 1-870067-35-5
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