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Royal Air Force Belton Park

Ensign of the Royal Air Force

Located Near Grantham, Lincolnshire, England
Belton House 2006
Belton House
Type Disestablished Military Accommodation Depot
(Non flying station)
Coordinates Latitude:
Longitude:
Built 1942
Built by Air Ministry
Construction
materials
Temporary Nissen hutting
In use 1942 - 1946
Current
condition
Demolished and reinstated to parkland
Current
owner
Private ownership.
Controlled by Royal Air Force
Garrison Royal Air Force Regiment Accommodation Depot
Battles/wars World War II

RAF Belton Park was a Royal Air Force corps accommodation depot during World War II and is notable as the first depot of the Royal Air Force Regiment. Belton Park is located 2 miles (3.3 km) north of the centre of Grantham, Lincolnshire, England.

The headquarters of the new corps had been established in the house and grounds of the adjoining 18th Century stately home, called Alma House and its grounds known as Alma Park, requisitioned by the Air Ministry for the duration of the war. RAF Alma Park opened in December 1941 and the staff had made preparations for the formation of the RAF Regiment.

RAF Belton Park was established as a new accommodation depot for the RAF Regiment in 1942 as there was insufficient space at Alma Park.

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. During World War I the hundreds of temporary wooden huts had been built over the Belton Park Golf Course's fairways and a highly detailed map of the site remains on display in the current golf course clubhouse.

Although some 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 Belton Park closed in 1946 along with RAF Alma 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.

Belton Park todayEdit

No trace of the temporary hutted camp remains, having been demolished post-war. The site has been returned to parkland of Belton House.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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