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Abandoned RAF base
Last summer I went for a plod around my local abandoned RAF base, RAF Newton.
Newton aerodrome lay just south of
the village of that name six miles east of Nottingham between the A46 and
A6097. It was an expansion scheme airfield built in 1938 to the usual
pattern with four Type C hangars fronting the bombing circle with a fifth
hangar tucked in behind that on the eastern side. The technical
administrative and barrack buildings were of brick construction with flat
roofs, most with central heating. During 1940-41, a total of 24 pan aircraft
standings were put down, 18 on the south side of which all but four were
connected to three taxiway tracks, and six on the north side where three
were linked to a hard track. Later the number of standings was raised to 35.
Grass runways were established as 07-25 at 1,230 yards, and 13-31 and O1-19
both at 770 yards.
In June 1940 Newton was one of the stations assigned to No. 1 Group when it gathered its battered Battle squadrons together after their mauling in France. Nos. 103 and 150 Squadrons arrived at the airfield in July and made the occasional night foray over occupied Holland during following weeks until re-equipped with Wellingtons in October. Thus endowed, attacks on German targets were pursued until July 1941 when No. 103 went to Elsham Wolds and No. 150 to Snaith. The move was occasioned by more suitable bomber airfields and the decision to turn Newton over to training activities. At this time Newton was able to accommodate 1,773 males and 304 females. This marked the end of Bomber Command's operational use of the station, a year in which one Battle and 15 Wellingtons had been lost.
For the next five years No. 16 (Polish) Service Flying Training School provided basic and advanced training for the hundreds of Polish airmen serving with the RAF, the unit only being disbanded in October 1946. Although various training activities continued, the station then became the headquarters of No. 12 Group, Fighter Command, In 1958 Technical Training Command took over and several ground schools followed during the `sixties and `seventies. Flying continued by the East Midlands University Air Squadron with Bulldog aircraft and the civilian operated Slingsby Fireflies on behalf of RAF Cranwell. In 1996 part of the camp was sold and the airfield closed in November 2000.
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