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Report - Raf Driffield, Driffield, Dec 13

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by H1971, Dec 22, 2013.

  1. H1971

    H1971 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

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    This place is what you called "trashed" and I know we were both struggling to get a feel of the place but plodded on getting some shots. Anyway the sun was shining so what more can you ask for at this time of year? :) Visited with Magpie.
    History -
    The site was first opened in 1918 by the Royal Air Force (RAF) under the name of RAF Eastburn, before closing in early 1920. However in 1935 a new airfield was built for the RAF initially training bomber crews before closing in 1977 when the site was turned over to the British Army for use as a driving school being renamed Alamein Barracks.
    After the Second World War
    After the war, Driffield became home to a number of training establishments. The first, No. 10 Air Navigation School, flew from 1946, equipped with Avro Anson, twin-engine aircraft, which were employed to fly student navigators on short three-hour flights. The unit's Wellington aircraft, endured flights of up to six hours flying sometimes at night, down to the Channel Islands, along the English Channel and up the North Sea to Scotland. Replaced in 1948 by No. 204 Advanced Flying School, this unit taught pilots how to fly the fast twin-engined de Havilland Mosquito fighter/bomber, an aircraft built entirely out of wood.
    In 1949, the jet age reached Yorkshire, when No.203 Advanced Flying School formed at Driffield – replacing the Mosquitoes, which departed with their parent unit. This new school would be the first in the world responsible for teaching a new breed of pilot how to fly fast jet aircraft. There were two sections within the school: No.1 Squadron operated the Gloster Meteor – Britain’s first operational jet fighter, while No.2 Squadron flew the de Havilland Vampire.
    Before climbing into the cockpit, students underwent four weeks of ground training, learning about jet engines, airframes and the different flying techniques associated with the new and much faster aircraft. This was followed by actual flight training, when pilots were taught basic manoeuvres, aerobatics, formation flying, instrument flying and navigation. Renamed No.8 Flying Training School in June 1954, the unit continued at Driffield before moving to Lincolnshire in July 1955.
    That September, RAF Driffield reverted to the role of a fighter station, when No.13 Group Fighter Command again took control of the airfield. During this period, Nos. 219 and 33 Squadrons, equipped with the de Havilland Venom night fighter, occupied the base until June/July 1957, when both units were disbanded. The following October saw the arrival of the Fighter Weapons School from RAF Leconfield, a unit equipped with a variety of jet aircraft, which itself departed in March 1958.
    In 1957, the British Government announced that the RAF would deploy 60 nuclear intermediate range ballistic missiles. From November 1958, Driffield would be home to No.98 Squadron, which was equipped with three Douglas Thor missiles, each with a range of 1,750 miles and capable of reaching Moscow. With the length of 60 ft, these missiles were stored horizontally on the ground and were erected only when ready for firing or during training exercises. Although the missiles were British owned, the nuclear warheads were still under American ownership. Accordingly, the United States Air Force maintained a sizeable presence at Driffield. In good bureaucratic fashion, the RAF Launch Officer was expected to sign for the warhead after it had been launched, because technically it was then under British control. The missiles at Driffield were never used and the system was dismantled in 1963.
    During the late 1960s, Blackburn Buccaneer naval aircraft were flight tested at Driffield, and in the early 1970s, gliders of No.642 Volunteer Gliding School also occupied the airfield, albeit briefly, while RAF Linton on Ouse had its main runway resurfaced. Sadly, there were to be no more happy landings, and in 1977, the airfield and camp were taken over by the British Army, who renamed it Alamein Barracks. By the early 1980s, the runways were removed and the hardcore used in the construction of the Driffield bypass. The control tower and air-raid shelters disappeared, while the hangars that protected aircraft for many years were converted to protect Government surplus grain from the elements.
    Pics -
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    Enjoy :)
     

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