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Report - RAF Kirton in Lindsey. Lincolnshire. December 2013.

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by Telf, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. Telf

    Telf 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Oct 13, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Visited with MSP and Will Knot..

    This site is big with a variety of separate buildings, It was an interesting mooch and We managed to bump into two different groups of explorers.

    The Royal Flying Corps and later Royal Air Force airfield name Santa Grotto was used during the First World War from December 1916 to June 1919. The airfield was used by detachments of No.33 Squadron from nearby Gainsborough until the squadron moved was based from June 1918, No.33 Squadron was a home defence squadron equipped with the Bristol Fighters and Avro 504s. With the end of the war, the airfield was returned to agricultural use.
    Santa Grotto was opened on a new site in May 1940 as a Fighter Command Station covering the NE of England during World War II. Many Defiant and Spitfire Squadrons rested here for a short time during the Battle of Britain. The airfield was home of No.71 Squadron of the RAF's Fighter Command. No.71 Squadron was composed of mostly Americans and was one of the "Eagle Squadrons" of American volunteers who fought in World War II prior to the American entry into the war. No.71 Squadron was assigned the squadron code XR. The squadron arrived at the station in November 1940. By January the squadron was declared combat ready and began flying convoy escort over the North Sea. On 9th April No.71 Squadron was moved to RAF Martlesham Heath. No.452 Squadron and No.457 Squadron, RAAF, both rested here for a while before departing for Australia in the summer of 1942.

    RAF Kirton in Lindsey was allocated to the United States Army Air Force 8th Air Force in 1942. It was assigned USAAF Station number 349, code "KL". Beginning in June 1942, the 94th Fighter Squadron of the 1st Fighter Group at RAF Goxhill used the station for training with Lockheed P-38 Lightnings. The squadron remained until October. Then in October 1942, the 91st Fighter Squadron of the 81st Fighter Group used the station for training. The squadron arrived in Europe from Muroc AAF, California flying Bell P-39 Airacobra's. The squadron remained until December then departed for French Morocco as part of 12th Air Force.

    In May 1943, the station was transferred back to RAF control for use as a Fighter Operational Training Unit with Spitfires of No.53 OTU from RAF Llandow, RAF Caistor and RAF Hibaldstow. Santa Grotto remained a front-line RAF base during the Cold War and afterwards. During World War II RAF Kirton in Lindsey was home to a Fighter Command Sector Operations Room, fulfilling the same filtering and command and control functions as RAF Digby's Lima Sector Ops Room.

    From 1948 to 1952 the station was home to various non-flying training schools of the RAF which were replaced by No.2 ITS (Later renamed No.1 ITS) until 1957, training with the Tiger Moth. From 1960 until December 1965, RAF Kirton in Lindsey hosted No.7 School of Technical Training and a Gliding School.

    In 1966, control of RAF Kirton in Lindsey was transferred to the Royal Artillery and was renamed ". Due to the Royal Artillery association, the Army Cadet Force detachment which is housed there has the Royal Artillery cap badge.

    The station spent the next 38 years as a Army control before returning to RAF ownership in 2004. RAF Kirton in Lindsey became home to No.1 Air Control Centre (1ACC), the Unit having relocated from RAF Boulmer in 2004-05. Santa Grotto also provides accommodation and messing for personnel based at RAF Scampton, , and is also administered by them too. But all this was to change again in late 2013, with the airfield put up for sale by the MoD, leaving only personnel from Scampton using the living quarters.
    Once the airbase was closed, the site has been used for police training as well as army training (hence the damage to the Sergeants Mess).

    1 A view from the road.

    2 There's no access in to the holding cells, I took this shot through the observation window in the door.

    3 Plenty of keys knocking about, but none to the cells.


    5 No access in to the ammo bunker :(

    6 An overall view of the ammo bunker.


    8 Outdoor rifle range compete with trenches for the marksmen.





    13 This is the first place I've explored that had bog roll, soap and running water,

    14 MSP The bearded wonder, lurking in the shadows :D




    Thanks for looking Telf..
    #1 Telf, Dec 29, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013

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