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Report - RAF Wigsley - Lincolnshire 10.11.07

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by MADMAX, Nov 12, 2007.

  1. MADMAX

    MADMAX Member
    28DL Full Member

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    Sixxfingers and I decided go take a UE based wander on Saturday afternoon and decided to cross off a building that we've had our eye on for sometime, but have just never managed to get down too.

    Here's a bit of info:
    Considering flying took place at RAF Wigsley until 1958, its one of the least intact former 5 group airfields. Wigsley was home to 1654 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU) until September 1945. After 1654 HCU left Wigsley remained open as a satellite airfield for RAF Swinderby. The airfield saw intensive flying until its closure in 1958. today very little remains save for the odd building and piece of perimeter track. The tower still stands as an empty shell looking over the old airfield.

    It's easy see why an attempt has been made to totally seal the ground floor; the whole building has been vandalised to the limit.
    Anyway, entry ended up being very straight forward and the Tower made for a semi interesting little explore.

    We then searched the surrounding area and were rewarded with remains of the smaller buildings and a hidden road. Unfortunately most of the buildings are now just piles of rubble and have thorns and trees covering them.

    [​IMG]
    RAF Wigsley Control Tower

    [​IMG]
    The Viewing Platform

    [​IMG]
    Another local favourite in the distance; High Marnham Power Station

    [​IMG]
    There wasn't a single paint free wall

    [​IMG]
    One of the smaller buildings, partially hidden in the undergrowth

    [​IMG]
    The discovery of an abandoned road

    [​IMG]
    A odd Brick Shelter.
     
    #1 MADMAX, Nov 12, 2007
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2007

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  2. sixxfingers

    sixxfingers Original Member
    28DL Full Member

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    Yes, considering we only had 2hours while my daughter was at a party... 2 quick sites and a pint was good work mate!
    Here's some more history too, you know what I'm like :rolleyes:

    A Wellington parked up at RAF Wigsley
    [​IMG]

    A wartime airfield to Class A standard 7.5 miles from the centre of Lincoln and directly south-west of the village of the same name, Wigsley was built in 1941-42, the main contractor being Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons Ltd. Three concrete runways were 09-27, 0321 and 14-32 which were increased in length in the later stages of construction, 09-27 and 14-32 being extended across the Wigsley Besthorpe road which was closed. The new lengths were 09-27, 2,000 yards and 1,400 yards for both the others. There was also the usual encircling perimeter track with 36 hardstandings. Two T2 hangars were provided, one between runway heads 09 and 32 by the Spalford road and the other on the technical site, which was on the south-east side of the airfield between runways 27 and 32. A Bl hangar was positioned to the north-east between runway heads 14 and 21. Bomb stores lay in the wood between and beyond runway heads 14 and 21 and the camp sites were dispersed around and beyond Wigsley village and consisted of eight domestic, two communal and sick quarters. Maximum accommodation was put at 1,450 males and 351 females.

    Early in February 1942, No. 455 Squadron, an RAAF unit, arrived from Swinderby, Wigsley's parent station. Its Hampdens were soon in action and, as with most Hampden squadrons, minelaying played a big part in their operational duties. However, their tenure at Wigsley was brief for in mid-April the squadron was withdrawn from Bomber Command and sent north to become a Coastal Command torpedo-bomber unit. Seven Hampdens failed to return from operations and four others were lost in crashes while flying from Wigsley. This also brought an end to the airfield's short history as a operational squadron station in Bomber Command, as from thereon all the units based there were involved in some form of operational training.

    No. 1654 Heavy Conversion Unit with a few Lancasters and Manchesters was installed in May 1942 to finish crews for No. 5 Group. Four Lancasters were lost on operations when the unit was called upon to assist in the bombing campaign. As with other Lancaster HCUs, a severe shortage of aircraft saw them withdrawn and replaced by Stirlings for several months. Wigsley came under No. 7 Group when most bomber OTUs and HCUs were transferred to this revived formation in November 1944 but No. 1654 HCU continued in residence until September 1945 when it was moved to Woolfox Lodge. Bomber Command operations from Wigsley had cost 17 aircraft missing or crashed in the UK, 13 being Hampdens with four Lancasters.

    Wigsley received no further flying units although as Swinderby's satellite it was frequently used by training aircraft from that station and, with a small holding party, the airfield continued to function for `circuits and bumps' until the summer of 1958 when the RAF finally withdrew. It was sold during the next decade and by the 1970s few buildings remained, agriculture having taken over.

    http://www.controltowers.co.uk/W-Z/Wigsley.htm

    And a few of my shots from our super quick explore for the day.

    The front of the tower:
    [​IMG]

    Looking through to where we were last weekend:
    [​IMG]

    Steps up to third floor:
    [​IMG]

    Madmax on the balcony:
    [​IMG]

    Looking right down the side of the top floor:
    [​IMG]

    ...and Madmax in mid-shot:
    [​IMG]

    Also, just as we left... some random couple turned up with a camera.
    Turns out they were also interested in military stuff...

    ...Showed them how to get in, pointed out other sites in the area...
    and of course... gave them the address of 28dayslater!!!! :D ;)
     
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