Report - - RAF Saltby, Leicestershire, February 2019 | Military Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - RAF Saltby, Leicestershire, February 2019


28DL Regular User
Regular User
1. The History
RAF Saltby is an ex-World War II airfield in Leicestershire, located in-between Melton Mowbray and Grantham. Its eastern end pushes it across the border into Lincolnshire by a few hundred metres. It opened in 1941 as a grass strip and surrounding support buildings until a year later when it was up-graded to Class A airfield standards with three converging concrete runways. It was used by both the RAF and the US Army Air Forces with RAF Vickers Wellingtons first to fly out of it. It was used primarily as a transport airfield and closed after the war and kept in reserve until 1955. The ground support station was constructed largely of Nissen huts and included mess facilities, a chapel, hospital and armoury and bombsite storage amongst other buildings. An ammunition dump was located outside of the perimeter track and surrounded by large dirt mounds and concrete storage pens. At its peak it accommodated up to 2100 staff members and boasted five hangars which were used to store 32 Horse gliders in 1943.

On its release from military use in 1955, much of the airfield was returned to agriculture. Today, a large amount of the airfield is intact, including almost the entire main runway remains, utilised by the Buckminster Gliding Club for gliding, motor gliding and glider aerobatics.

2. The Explore
Seem to be on a bit of a WW2 roll at the moment. This former RAF base is pretty much off the radar and few reports crop up. It might be down to the fact it isn’t a spectacular site and the bits that remain are dispersed over quite a large area. A lot of key buildings have been demolished (such as the old control tower) but there’s still enough to hold your attention for a couple of hours or so. I still have vivid memories of when I was a child cycling out to the base and there being more higher-slung buildings still standing than there currently is. The most striking thing about the site today is perhaps the number of intact and pretty pristine stanton shelters dotted over the area.

3. The Photos
Let’s start with the base’s water purification plant. Completely hidden from the road in a coppice in the middle of a field and barely visible from Google Maps, this bit of the base gets overlooked. Nothing amazing but some quite interesting shapes:

img0962 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img0959 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img0958 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img0957 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img0955 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img0952 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Nature has reclaimed the crumbling red-brick structures:

img0950 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img0949 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img0947 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Further up the road is a number of demoed buildings but many Stanton shelters remain:

img0965bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

img0966 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img0969 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img0973 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img0974 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This one wasn’t quite so lucky:

img0978 by HughieDW, on Flickr

One of a number of remaining RAF pattern blast shelters:

img0979 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img0981 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img0985 by HughieDW, on Flickr

An old water tower:

img7262_1 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Not too sure what this is:

img7258_1 by HughieDW, on Flickr

On the inside:

img0988 by HughieDW, on Flickr

More building bases:

img0989 by HughieDW, on Flickr

…and blast shelters:

img0991 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And more Stanton shelters:

img7273_1 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img7268_1 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img8631_1 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img8625_1 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img8624_1 by HughieDW, on Flickr


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Interesting to see this. I was born in Saltby at St. Michael's Farm and my grandfather had land requisitioned to build the airfield. My dad would have explored all these buildings many times I expect. He also says he rode his bike on the roofs of the hangers that were there. An anecdote was that my grandmother saw her first black man (an American GI) drinking a pint from the Nag's Head pub sat on her garden wall, a rare site in those days.

Note, there was a memorial built by Ukrainian farm workers allocated to my grandfathers farm during/after the war. I think it was dedicated to their dead comrades. How they came to be in Saltby I don't know; maybe they fought with the Germans against the Russians. I vaguely remember my dad saying they didn't want to be sent back but they were. The memorial was close to the airfield and I saw it in a state of complete disrepair maybe 15 years ago so probably disappeared altogether now. It was built of bricks, some concrete and other material they'd have collected locally. I'm sure they probably came to a tragic end when they were returned to the Russians. Now I think about it I may go and see if I can find it again though it will be nothing but a small mound in a hedgerow as it wasn't much more than that years ago.

Similar threads