RAF Wickenby, this week in World War 2

Purpose of this site

To give an overview of what was happening at RAF Wickenby during each week in World War 2, including details of missions and casualties. Two squadrons operated from RAF Wickenby during WW2, 12 Sqn from September 1942 and 626 Sqn from November 1943. A total of 1143 aircrew lost their lives serving at RAF Wickenby. More information can be found using the link in the top panel ^

The Blogs for each week in WW2 are at the bottom of this page.

History of RAF Wickenby

Overhead shot of Wickenby Airfield layout showing the runways surrounded by a perimeter track

Construction Begins

The airfield followed the standard Bomber Command layout, having three concrete runways and a perimeter track. The main runway 09/27 ran east/west along the southern side with the other two runways 03/21 & 16/34, crossing towards the north of the site with thirty six aircraft dispersals around the perimeter track. Two hangars of the steel T2 type were erected one to the north of the airfield and one to the south of the main runway, a third hangar of the B1 type was built later in 1943 and this was located at the north end of the technical and domestic site which was situated on the eastern side extending towards the village of Holton cum Beckering. The bomb storage area was constructed in a slight depression at the south west corner of the airfield. Building was completed in September 1942 and the airfield came under the control of No 1 Group Bomber Command and initially opened as a satellite station to RAF Binbrook. Later in December 1943 RAF Wickenby became No 14 Base substation to RAF Ludford Magna. Unlike most other RAF Stations, RAF Wickenby never had its own Station Badge.

12 Squadron Wellington Bomber PH-C

12 Squadron Moves In

During September 1942 under the Station Commander W/Cdr Dabinett, 12 Squadron moved to RAF Wickenby from their base at RAF Binbrook, bringing with them their Wellington Bombers in which they flew a number of missions. In November 1943, 12 Squadron became the second Squadron in 1 Group to be equiped with the AVRO Lancaster and on 12 January 1942 they were able to put nine Lancasters in the air as part of a force of 72 medium and heavy bombers which attacked an oil refinery in Essen.

12 Squadron Air & Ground Crews
626 Squadron personnel outside Hut 5

626 Squadron Formed

On 7 November 1943 626 Squadron was formed by the expansion of 12 Squadron’s C Flight. To accommodate the extra personnel generated by the formation of the new Squadron, a new dispersed site was built to the south of the airfield. This site would accommodate both air and ground crew and it covered a large area between the villages of Fulnetby and Rand.

The two Squadrons took part in many major raids on enemy targets such as Mailey le Camp, Nuremburg and also Bomber Commands last main operation of the war on 25 April 1945 when 14 Lancasters from Wickenby were part of the force which attacked the SS Barracks in Berchtesgaden. Following this final mission the two Squadrons took part in Operations Manna & Exodus when they dropped food to the Dutch and helped with the repatriation of POWs.

Last Losses

Wickenby suffered its last losses on 4 April 1945 when three aircraft failed to return from an attack on an oil refinery in the Luzendorf area of Germany, the total number of men who died whilst serving at Wickenby during the conflict was 1147 – 1143 aircrew and 4 groundcrew (killed when a bomb exploded prematurely in the Bomb Dump).

In September 1945 12 Squadron moved to Binbrook and in October 1945 626 Squadron was disbanded. Following the departure of the Lancasters 109 Squadron Mosquitos moved in but they left only a few weeks later in November 1945 when all flying ceased.

Blogs

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s