Lincolnshire, known as the Bomber or RAF County, has had strong connections
with military flying since the Great War. From when World War II was
declared, planes flew in active service from 10 new Lincolnshire airfields,
and by the end of the war there were 49 airfields, 28 of them bomber
bases - more than any other county in the UK.
It was the 617 Squadron who flew to make the legendary Dambusters Raid
on the 16th May 1943. Memorabilia from this famous Squadron and their
important mission can be seen in Woodhall Spa at the Petwood House Hotel,
(which was once the 617 Squadron's Officers' Mess) and also at The Cottage
Museum. In this large Edwardian village also stands the impressive 'Dambusters'
Memorial in Royal Square (commemorating the men of the 617 Squadron
who died on operations between 1943 and 1945).
BATTLE OF BRITAIN MEMORIAL FLIGHT
Only a few miles from Woodhall Spa is RAF Coningsby. It is here that
the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, formed
in 1957 to commemorate the Royal Air Force's major battle honour, is
now based and includes a Lancaster, five Spitfires, two Hurricanes and
a Dakota. These aircraft
are still flying and their beauty and power are demonstrated at many major
shows all over the UK. Here at Coningsby you can take the opportunity
to see these fine aeroplanes in the hangars where the technicians work
Near to Spilsby is Lincolnshire's Aviation Heritage Centre at East Kirkby.
The museum is based at the former airfield of Five Group Bomber Command,
and has its very own Avro Lancaster Bomber, Just Jane. On special days
the Lancaster can be seen taxiing up and down the runway. The Control
Tower has been restored to its original condition and the surrounding
buildings are crammed with a wealth of memorabilia, nostalgia and history
relating to the war. This is a splendid museum which enthrals visitors
of all ages.
TRIBUTES AND MEMORIALS
There are glimpses of aviation heritage all around the
area, smaller museums, tributes and memorials to these wartime heroes
that gave their lives for their country. The Church of St. Mary &
St. Gabriel, in the Wolds village of Binbrook, has some memorials to
the RAF and several military graves in the churchyard and the Thorpe
Camp Preservation Group has set up a Visitor Centre at Ex-RAF Woodhall
Spa that depicts the story of the RAF station and shows civilian life
in wartime Lincolnshire.