Permanent reminder of those who never returned

The new memorial at the former RAF HIbaldstow.
The new memorial at the former RAF HIbaldstow.
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A new memorial is now in place at the former Hibaldstow Airfield - built to the memory of those who flew from the wartime base and never returned.

The veterans from the war era who remain now number less than ten. After the recent reunion and memorial service at the airfield, the decision was taken that there will be no more such occasions.

Hibaldstow opened in May 1941, being used by 255 squadron; the conversion from defiants to Beaufighters gave rise to several accidents.

In September 1941, 253 Squadron arrived with Hurricanes, flying mainly at night working with Turbinlite Havocs of 538 squadron.

The idea was for the Turbinlites to track enemy aircraft, illuminate them with a searchlight for the Hurricanes to move in and shoot the enemy down.

The plan was not very successful, although Hibaldstow was the only Turbanlite station to claim any damage to the enemy.

Hibaldstow’s period as a wartime fighter base ended in December 1942, but its use as a training unit kept it open for three more years.

One remarkable happening in that period was when ACW Margaret Horton reportedly had an inadvertent flight sitting on the tail of a spitfire, the pilot not noticing her presence until he was airborne.

After a rather hair raising trip round the airfield, the duo landed safely.

The airfield closed for flying when the war ended, but was occupied until 1947 and in more recent years has been used as a base for sponsored parachute jumping.

Visitors to the memorial are asked to respect the fact the approach and surrounds are on private land.