Remembering those at biggest bomber base

A previous reunion at Elsham Wolds
A previous reunion at Elsham Wolds

A flypast by the Battle of Britain Lancaster will be among the highlights of an emotional reunion weekend at what was once one of Lincolnshire’s biggest bomber bases.

The RAF Elsham Wolds Association, formed to remember all those who flew and supported 103 and 576 Squadrons based at the north Lincolnshire airfield during the Second World War, is holding its annual Reunion Weekend this Saturday and Sunday, August 24 and 25.

The airfield, built adjacent to the site of a First World War landing ground, was constructed in the early war years and Wellington, Halifax and Lancaster bombers operated from its concrete runways until the end of the war in 1945.

Association secretary, Keith Macrae said: “Today, much of the site is a busy industrial estate, but at its heart is an impressive volunteer-run museum and a Memorial Garden, all housed in part of the Anglian Water Treatment Plant in Middlegate Lane.”

Elsham Wolds was a key airfield in the chain of Bomber Command bases in Lincolnshire.

It was headquarters of 13 Base, which included RAF Kirmington (166 Squadron) and RAF North Killingholme (550 Squadron), and could put a combined force of more than 80 Lancasters into the air at one time.

Elsham was also ‘home’ to Bomber Command’s most famous Lancaster, ED888 – better known as ‘MikeSquared’ or ‘Mother-of-them-All’, which flew with both 103 and 576 and recorded an incredible 140 operations.

This year’s reunion gets under way with a dinner in Elsham village hall on Saturday at 7pm, when it is hoped that Association President, former WWII WAAF Margaret Bailey, will be lighting the special memorial candles.

On Sunday, a service will be held at the Memorial Garden on the former airfield at 2.15pm and this will conclude - weather and aircraft serviceability permitting – with a fly-past by the BBMF Lancaster at around 3.15pm (to be confirmed).

Elsham was the highest airfield above sea level in Bomber Command and the views from the memorial garden make a wonderful setting for a Lancaster flypast.

Two special books will also be on sale during the reunion weekend.

One by David Crawford concerns the wartime exploits of former Elsham Wolds Association President, Jack Spark.

The second, ‘A Daughter’s Choice’, written by 92-year-old Margaret Ford, tells the poignant and personal story of her love for a young wireless operator with 576 Squadron, who failed to return to Elsham from a raid on Stuttgart in 1944.

For further information on this special weekend contact Keith Macrae by email at kmacrae@glonville.co.uk or call 07860 953359.