RAF Elsham Wolds
This airfield operated in both WW1 and WW2.
The site was situated approximately 7 miles N E of Brigg, east of the A15 road near Elsham village in North Lincolnshire.
It was originally one of the airfields used by a Home Defence squadron in the defence of North Lincolnshire and Humberside against air attack in the First World War. The area between the Humber and the Wash was an easily defined entry point for Zeppelins and Lincolnshire received its fair share of bombs although few caused any damage. The first squadrons were mainly equipped with the Avro 504 or the BE2 and facilities at the airfield were primitive. C Flight of 33 Squadron were based at the airfield from December 1916 flying FE2b fighters to the end of the war and in June 1919 the airfield reverted to agriculture.
The demand for bomber airfields in 1939 led to many former airfields being surveyed to assess suitability for development. Elsham Wolds was then chosen as a site for a bomber airfield and construction work began in 1940. An important factor in the choice of the site was the railway communications with a railway station situated nearby at Barnetby.
The new airfield was built on the high plateau immediately north east of the village of Elsham and was built to an early war time pattern with a "J" type hanger on the Eastern side of the airfield and much accommodation and technical and administrative facilities grouped behind. Eventually the airfield had 3 concrete runways, the main one running NW/SE. In addition 2 further large hangers were constructed as the war progressed. It was often a cold, wet and windy site and the accommodation facilities were somewhat primitive so it was not a comfortable place, particularly in the cold weather.
Elsham Wolds opened as a heavy bomber station as part of 1 Group Bomber Command in July 1941 and 103 Squadron RAF moved to their new home soon after. Throughout the rest of the war the Squadron was based at Elsham Wolds and flew many and varied operations over occupied Europe. 576 Squadron RAF were formed at Elsham Wolds in November 1943 and operated from the airfield until the end of October 1944 when they moved to RAF Fiskerton. On the 1st April 1945 100 Squadron RAF were transferred to the airfield.
When RAF Elsham Wolds became the main airfield and Admin centre for 13 Base on the 1st Jan 1944 nearby RAF North Killingholme and RAF Kirmington came under its overall control.
Among the RAF personalities associated with the airfield are Hugh Constantine, Ronald Ivelaw-Chapman, Francis “Ferdy” Swain and Walter Sheen.
103 Squadron was disbanded soon after the war and, in December 1945, 100 Squadron moved to Scampton.
Elsham Wolds was then home to No 21 HGCU of Transport Command who vacated the airfield in November 1946.
In 1947 the airfield closed. Some of the old buildings were used to house Polish Displaced Persons up until the early 1950s. This was referred to as Warsaw Hamlet. Most of the site has reverted to agricultural use but one hanger remains as part of a small industrial estate. The main road South from the Humber Bridge runs right through the middle of the airfield.
There were a significant number of crashes within a 5 miles radius of the village of Elsham and I have included a page listing these - see Crashes Page. I have added pages for 4 of these incidents and will add more in due course. I welcome new info, feedback and any photos regarding this subject and hope to develop this topic in the future.
This site is run in conjunction with the 103 Squadron RAF and 576 Squadron RAF websites. There was enough RAF Elsham Wolds material on file to warrant a separate website.
To access either of these Squadron websites click the relevant crest below.
This website and its content is copyright of David William Fell and/or the contributors. All rights reserved.
Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents of this website in any form is prohibited except for personal and private use.
You may not, except with my express written permission, distribute, post on the internet, publish in any form or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.
General Enquiries to the the Web Master David W Fell