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In 1989 RAF Binbrook alongside RAF Little Rissington served as the USAAF airfield for filming the 1990 movie Memphis Belle.

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Also known as: Binbrook Technical Park / Binbrook Trading Estate / Brookenby / Brookenby Business Park / RAF Binbrook
County: Lincolnshire
Current Status: Farmland / Housing / Industry / Museum
Date: 27 June 1940 – 12 July 1992
Current Use: Disused
Used By: RAF / RAAF
Landing Surface Types: Unpaved, later paved (1943)
Prominent People: Hughie Edwards
Aircraft Roles: Bomber / Experimental / Fighter

Forming part of the distinctively isolated Lincolnshire Wolds, famous RAF bomber, and later fighter, base Binbrook opened in June 1940 and in time saw three of the most familiar aircraft types in RAF service. Slow construction work meant it remained an incomplete late Expansion Period grass airfield when the station initially welcomed Nos 12 and 142 Squadrons which had returned from their ill-fated French sojourn with Fairey Battle single-engined bombers. Vickers Wellingtons replaced these outmoded aircraft in the autumn, No 12 Squadron relocating to Wickenby in September 1942 for Binbrook to receive hard runways.

Once back in action from May 1943, Binbrook accommodated Avro Lancasters of the Australian-manned No 460 Squadron which remained heavily in action until the end of World War Two (they are still much remembered today for their exploits and presence with a unit memorial in Binbrook village). This squadron quickly left in peacetime, more Bomber Command squadrons equipped with Avro Lincolns arriving until the early 1950s.

Aircraft development was as ever ongoing and both of the English Electric company’s most famous products (the Canberra and Lightning) established extremely strong links with Binbrook as the airfield itself turned into a key player in the Cold War. The 1950s first saw the Canberra jet bomber establish roots in the RAF here, long resident units, as was by now standard RAF policy, including Nos 9 and 101 Squadrons gradually converting from Lancasters and then Lincolns to this new superb aircraft. A decade later, and after a period of closure during 1960-62 for reconstruction, Binbrook switched to Fighter Command for the introduction of the equally popular Lightning supersonic fighter which perhaps above all was most associated with the airfield. Many a time, between 1965 and the type’s retirement in 1988, intruding Russian aircraft over the North Sea would encounter these rugged aircraft operated by Nos 5 and 11 Squadrons.

Binbrook’s fortunes dramatically declined once the Lightnings left. The airfield continued as a Relief Landing Ground for Scampton, while a military gliding school also helped to maintain activity, but official closure finally occurred in the summer of 1992.  The next few years saw many of the facilities and especially the landing area suffering the most brutal and unwarranted destruction, leaving this most distinguished place looking much sadder. Thankfully the main C1 hangars still survive, as do many technical site buildings – albeit often in a rundown condition – as part of an industrial estate, though the main beacon of hope for the future is the new village of Brookenby which was the former service married quarters area and arose as the airfield finally closed. Buildings which one resounded to RAF personnel now accommodate elements such as the local church and community centre and fortunately illustrate how Britain’s airfields will never fade away. 


The following organisations are either based at, use and/or have at least potentially significant connections with the airfield (as at 01/07/2013):

  • ABS Motor Sport
  • Alpine Cold Stores Ltd
  • Bill Blackmore
  • Binbrook Church of England Primary School
  • Binbrook Parish Council
  • Brookenby Parish Council
  • Cartledge
  • Chestnut Trading Ltd
  • Classic Furniture (Binbrook) Ltd
  • Cosmic Fireworks
  • Credenza Seaproducts Ltd
  • Dundurn Foods
  • Fishgate Ltd
  • Frame And Log
  • G.R.P Lighting Ltd
  • Garness Jones
  • Lifestyle Express
  • Limelight Theatre
  • Lincolnshire Aircraft Preservation Trust
  • New Century Industrial
  • Panda Fireworks Ltd
  • PlanesTV.com Ltd
  • Pure Azure LLP 
  • Roland International Seafoods Ltd
  • RPC Welding & Fabrication Ltd
  • St Mary & St Gabriel's Church, Binbrook
  • St. Michael and All Angels Church,  Brookenby
  • Structured Conduits Ltd
  • The Bar - former RAF Sergeants Mess
  • The Defiant
  • Thorganby Parish Council
  • Winchester Marine Ltd 

Main unit(s) present:

  • No 1 Gp TT Flight
  • No 5 Sqn

  • No 9 Sqn

  • No 11 Sqn

  • No 12 Base

  • No 12 Sqn

  • No 50 Sqn

  • No 64 Sqn

  • No 85 Sqn

  • No 101 Sqn

  • No 109 Sqn

  • No 139 Sqn

  • No 142 Sqn

  • No 460 Sqn

  • No 617 Sqn

  • No 643 VGS

  • No 819 Sqn

  • No 849 Sqn

  • No 849B Flight

  • No 1481 (TT) Flight

  • No 1481 Target Towing and Gunnery Flight

  • Air Bomber Training Flight (No 1 Gp)

  • Air Fighting Development Sqn

  • Bomber Command Aircraft Maintenance Unit

  • Bomber Command Jet Conversion Flight

  • Bomber Command Supply Support Unit

  • CFE

  • Day Fighter Combat Sqn

  • Instant Readiness Reserve Unit

  • Lightning Augmentation Flight

  • Lightning Special Engineering Project Team

  • Lightning Training Flight

Photographs from the unveiling of the ABCT memorial marker on 2 August 2014:

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geograph-107525-by-Dave-Hitchborne.jpg

A Chance Vought Corsair on the last openday at Binbrook on 22 August 1987. © Dave Hitchborne and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

geograph-2968588-by-Chris.jpg

Aerial view of former technical area at Binbrook, 18 August 2009. © Chris and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

iwm 2.jpg

English Electric Canberra B6 bombers of No 101 Squadron RAF based at Binbrook. Seen here during exercises over north-west England© IWM (C(AM) 1688)

iwm 3.jpg

An Avro Vulcan B2 flying in formation with English Electric Lightnings F.6s. including two from No 5 Squadron, based at Binbrook. © Crown copyright. IWM (RAF-T 8095)

geograph-3008639-by-Chris.jpg

Aerial view of Binbrook, 5 August 2007. © Chris and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

iwm 1.jpg

The Duke of Gloucester, Governor-General Designate of the Commonwealth of Australia (standing fourth from right), watches armourers attending an Avro Lancaster of No 460 Squadron, RAAF, during his visit to Binbrook in July 1944. © IWM (AUS 2017)

geograph-714665-by-Mr-T.jpg

Battle Headquarters at Binbrook, 10 February 2008. © Mr T and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Lightnings.jpg

Two English Electric Lightnings at Binbrook, September 1982. © Shaun Connor/www.abpic.co.uk/

English Electric Lightnings at Binbrook, 1987. Courtesy of farmerkristian

English Electric Lightning XR724 returns to Binbrook, 1992. Courtesy of PlanesTV

Footage from Binbrook, 1994. Courtesy of usafe

Demolition of the Officer's Block, 26 February 2011. Courtesy of Andrew Robinson

Aerial footage of Binbrook, 2016. Courtesy of Richard Lawson

 

Bomber Command Base Sub-Station(s):

GrimsbyKelstern IIWickenby

Decoy Airfield(s):

Wyham

© 2017 ABCT All rights reserved.
Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust is registered in England and Wales. Registered Office: 20-22 Bedford Row, London WC1R 4JS.
Registered Company No. 08940364. Registered Charity No (England and Wales): 1156877. Registered Charity No (Scotland): SC041123