Waddington

Situated south of Lincoln between the A607 and A15 roads. Like all of 617 Squadrons other airfields Waddington is situated within a few miles of Lincoln.

The station opened in November 1916 under the control of Northern Group Command York. It became a training depot station and on December 1st 1917,  97 Squadron formed there as a training unit but later in January 1918 moved to Stonehenge. The first aircraft used there were Maurice Farman S.11 Shorthorns. DH4 s DH6 s, DH9 s RE8s Armstrong Whitworth FK8 and Avro 504 s. The station closed in 1919. Waddington however retained its war time first world war buildings and during the early expansion period it was reopened in October 1926 as the home for the newly formed 503 bombing special reserve. It remained as such until 1st May 1936 when it converted to an auxiliary squadron field. Fairey Fawns were operated during this period. Later 503 Squadron flew Handy Page Hyderbrads and later Westland Wallace s from the airfield. During the mid 1930 s a rebuilding programme began to give the station its wartime appearance. No. 110 Squadron reformed here in 1937 with Hawker Hind. 50 Squadron also with Hinds, 88 Squadron with more Hinds and in June 1937, 44 Squadron also arrived. In December 1938 44 Squadron became the first squadron on the airfield to re-equip with modern monoplane bombers in the form of the Bristol Blenheim I.

At the outbreak of war 44 and 50 Squadrons were re-equipping with Hampdens at Waddington and carried out operations throughout the early years of the war. Later they re-equipped with Manchesters. During June 1940 Fairey Battles of 142 squadron arrived at the airfield from France but remained only a few weeks before moving to Binbrook. 50 Squadron also moved to Hatfield Wood House, renamed Lindholm in mid August 1940. 44 Squadron was the first squadron to equip with the new Lancasters, the first aircraft arriving on December 24th 1941. On December 19th 1941 420 “Snowy Owl” Squadron, RCAF formed at Waddington equipped with Hampdens. 44 Squadron carried out the heroic low level daylight raid against the MAN diesel factory at Augsberg in which John Nettleton won the Victoria Cross. In August 1942,  9 Squadron moved in from Honnington and re-equipped with Lancasters. The Squadron moved to Bardney in April of 1943 and 44 Squadron moved to Dunholm Lodge in May 1943. During this period the airfield was closed while concrete runways were laid. By November 1943 the airfield was operational again and the station re-equipped with 467 RAAF Squadron from Bottisford. They would remain at the airfield for the rest of the Second World War.

On March 3rd and 4th, 1945 after a raid to Laddbergen the bombers returned to find Luftwaffe intruders attacking the aerodrome and the bomb dump on fire. All aircraft however landed safely. The last operational missions of the war of 463 and 467 Squadrons was on 25th and 26th April when Lancasters were dispatched to bomb an oil refinery and tank farm at Valoe in Norway. In June 1946, 7 Squadron moved to Methrington and in July 463 departed to Skellingthorpe. After the war Waddington remained as a bomber base and returned to a peacetime training role and home to 617 Squadron who moved in from Woodhall Spa during June. They remained at the airfield until January 1946 when they moved to Selbahni in India. The unit was replaced by 61 Squadron from Sturgate.

The Lincoln followed in May 1946 with 61 Squadron and were joined by Lincolns from 57 Squadron in 1947. 100 Squadron Lincolns were based here for a short while during 1950 but in August 1953 all the squadrons were moved out while the airfield was put onto care and maintenance and brought up to class one airfield standard for V bombers. As in the other cases a 9,000 ft by 200 ft wide runway was laid and the earlier war time runways were retained but not used for flying. New dispersals and taxi ways were built along with many new buildings for the maintenance of the new aircraft.

In June 1954 Queen Elizabeth gave her approval to the RAF Waddington badge which includes the towers of Lincoln Cathedral standing above the morning mists. On 25 April 1959 the station was granted the Freedom of the City of Lincoln. Since then all Waddington aircraft have carried the City Crest. On June 1st 1955 the station reopened as a master diversion airfield with 21 and 27 Squadrons from Scampton both flying the Canberra. The Vulcan Mk 1 arrived in 1955 and during mid 1956 No. 230 OCU conducted service trials at Waddington. 230 OCU then went to carry out crew training on Vulcans and 53 Squadron was reformed at Waddington as the first operational Vulcan squadron. 101, 50 and 9 Squadron moved into the airfield with Vulcan B2s forming the station wing. The type remained at the airfield until 1984 and provided the Vulcans that bombed Port Stanley in the Falklands conflict.

Today RAF Waddington is home to 3 three operational flying Squadrons, Nos 5, 8, and 51 Squadrons. Flying the Sentinel R1, the Nimrod R1 and the E-3D Sentry. The recently re-formed 54 (R) Squadron provides training for all 3 platforms.