Woodhall Spa is situated three miles south of Woodhall Spa village just west of the B1192 road. Situated close to Conningsby, work on Woodhall Spa airfield started in early 1941. Originally the site was wooded and much of the woodland was retained for camouflage purposes. The airfield was built from new with three concrete runways in the standard bomber command pattern with a technical site on the southern side of the airfield. Woodhall Spa finally opened in February 1942 as a 5 group bomber command satellite airfield. 97 Squadron was the first to move in from Conningsby on March 1st 1942 and remained at the airfield flying Lancaster 1 and 3 until April 17th 1943. 97 Squadron was replaced by 619 Squadron that formed there on 18th April 1943 but moved to Conningsby on January 10th 1944.
During January 1944 617 Squadron moved to Woodhall and remained at this airfield until the end of the war. The Petwood Hotel in the village was commandeered along with much local accommodation for the air and ground crew. From this airfield 617 Squadron went on to drop the Tallboy and Grandslam bomb and to sink the Tirpitz. The last operation by 617 Squadron was on April 25th 1945 against Berchtesgaden. On June 18th 617 Squadron moved to Waddington. In October of 1945 the airfield was closed to flying and in 1959 part of the airfield was reactivated to enable 112 Squadron to be based there with 16 Bloodhound missiles. They remained on site until 1965 and the site then became an out station for engine testing. Later Police Dog flights, supply squadron hangers storage engine test facilities and the propulsion and rectification section all used the airfield. These were all uses that effectively treated the airfield as a satellite of Conningsby.
Opened: Feb 1942
Flying ops ceased: 1964
Squadrons based here:
97 Sqn ::
619 Sqn ::
617 Sqn ::
627 Sqn ::
97 Conversion Flight :: 1 Aug 1942 – 1 Sep 1942?merged into 1660 HCU on 7 Oct 1942
112 Sqn :: 1965 – 1967
RAF Woodhall Spa opened as a satellite to RAF Coningsby in Feb 1942 and became No 54 Base Substation in Aug 1943. On 14 Mar 1944 an aircraft from Woodhall Spa dropped the first 22 000lb Grand Slam bomb in anger, helping to destroy the viaduct at Bielefeld.
RAF Woodhall Spa and 617 Sqn are commemorated in a memorial and visitor centre. More details are on the memorials page.
The Viking Way long-distance footpath passes the Petwood Hotel and 617 Sqn memorials in Woodhall Spa.
RAF Woodhall Spa was a Bloodhound base after the war.