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RAF Kirmington in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- RAF Kirmington during the Second World War -

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RAF Kirmington


Opened in 1942 by Bomber Command the Kirmington was home to 150 sqd flying Wellingtons. In January, 1943 166 Squadron arrived and remained at Kirmington for the remainder of the war, flying Wellingtons then Lancasters.

After the war the station closed after being used for dispersal sales. In 1970 the airfield was bought by the County Council. Today the site is home to Humberside International Airport.
Squadrons based at Kirmington during the Second World War:

  • 150 Squadron.
  • 166 Squadron


12th Jun 1944 Aircraft Lost

4th Apr 1945 12 Squadron Lancaster lost

If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.

Those known to have served at

RAF Kirmington

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Amos Albert . Sgt
  • Ballantine. Gordon . F/Sgt.
  • Bows Ronald. Squadron Leader (d.20th February 1944)
  • Box Distinguished Flying Medal. Charles Leslie.
  • Bracey Jake . Sgt
  • Ceeney George Edmund Henry. (d.28th Nov 1942)
  • Clark DFC. . J. F. . F/O.
  • Cullen Peter Guthrie. Flt.Sgt. (d.24th Dec 1944)
  • Eaves . Sgt
  • Findlayson R. C.. Sgt.
  • FitzGerald DFM. John Ernest. Flt.Sgt. (d.27th Aug 1944)
  • Gibbon. Homfray R . Sgt
  • Hillyard. Edward P . Sgt
  • Holt William Alexander. Sgt. (d.27th Aug 1944)
  • Keen. Roy . Sgt
  • Kelly. Harry . Sgt
  • Kerns Robert.
  • Kerns Robert. Flight Sergeant
  • Leigh Robert. Sgt. (d.24th Sep 1944)
  • Magness. K.. Sgt (d.28th Nov 1942 )
  • Martin. Charles W. . F/O
  • Mitchell William W . M/Sgt
  • Nesbitt Earl D . P/O.
  • Palmer George William. F/O. (d.27th Aug 1944)
  • Peters Edward Thomas. W/O.
  • Petersen DFM.. Andreas. F/Sgt.
  • Powley DFC, AFC. Francis Sidney. Wing Commander (d.5th April, 1945)
  • Reeves Raymond Algernon . F/Sgt. (d.15th Feb 1944)
  • Riley. D. R.. Sgt (d.28th Nov 1942 )
  • Russell James Balfour. F/O. (d.27th Aug 1944)
  • Scargill DFM.. Raymond. Sgt.
  • Schafer Jacob. Flt.Sgt. (d.27th Aug 1944)
  • Short. . Sgt.
  • Smith. D. G.. Sgt (d.28th Nov 1942 )
  • Soo Ronald R.. (d.14th Jan 1944)
  • Thomas Meirion.
  • Warmington DFC. . W. I. . F/O.
  • Wilkins John Ambrose. P/O.
  • Wilkinson Cecil. Sgt. (d.14th October 1944)
  • Winder. E . Sgt
  • Wood. J.. Sgt (d.28th Nov 1942 )
  • Wright Jim . Sgt

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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Robert Kerns 166 Squadron

My father, Robert Kerns, a Canadian from Alberta served with 166 Squadron from 1943 to 1945. Dad was a navigator, did his 'tour of ops'and then was promoted to flight sargent with Jim Dunlop's crew. Dad is almost 97 years old and we think the last surviving member of his crew. In south central Alberta, in a ranching town called Nanton, some people hauled an old Lancaster built in Alberta into town in 1985. Since then, the Nanton Lancaster Museum of which we belong, has grown into a world class museum dedicated to Lancasters. We dedicated a plague with a photo of Dad's crew to Nanton. A replica of the noseart from "Beer Barrel," the plane they flew and in which did 118 ops, was painted on a six foot piece of Lancaster 'skin.' When the new wing of the museum is built, this noseart will be hung along with the plagues we gave Nanton. We are endeavouring to preserve the memory of those who flew for the 'freedom' we so casually enjoy today. Thanks for listening. Rose Balcom

Rose Balcom

Flight Sergeant Robert Kerns navigator 166 Squadron

My father, Robert Kerns, a Canadian from Alberta, Canada served with 166 Squadron from 1943 to 1945. Dad was a navigator and did his 'tour of ops' then promoted to flight sergeant with Jim Dunlop's crew. Dad is almost 97 years old and we think the last surviving member of his crew. In south/central Alberta, in a ranching town called Nanton, some people hauled an old Lancaster built in Alberta, into town in 1985. Since then, the Nanton Lancaster Museum to which we belong, has grown into a world class museum dedicated to Lancasters. We dedicated a plaque with photo of dad's crew to Nanton. When a new wing is built, replica nose art from "Beer Barrel" the plane they flew in which did 118 ops, painted on a six foot piece of Lancaster 'skin' will be hung along with the plaques we gave Nanton. We are endeavouring to preserve the memory of those who flew for the 'freedom' we so casually enjoy today. Thanks for listening

Rose Balcom

Squadron Leader Ronald Bows 166 Squadron (d.20th February 1944)

I have just started looking into my uncle's history and have come upon your website. He was Squadron Leader Ronald Bows, Squadron 166 at Kirmington. He died on 20th February 1944. He never returned from his mission and was never found.

If anyone knows any details or photos of him I would be delighted to receive them. His widow Thelma Bows never remarried and died several years ago. He lived at Chapel Lane, Nettleham, near Lincoln. He flew Lancasters I believe.

Karen Smith

Meirion "Tommy" Thomas 166 Squadron

My Grandfather, Meirion Thomas, served at Kirmington during the war with 166 Squadron and flew in Lancasters. he was also in Number 1 Squadron at Tangmere at the start of the war. This is a long shot but if there is any one with information on him or knew of him or has any photos, please get in touch.


Wing Commander Francis Sidney "Logger" Powley DFC, AFC B flight 166 Squadron (d.5th April, 1945)

photo taken sometime in 1945 of my namesake uncle W/C Francis (Frank) Powley (centre) along with S/L Gee (second from right) and other officers of #153 squadron at Scampton. Both Powley and his friend and colleague Gee, who survived the war, were earlier with #166 squadron at Kirmington.

My namesake Canadian uncle, W/C Francis (Frank) Sidney Powley, was posted CO of "B" Flight 166 squadron based at Kirmington in July 1943. He flew missions from Kirmington until Sept-Oct 1944 when he was promoted to W/C of the re-formed 153 squadron, which was moved to Scampton for the duration of the war. Many of the 166 crews and aircraft were attached to 153. Following his initial flight training at RAF Depot Uxbridge in 1937, Powley was posted first to #4 Flying Training School at Abu Sueir in Egypt and later to 27 squadron in Kohat and other bases in the Northwest Frontier Province of British India. He also served as CO of the Advanced Training School of #1 Flying Training School at Ambala. Powley was listed as missing on the night of 4-5 April 1945 when the Lancaster RA 544 he was piloting on a mine-laying mission off the coast of occupied Denmark was shot down by a German night-fighter. As it happens, I have been living and working as a news journalist in Denmark for the past 30 years. My recent research into the uncle I never knew has turned up some interesting facts and anecdotes both from his time in India and later in Bomber Command in England. Naturally, I would very much appreciate any information, pictures or other material people might have about Powley and his activities at Kirmington.

Frank L. Powley

F/Sgt. Raymond Algernon "Pickle" Reeves 166 Squadron (d.15th Feb 1944)

Sorry I don't have any stories to relate about the chap listed He was a relation of mine. Unfortunatley, he was killed 6 months before I was born. My family would like to know all about *Raymond Algernon Reeves Smith.

He came from Maidstone where I believe his parents ran a pub in Melville Road. (I would imagine that he would have been a popular lad because of that).

We do know that he flew in a Lancaster and that he and his crew

    F/O R J Robinson,
  • Sgt H K Harrison,
  • Sgt G F Clark,
  • F/S *R A R Smith,
  • F/S D J Stokes,
  • Sgt N O Jones &
  • F/O B O Wright
(all RAF VR)took off at 17.30 from Kirmington & were shot down by a night fighter & the aircraft crashed at 20.30 into a forest 2 km from Freudenburg & 4Km SE of Ribnitz - Damgaretn.

The crew rest in the Berlin 1939 - 45 Cemetery, F/O Wright is named on panel 210 of the Runnymeade memorial.

We know that Raymond was married to a lady called Elsie Agnes (we don't know what her maiden name was, or anything else about her or if there were any children).

If any one knows anything about the crew mentioned above and Elsie Agnes my family and I would be very happy to hear about it, as Raymond is a missing link in our family tree. You might think that Algernon is an unusual name but it appears it was a family name, my Grand Father was called Algernon Smith he was a photographer (had his own business) in Wrexham, North Wales. If anybody out there has any photos or memories of either people mentioned please let me know. My Grandfather took photos of staff at a munitions factory near Chester, he may have taken photos of other places during the war. Yours sincerely

Richard Smith

Sgt. Robert Leigh 166 Sqdn (d.24th Sep 1944)

I am seeking any information on my lost relative. His name was Bob Leigh and was at Kirmington with Lancaster Bomber Sqdn 166, as a rear gunner. He died when his plane was shot down over Germany. He was 19 years old. I would really appreciate any info. His name is on the Memorial at Runnymede.

Jaime Leigh

Ronald R. Soo 166 Squadron (d.14th Jan 1944)

Ronnie Soo was my great uncle who was unfortunately killed at 23, whilst serving in the RAF over Hanover, Germany.

I recently had a baby boy and named him Ronnie and was keen to do some family history. Ronnie's elder brother Frank Soo was the first man of ethnic origin to play for England football team but as it was during the war he did not get any official caps.

Rachael Soo

Charles Leslie Box Distinguished Flying Medal 166 Sqd.

My granddad, Charles Leslie Box flew as a wireless operator at Kirmington from October to December 1943, on B flight. I have his flying log but don't understand what a lot of his log says, but they were almost shot down on a bombing raid to Leipzig and he was awarded the DFM. His pilot was Flight Sergeant Foran and the the aircraft were either written down as B, D or H (JB 151).

Lorna Spacey

Sgt. Raymond Scargill DFM. 166 Sqd.

I am trying to do some research in to my great uncle, Raymond Scargill. He was a mid upper gunner on Lancasters at Kirmington 1943-44.

    The crew;
  • pilot; F/SGT S.G Coole.
  • Flt.Eng. Sgt A.W.Downs.
  • B.A. Sgt R.S.Rennie {Canadian}.
  • Nav. F/Sgt C.L.Burthwhistle
  • W.OP. Sgt F Hollyoak
  • Mug. Sgt Raymond Scargill
  • R.G.Sgt A.B.Ashworth.166 Sqd.
The aircraft they flew was named Fairfighter's Revenge due to their earlier one name Fairfighter having crashed. My uncle was awarded the DFM for his efforts in rescuing the rear gunner. I would like to know if any of the others were awarded the same

Dean Mooring

Flt.Sgt. Peter Guthrie Cullen 166 Squadron (d.24th Dec 1944)

Peter Cullen was my uncle. Sadly I never knew him as I wasn't born until a few years after the war ended. Peter and his fellow crew members were shot down and killed on Christmas Eve 1944. He was 23 years old and had just spent some leave at home where he persuaded my grandparents to allow him to have a huge party; a premonition perhaps that this would be the last time that he would be home.

He is buried in Rhineberg Cemetery in Germany. I know very little about his service except that he was based at RAF Kirmington.

Rona Thomson

F/Sgt. Andreas Petersen DFM. 166 Sqd.

Danish air gunner Andreas Petersen, RCAF, served with 166th squadron in 1944. He was rear gunner on I. Item, and in 1985 he published a book -in danish - about his time in the RCAF, (Natbomber - ISBN 87-00-85782-3). Here's the list of the crew as taken from his book. (surnames missing for those of the crew he was no longer in touch with in 1985) Pilot, Flying Officer W.I. Warmington, RAF; Navigator, Flying Officer J.F. Clark, RAF; Bomb aimer, Flight Sergeant Jack, RAAF; Wireless operator, Sergeant Don, RAF; Flight engineer, Eric, RAF; Mid upper gunner, Bill, RAF; Rear gunner, Flight Sergeant Andreas Petersen, RCAF

In 1985, W.I. Warmington was a flight instructor in Wanganui New Zealand, and John F. Clark a retired bank manager, (Midland bank) somewhere in Yorkshire.

Arrival date is listed as April 27th 1944. On June 7th, Andreas Petersen had one confirmed kill, an ME410 night fighter shot down on an operation against the German supply lines near Versailles. On August 1st, 1944, the crew finished their tour of operations, having narrowly avoided being transferred to a Pathfinder squadron. In November, 1944, the following medals were awarded to members of the crew:- W.I. Warmington - DFC; Jack F. Clark - DFC; Andreas Petersen - DFM.

After the tour ended, Andreas Petersen was transferred to RCAF Mountain View, where he served as an instructor for the air gunners who were to go on in the post-war permanent RCAF staff. During his time there he was promoted to Pilot Officer.

Thomas A. Frederiksen

George Edmund Henry Ceeney 150 Squadron (d.28th Nov 1942)

George Edmund Henry Ceeney was killed in action, on the 28th of November, 1942, during his service with 150 Squadron. My familys memories are incorrect according to records, and I am looking to find more accruate information about George.

Update: His crew mates were: Sgt K.Magness, Sgt J.Wood, Sgt D.G.Smith and Sgt D.R.Riley, all were killed. Their aircraft was a Wellington MkIII, serial number BK194 carrying squadron markings JN-B and their mission that night was dropping mines in the North Sea, close to the coast of Europe. The aircraft vanished without trace and no bodies were recovered

Keith Ceeney

P/O. John Ambrose Wilkins 166 Squadron

John Ambrose Wilkins was a Western Australian who joined the RAAF in Pearce, Western Australia. He was posted to RAF squadron 166 as a pilot, based in Kirmington. His crew was mostly Australian and included Garth Munro, Burness and Hutchison. He flew Wellingtons. John and his crew used to drink at the Marrowbone and Cleaver in Kirmington, which still contains memorabilia from that time.

Bill Wilkins

W/O. Edward Thomas Peters Kirmington 166th Squadron

This is a poem my dad, Ted Peters wrote for all flight engineers it has been seen all over the world.

Alan Peters

Sgt. R. C. Findlayson 166 Squadron

Because of a soldier's bible, I am involved with Tain Museum in the north of Scotland and have become involved in researching a Roderick Finlayson who was a piper in the First World War. Members of his family moved to Aberdeen-shire and I have established that a Rory Finlayson (possibly a nephew) left the area about 1939 to join the RAF to be a pilot. (Rory may be a family name for Roderick)

I have received a copy extract from Bomber Command Losses 1945. On page 93 it relates that Lancaster 111 from 166 Squadron, operating out of RAF Kirmington was shot down over Pforzheim; two of the crew survived; one being a Sgt. R. C. Finlayson who became a POW. On page 206 listing POW's Jan - May 1945 and under Squadron 166 Sgt. R.C. Finlayson is also listed there. I am trying to confirm if Sgt. Finlayson is a a member of the family I am researching. Can anyone help?

John A. Gordon

Sgt. Cecil "Jack" Wilkinson 153 Sqdn. (d.14th October 1944)

Sgt Cecil Wilkinson was killed on 14th October 1944 during a raid on Duisburg. His aircraft was JB297. He is buried in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Grave 16.C.9.

F/O. George William Palmer 166 Squadron (d.27th Aug 1944)

Flying Officer (Air Bomber) George Palmer was the Son of James and Frances Lucy Palmer; husband of Sybil Eileen Palmer, of Weston, Lincolnshire. He was 29 when he died and is buried in the Gl. Rye Churchyard in Denmark. The crew flew from RAF Kirmington on a mine laying sortie on 27th of August 1944. The target was Danzig. They were shot down over Denmark killing all the crew. They lie together in a collective grave.

s flynn

F/O. James Balfour Russell 166 Squadron (d.27th Aug 1944)

Flying Officer (Navigator) James Russell was the Son of Sidney and Marie Constance Russell, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He was 31 when he died and is buried in the Gl. Rye Churchyard in Denmark in a collective grave with his crewmates.

s flynn

Flt.Sgt. Jacob Schafer 166 Squadron (d.27th Aug 1944)

Flight Sergeant (Air Gunner) Jacob Schafer is buried in the Gl. Rye Churchyard in Denmark, in a collective grave with his crewmates.

s flynn

Sgt. William Alexander Holt 166 Squadron (d.27th Aug 1944)

Sergeant (Wireless Op./Air Gunner) William Holt was the Son of Thomas William and Janet Temple Holt, of Gateshead, Co. Durham. He was 20 when he died and is buried in a collective grave in the Gl Rye Churchyard in Denmark.

s flynn

Flt.Sgt. John Ernest FitzGerald DFM 166 Squadron (d.27th Aug 1944)

Flight Sergeant (Air Gunner) John FitzGerald was the Son of John Ernest and Effie Viola Fitzgerald, of New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada. He was 19 when he died and is buried in a collective in Rye Churchyard in Denmark.

s flynn

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