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

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- RAF Leconfield during the Second World War -


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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

RAF Leconfield



   

RAF Leconfield was situated between Beverley and Great Driffield in Yorkshire. The first occupants were 166 Squadron who arrived in January 1937. The station was under 3 group until June 1938 then transferred to 4 Group. In September 1939 Leconfield was taken over by Fighter Command's No. 13 Group, to provide defensive cover for the Humber area.

In 1941 the site was closed to flying whilst the runways were redeveloped, the accommodation becoming a school for No. 15 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit. The site was also used to accommodate personnel assembling to become the new Canadian No. 6 Group. Leconfield was handed back to Bomber Command at the end of 1941, after concrete runways had been laid.

Today the airfield is used as an army base with the RAF maintaing a small presence in the form of an airsea rescue unit.

Squadrons based at Leconfield during the Second World War:

  • No. 51 Squadron
  • 166 Squadron
  • No: 196 Squadron
  • No: 466 Squadron
  • 610 Squadron. 29th Aug 1941 to 14 Jan 1942
  • No. 640 Squadron


 

18th Jun 1941 Spitfire Lost

22nd July 1941 Another Move

29th May 1943 466 Squadron Wellington lost

16th Feb 1944 Halifax Lost

14th Jun 1944 Aircraft Lost

28th Jun 1944 Aircraft Lost

12th Sep 1944 640 Squadron Halifax lost

25th Feb 1945 Halifax Lost

20th April 1945 Ops


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



Those known to have served at

RAF Leconfield

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

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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LAC Ronald George Harveye 76 Squadron

My father LAC Ronald George Harvey was at Holm-on-Spalding-Moor for part of the second world war with 76 Squadron. He joined in 10/4/1940. He was also at Leconfield and RAF Cosford. In March 1945 he was sent to the Middle East and discharged on 18/12/45.

My father died in 1996 and I have his RAF records. If anyone is still alive who knew him or can give me any more information on him and his service I would be very grateful as I am researching my family tree.

Cheryl Wild



LAC Ronald George Harveye 76 Squadron

My father LAC Ronald George Harvey was at Holm-on-Spalding-Moor for part of the second world war with 76 Squadron. He joined in 10/4/1940. He was also at Leconfield and RAF Cosford. In March 1945 he was sent to the Middle East and discharged on 18/12/45.

My father died in 1996 and I have his RAF records. If anyone is still alive who knew him or can give me any more information on him and his service I would be very grateful as I am researching my family tree.

Cheryl Wild



Sergeant Ronald Joseph Hicks Willsher 52 Squadron

My Grandfather served in WW2. My Nan & Grandad were supposed to be getting married & everything was ready for the big day. My Grandfather could not get back in time so they had the party with all the guests as planned & then when he got back they were married.

He died whilst in service & had a military funeral. He was stationed all over the place. I know he was in Penang, Singapore for a while. He was at RAF Leconfield,Yorkshire when he died & is buried at the church there. I do have some photos of his funeral. However there are some missing & I was wondering if anyone knew if there were any copies of the funeral photos?

Cathy Rimmington



Wilf Matthews 51 Squadron

Our crew was stationed with 51 squadron on three separate occasions, as we had three different skippers & two different bomb-aimers, which meant going back to con-unit for the necessary training with these chaps. We did our christening on the Nuremberg trip of 30 March '44, and made a forced landing at Wing (Otu) near Leighton Buzzard, Beds. After which our skipper, F/lt Joe Pawell, who was an American, flying in the RCAF, went to hospital in London with an ulcer, and after that first visit we didn't see him again.

Back on the squadron, we did 'spare bod' trips, during which we lost our bomb aimer, Bob Burgum, on a raid near Aachen. we went back to 'con unit', where we crewed up with new Skipper, F/o Danny King, RAAF. and bomb-aimer 'Grem' Emlyn-Jones. Danny had been with 77 Sdn, where we understand, he pranged on take-off with a bomb-load and was awarded an M.I.D. that he never talked of, but he did wear the emblem. Later on, we met one of his previous gunners, a F/sgt 'Herby' Holroyd.

"Grem' came to us from a crew who had pranged at Garrowby Hill, where he has since erected a memorial to them. I remembered one of his gunners from my training days, a nice guy named Sid Booker. Grem and I are in fairly regular contact. We only did five trips with Danny, and on the last one he had a break-down, 17/7/44, was taken off flying 'heavies', and the last we knew, was on single -engined planes.

Back to con-unit where we teamed up with F/O Bob Gray, and at the end of his training we returned to Snaith to do a 'Bull's- eye' to Overflakee on 17/9/44, after which we carried on the usual squadron life up to the end of the war. The only change being that the squadron moved from Snaith to Leconfield, to do the 'final trip' to Wangerooge on 25/4/45. I am fortunate to still have my log-book and a stack of memories. I'm also grateful to my daughter, who is always ready for my stories, and who found this web-site.

Wilf Matthews



F/O. Thomas Donald McKinlay Gordon 196 Squadron (d.26th Feb 1943)

Tom Gordon was my only uncle but sadly he was killed 5 years before I was born. He was a navigator in 196 Squadron and was in a Wellington X bomber serial BE161 code ZO when it crashed near Middleton on the Wold, Yorkshire on 26 February 1943. There were no survivors. The only other name from the flight that I have found is a Sergeant G.A.A. Ranken.

I have found it extremely difficult to ascertain whether Tom and his fellow crew members were embarking or returning from an operation or whether it was a training flight but there is a suggestion that an unsecured piece of canvas blew out of the bomb bay and lodged in the tail ailerons.

I have plenty of photographs of Tom including some taken during his training in South Africa on Avro Ansons that I would be pleased to post if anyone was interested.

Editors Note: Flying Officer Thomas Donald McKinlay Gordon served with 196 Squadron Royal Air Force during WW2 and was killed on the 26th February 1943.

The squadron was operating from RAF Leconfield, East Riding of Yorkshire from December 1942 to July 1943.

Crew List:

  • Ranken, George Alexander Aitken (1052516) RAFVR; age: 21 Sgt
  • Robinson, Walter (1073018) RAFVR; age: 32 LAC
  • Gordon, Thomas Donald (120884) RAFVR; age: 22 Fg Off
  • Herbert, Dennis (1425487) RAFVR; age: 19 Sgt
  • Smart, Nevill (124547) RAFVR; age: n/k Fg Off
  • Bernick, Lloyd Adolf (R/62500) RCAF; age: 21 WO II

Middleton on the Wolds is in East Yorkshire near Driffield. The aircraft crashed at 1210 hrs some 2 miles E of Middleton-on-the-Wolds, 7 miles SW of Great Driffield, Yorkshire, exploding on impact. The accident was attributable to the canvas bomb screen detaching and fouling the elevator control surfaces. This was apparently during an aircraft test flight.

Jim Gordon



LAC. Thomas Archibald "Nick" Nicholls 466 Sqdn.

Leconfield Circa 1943 photograph by Tom Nicholls

Driffield 1942

Taking a break - Leconfield

Good luck mascot used by unknown 466 pilot

I often wondered why my mother called my dad Nick, when his name was Tom. The reason was that it was his nickname in the RAF during the war when they had first met. My dad was a ground crew mechanic in the RAF and worked with the RAAF Squadron 466 at both Driffield and Leconfield. He worked as an aircraft engineer for the rest of his life. He told me that he enjoyed going up for a 'spin' with the pilots when they weren't on missions - apparently it was customary (given the time) for pilots to offer mechanics a quick flight after they had been working on a problem engine. If they declined they would be told 'get back under the bonnet and take another look, when you're ready to go up then it's fixed'! When my mother heard about these 'spins' she made him a tiny bear, no bigger than a matchbox, as a good luck mascot. One of the pilots took a shine to it and borrowed it every time he went on a mission, he would sit it on the dashboard in the cockpit so it could 'see' where it was going. It must have brought him luck as the pilot returned the bear and himself safely home every time. My dad said he was the proud owner of the only bear that ever bombed the Nazis.

I'm afraid I don't know the names of anyone else in his war-time photographs. Sadly he passed away in 1994 and, as is often the case, I wished I'd asked him more about his war-time experiences because I don't even know the name of the pilot - but I still have the bear.

Lynda Nicholls







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