The role of RAF Melton Mowbray in World War 2

Many members I expect will be aware that during the WW2 and for some years afterwards there was an active RAF Airfield on the road to Great Dalby. It is still known as the ‘old airfield’ but little remains of what was once an important site.

With that in mind some of you may be interested in the following information sent to us by the Melton Mowbray & District Civic Society.

“Doctor Ray Flude has been researching the work undertaken at our local airfield especially during World War Two and will soon be producing a booklet which tells the full story. This booklet will look at the construction of the airfield and the way that the RAF Station interacted with the town. It will also be considering the importance to the war effort of ferrying aircraft overseas, the way this very complicated process was organised and how the units based at RAF Melton Mowbray worked together to make this happen. To illustrate all this there will be stories of some of the types of aircraft which left Melton Mowbray on their long journeys overseas based on specific individual aircraft which passed through the airfield and how they were used in combat. These stories will include Short Stirlings flying from North Africa to drop arms and supplies to Resistance fighters, De Havilland Mosquito Night Fighters delivered to the US Army Air Force in Italy, Spitfires delivered to the Free French Air Force in the south of France, Grumman Hellcats, Vought Corsairs and Vultee Vengeances, delivered to the British East Indies Fleet and the British Pacific Fleet and taken into combat off the coast of Japan. There were also “Special” deliveries including a Lancaster bomber sent to Australia, a Stirling bomber sent to Moscow and two Avro Ansons, ferried out as gifts to rulers in the Middle East. There was, of course, a human cost to all this. Many were injured or lost their lives in accidents on all parts of the ferrying journey and the booklet will include some details of this.

There is still time to include information from others about the airfield in World War 2. If you have memories of the airfield, or know a friend or relative who has, it would be good to include them so that we have as full and accurate a picture of this important and little known period of Melton’s history as possible.”

If you can help, please contact Melton Mowbray & District Civic Society email address: medeltune@btinternet.com

Secretary.

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