Saturday, May 3, 2014

The roads and Lincolnshire Airfields

Photo copyright John Firth, licenced under creative commons licence
When we first moved to Lincolnshire, I was amazed by the curves in the roads.  A road will be straight for some distance and then suddenly take a right hand bend, followed by another right hand bend in the opposite direction.  It's what seems to attract bikers from all over the country to Market Rasen (particularly Willingham Woods on Wednesdays and at the weekends).

John was told that the strange road layout was due to the airfields that were built in the second world war.  I found some defunct airfields on a map, and thought that would account for one or two of the sharp bends, but surely not all of them? I was a bit sceptical about this explanation, I must admit.

However, on a visit to Horncastle recently, we had a lovely tea in the Bridge teashop there, and saw a map showing all of the airfields that were in use during the war - and there were dozens all over Lincolnshire - 46 according to Patrick Otter, who has written a book on the subject, although there were also dummy airfields and secret airfields which may not be included in that number.  The teashop sells maps which show the position of all the airfields... and I don't seem to be able to find a link to that online.  I have found this list.

Many of the airfields have been dug up and returned to their original state as farmland, but there are some which still exist and others which are now derelict but remain. Certainly there is a growing body of work for family historians who are interested in the subject because a member of their family served in the RAF during the war.  Patrick Otter's book seems to be a good starting poin.

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