RAF Newton – Notts, UK
Newton was one of numerous airfields built during the late 30s as part of the UK government RAF expansion programme. Situated south of the village of Newton, six miles east of Nottingham, it was completed in 1938.
The site included five Type C hangers on the eastern side of the airfield. The technical and administrative buildings and accommodation were all of brick construction with flat roofs and most with central heating. At its peak Newton was able to accommodate 1773 males and 304 females. The airfield was a popular posting for those stationed there because of its close proximity to the city of Nottingham.
During 1940/41 a total of 24 hardstands for aircraft were laid to the south and north of the site and this was later increased to 35. Three grass runways were established, one at 1230 yards and two more at 770 yards.
In June 1940 Newton was under the control of No. 1 Group Bomber Command and 103 Squadron and 150 Sqn were posted in after their return from France in July. Both squadrons were flying Fairey Battles at the time and they were held mainly in reserve for the expected invasion. Both undertook numerous training tasks to prepare for this eventuality but also made a small number of night bombing raids to targets on the continent.
In October 1940 both squadrons were re-equipped with Vickers Wellington bombers. After a period of training on the new type 103 and 150 Sqns were heavily involved in bombing operations against targets, mostly in Germany and France.
In July 1941 both units moved to airfields which were better equipped with concrete runways for the operation of heavy bombers. 103 Sqn departed for Elsham Wolds and 150 Sqn for Snaith.
Newton then became home to No 16 (Polish) Flying Training School which provided basic and advanced training for hundreds of Polish airmen serving in the RAF. This unit was disbanded in October 1946.
Various training activities continued and the station became home to the headquarters of No 12 Group, Fighter Command until 1958 when Technical Training Command took over and several ground schools followed in the 60s and 70s.
Flying continued with Newton being the home of the East Midlands University Air Sqn with Bulldog aircraft and the civilian operated Slingsby Fireflies on behalf of RAF Cranwell. In 1996 part of the site was sold and the airfield closed in November 2000.
Newton has been in the news in recent years following government proposals to use the old airfield as a reception and holding centre for illegal immigrants. This has been the cause of considerable controversy and protest from the local people however it seems any plans of this nature have now been abandoned.
Source RAF Newton Tim O’Brien
Item written by David Fell