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[RAF Elsham Wolds] [Other Local Airfields] [RAF Waltham/RAF Grimsby]

RAF Waltham aka RAF Grimsby – Lincolnshire


This airfield was situated south of Grimsby adjacent to the village of Waltham with the village of Holton-le-Clay to the east. A small aerodrome was established on the site in 1932. This was a grass field and consisted of a clubhouse and two small hangars and was rather grandly known as the Grimsby Municipal Airport. A successful air taxi service was operated from the airfield by North Sea Aerial and general Transport Ltd and East Yorkshire Motor Services Ltd which provided links between Grimsby and Hedon aerodrome at Hull on a daily basis.

In 1938 the Air Ministry selected Waltham as one of the new Elementary and Reserve Flying Training Schools which were set up and run by civilian contractors. 25 E and RFTS was established at the airfield. The school was operated by the Herts and Essex Aero Club flying Tiger Moths, Miles Magisters and Hind trainers. After basic training the cadets moved on to RAF Flying Training Schools for further flying and service training.

The school was disbanded at the start of WW2 and the airfield was selected for development as one of the new heavy bomber airfields in Lincolnshire.

Work started in 1940 and involved and involved the expansion of the site across the main A16 Louth to Grimsby road almost to the village of Holton-le-Clay on the eastern boundary. The southern boundary was Cheapside Road to Waltham. The sites were to the north of the airfield and the hospital on the other side of the lane near Waltham village. Beside the main gate was Joe's Cafe, a familiar haunt for both air and ground crew. Three concrete runways were laid to the standard triangular pattern the main one being on a north-south axis and roughly parallel to the A16.

Waltham opened in November 1941. The first Squadron to arrive was 142 Squadron with their Vickers Wellingtons Mk II from nearby RAF Binbrook. This unit remained just over a year undertaking bombing raid on occupied Europe.

In December 1942 13 tropicalised Wellington Mk IIIs plus air and ground crews were sent to Blida in North Africa. The home echelon moved to nearly RAF Kirmington airfield in the later part of the month.

142 Squadron was replaced the same month by the reformed 100 Squadron flying Lancasters as a heavy bomber unit with the code letters HW. In just under 3 months the Squadron was operational and flew its first operation on the 4/5th March 1943 when 8 Lancasters undertook a minelaying task. One bomber was missing and another crashed on return. The first bombing operation was several nights later on the 8/9th March 1943 when six Lancasters took part in an attack onBlack Thursday Nuremberg. The Squadron remained active for the rest of WW2 moving to RAF Elsham Wolds in the last few weeks due to the deterioration of the runways at Waltham.

On the 25th November 1943 550 Squadron was formed at Waltham as another heavy bomber Squadron in 1 Group Bomber Command. They also flew Lancasters with the code letters BQ. They began operations the same month when 8 aircraft were tasked to bomb Berlin. Early in the New Year 550 Squadron moved to another local airfield a few miles north at North Killingholme leaving 100 Squadron as the sole resident unit.

Prominet amongst the Elsham Wolds personalties who served at RAF Waltham were


G/C Robert Carter OC RAF Waltham from April 43 to 1944

103 Squadron Holford

W/C David Holford OC 100 Squadron late 43 and killed in a crash near Kelstern on Black Thursday 16th December 1943 on return from a raid to Berlin in bad weather

576_Squadron_Slater rooke

Stan Slater ( Left ) and Basil Templeman-Rooke who both completed their first tours with 100 Squadron in 1943 and went on to be Flight Commanders with 576 Squadron and had distinguished RAF careers post war.

By April 1945 the war was over for RAF Waltham when 100 Squadron moved to RAF Elsham Wolds. After the war the airfield was used for a short time by 35 Maintenance Unit for storage purposes.

In the 50s an attempt was made to resurrect the old Grimsby flying club but that came to nothing. The 22 Gliding School used the airfield for a short time in 1949/50 flying the Slingsby T31 Cadet but moved out in June 1950.

Over the years the site has been sold off for various commercial purposes and agricultural use

The A16 Holton-le-Clay bypass was built north south along the east side of the airfield. There is a memorial to 100 Squadron in a lay-by adjacent to the Louth Road junction into Holton-le-Clay

Most of the runways were torn up to provide hard core for the new A15 Humber Bridge road in the 1970s.

The Waltham Windmill Golf Course and Club is now prominent to the east of the site and the training ground used by Grimsby Town football club just down the road. The southern corner of the site is now occupied by various businesses including the Chequered Flag Karting track, a Golf Range/Putting Course and the Cheapside Farm Pond for anglers

The WAAF canteen and kitchen still survive on the outskirts of Waltham village near the magnificent windmill and houses the Museum of Rural Life including an RAF Grimsby section. Two of the old hangars still remain and appear to be well maintained and in commercial use. Also the watch office which is on a commercial part of the site which I was unable to photograph during my last visit.

100 Squadron Memorial

Memorial to 100 Squadron

Waltham Windmill

Waltham windmill

Waltham Museum of Rural Life

Entrance to Museum of Rural life at Waltham which is housed in the old WAAF canteen and kitchen hut

Waltham WAAF building

Surviving WAAF canteen with windmill in background

Waltham Sign

Sign erected  on access road to industrial section on western part of the old airfield

East B1 Hangar Waltham

Surviving east T2 hangar

Waltham Perimeter track 1

Surviving perimeter track

West B2 Hangar Waltham

Surviving west B2 hangar. In the foreground is the Grimsby Town training pitch

Compiled by David Fell with photos from my archive.


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Latest Additions to this site

1st June 2024 - Robey and Co Ltd

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1st June 2024 - RAF Mertheringham

* 1st May 2024 - Lincolnshire Aircraft Production - WW1

1st May 2024  - Ruston Proctor Lincoln

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Bomber Command interest are the

166 Squadron website

and the

550 Squadron and North Killingholme website.