STEEPED IN HISTORY
Welcoming visitors by land and air since the 1960s
Wickenby Aerodrome has been an active airfield since the 1960s, and was used as a satellite station for operations by Lancaster Squadrons 12 and 626 during World War Two. RAF Wickenby was a purpose built bomber base constructed in late 1942 and early 1943. It had two T2 type hangars and one B1 type. The B1 and one of the T2 hangars can still be seen on the airfield site.
Today Wickenby is a busy GA Aerodrome with a bright and optimistic future. Post-CoVid, the Cafe has been fully renovated and has a brand new menu, and lots of other exciting things are in the pipeline!
Come and see us.
More about the history of Wickenby Aerodrome
Flight and Ground crews of WR475 believed in 1944
In those two years of active flying, aircraft from Wickenby saw service in many of the most heavily defended raids of the war. Air Officer Commanding One Group said in 1945, of RAF Wickenby; “Wickenby has one of the finest records of any station. More sorties were flown, more bombs were dropped and more enemy aircraft shot down than any other station in the Group”
Before early 1942, the area between Holton cum Beckering and Wickenby was peaceful farmland. Then, one morning the farmer on the site was met by two men with briefcases – rumour has it that the bulldozers of Sir Alfred MacAlpine were at work the same day!
By September 1942, RAF Wickenby was ready to accept its first aircraft – Wellington bombers of 12 Squadron, based at nearby RAF Binbrook. The rapidly growing aerodrome soon became the first station in One Group, Bomber Command, to be equipped with the new Lancaster.
On 7th November 1942, 626 Squadron was formed out of 12 Squadron’s ‘C’ Flight and both squadrons continued to operate until late 1945. Apart from a brief spell with the Mosquitos of 109 Squadron, November 1945 saw the last service flying from RAF Wickenby.
After flying ended, the runways were used for explosive storage and demolition, until the early 1950s.
Aircraft of 12 and 626 Squadrons in 1945
The airfield was deactivated in 1956 and the land sold to local farmer, Mr Cottingham.
A group of local enthusiasts, led by the late John Frecklington and Bob Merewood, persuaded him to allow them to start Wickenby Flying School and Club with three light aircraft. Much hard work, over six years, cleared the runway and restored, to some extent, the Watch Tower.
The airfield was purchased and the new venture obtained a full Civil Aviation Authority airfield licence. Over the next thirty three years this became Wickenby Aviation Ltd an aircraft maintenance company and aircraft charter operator, contracted to many large industrial companies. They trained up to 50 Air Cadets each year and hosted many Rothmans and Marlborough aerobatic teams and the National Aerobatic Championships were often held at Wickenby.
In 1997, John and Bob sold most of the airfield and returned to their first love – classic aircraft. John passed away in August 2017 and we are sorry to report that Bob finally succumbed to a long battle with cancer on 15th May 2022. Wickenby Aviation still retains a hangar and several tailwheel aircraft.
A rather sad Watch Tower mid-Sixties?