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Thread: Bassingham Fen Bombing Range?

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    Default Bassingham Fen Bombing Range?

    During mid 1943 I have records confirming that a number of Lancaster crews carried out a bombing practise at 'Bassingham Fen' which is apparently about four miles north of Cranwell . However, I cant find any record of a bombing range there, and in fact it seems to be a village! I know several of the crews tended to list the nearest large town or city when in fact they were practising over a waterway or bombing range, so can anybody help by telling me what was at Bassingham Fen?

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    If its of use, sounds similar but there is a 'Beckingham' Army Rifle Range' which has facilties for tank firing close to Bassingham. Its approx.just North of the A17 road, a few miles WNW of Cranwell. Although Ive heard of Bassingham, I have not heard of a 'Bassingham Fen Bombing Range' near Cranwell and consider the site an odd place to use for Lancaster bombers but do not know its military history apart from a German PoW camp somewhere in the area during WWII. The bombing ranges in Lincolnshire are on the coastal mudflats from Holbeach going North. They were very active in pre-war days (Sutton Bridge APC) through 1943 to recent years. Quite a few have now closed down. Sorry I can't be of further help.

    Norman
    Last edited by namrondooh; 24th February 2012 at 14:10. Reason: amending opening line to read 'Beckingham'

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    For what it's worth ......

    A quick google and it suggests that "Bassingham" was a decoy site for Swinderby (not sure if these sites were used for bombing practice)

    Also, the following link certainly suggests that Bassingham Fen was used for crew practice by one of the HCU, (although it doesn't mention bombing practice)

    http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/WORLDWAR2/2008-08/1218199564

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    Default Bassingham Fen Bombing range

    Bassingham Fen (Serial 1074) was used by 5 Group and controlled at some point by Waddington. It was requisitioned in 1940 and finally closed and cleared of explosives (Practice bombs only) by 1956
    It was a relatively small range and had a danger area of 500yds radius and was used both day and night.

    The target was around SK 939 605 and the direction arrow believed to have been at SK 944 596.

    I have been unable to confirm the exact location of the target but the above would seem to fit. The wartime grid reference was given as 47/404798 (47 being the one inch map of the period).

    Hope this helps

    Peter

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    Thank you Peter, that is superb, and just what I was after. So far I had found nothing, although I suspected they werent bombing the village!

    Alex

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    Default Bassinghan Fen Bombing range Lincolnshire

    Quote Originally Posted by Airman 1 View Post
    During mid 1943 I have records confirming that a number of Lancaster crews carried out a bombing practise at 'Bassingham Fen' which is apparently about four miles north of Cranwell . However, I cant find any record of a bombing range there, and in fact it seems to be a village! I know several of the crews tended to list the nearest large town or city when in fact they were practising over a waterway or bombing range, so can anybody help by telling me what was at Bassingham Fen?
    I was just a lowly national service L A C driver mechanic, but unique to those days as other trades did not include drivers the M T supplied a truck and driver and you got into all sorts of places this way from coal delivering around the billets to camping under canvas with the aircraft apprentices !, one job was taking the armorers out to the bombing range this was back in 1950/ 52 . I cannot find the location on Google earth but it was located on a small country lane just outside Bassinghan village with a stream running through the fields alongside the lane, the stream was about 100/200 yards from the road I cannot be specific. The actual target was a small concrete circle on the far side of the stream There were two plotting towers located some quarter mile or so apart where the 'erks' plotted I think they only used smoke and flash bombs. The most likely location I think would be west of the village as this appears to be the only place where a lane runs near to a stream. Ken Horton

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    PNK, Hi,

    Would that possible UK Grid Ref of the target correspond to 53.133398 -0.597939 in decimal degrees on GE? If not, what should it be? I ask because the current GE image of that area was taken at a time when soil marks (as opposed to crop marks) should be readily visible. Any other GE decimal locations (Arrow, quadrantal towers, etc,) would be of some interest!

    TIA

    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ken horton View Post
    I was just a lowly national service L A C driver mechanic, but unique to those days as other trades did not include drivers the M T supplied a truck and driver and you got into all sorts of places this way from coal delivering around the billets to camping under canvas with the aircraft apprentices !, one job was taking the armorers out to the bombing range this was back in 1950/ 52 . I cannot find the location on Google earth but it was located on a small country lane just outside Bassinghan village with a stream running through the fields alongside the lane, the stream was about 100/200 yards from the road I cannot be specific. The actual target was a small concrete circle on the far side of the stream There were two plotting towers located some quarter mile or so apart where the 'erks' plotted I think they only used smoke and flash bombs. The most likely location I think would be west of the village as this appears to be the only place where a lane runs near to a stream. Ken Horton
    Hi,
    Looked fo Bassingham Fens but couldn't find any mention In the records it usually states NFT bombing only, but there are one or 2 entries in the diary which may be of interest.
    (You mat have the info already - but just in case

    11 04 1943 . Took off 3pm for bombing detail. Dropped 8 bombs from 10,000 ft on Wainfleet not too cloudy.Made good landing on return.
    16th. Did NFT and bombing Epperstone (or Efferstone) Landed 1pm.
    20th Did NFT air firing at Epperstone. Took off at 11.15 dropped off F/O at Swinderby. Landed back 1.30 .
    24th April.NFT and bombing. At Wainfleet 11.30 -12.30pm.
    6th May.NFT and dropped 4 bombs on Owthorpe range taking off about 3pm.Vis pretty ropey.Target tonigh supposed to be Duisberg but scrapped.
    11thMay afternoon dropped 4 bombs on Owthorpe.
    16th May.Down to flights and did some formation with Gilmore and ended up buzzing the dome on low level formation.
    18thbMay2.15 for briefing on Squadron formation in afternoon. Took off and met other kites 80 miles out in North Sea.Flew back in formation and dropped 2 bombs in stick on Wainfleet
    I flew with W./C Johnston in no 3 position with Price no 2. Landed back about
    5.15. Evening briefed for practice bombing at Wainfleet from 20,000. Got out to Kite at 1.am but again u/s. Couldn't go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Resmoroh View Post
    PNK, Hi,

    Would that possible UK Grid Ref of the target correspond to 53.133398 -0.597939 in decimal degrees on GE? If not, what should it be? I ask because the current GE image of that area was taken at a time when soil marks (as opposed to crop marks) should be readily visible. Any other GE decimal locations (Arrow, quadrantal towers, etc,) would be of some interest!

    TIA

    Peter Davies
    Peter,

    I just tried to post a long reply but forgot to tick "Remember Me" so lost it!

    The locations I have are based on a poor quality 1942 aerial photograph.

    Target: 53.131518, -0.594056
    Quadrant and arrow (approx): 53.125660, -0.590133
    Second Quadrant (approx): 53.133888, -0.585253

    The target was a circle and cross and probably chalk in a trench rather than concrete. It would have been 80ft in diameter.

    Hope this helps as I have a long list of aerial photos to order to improve the accuracy of plots for quadrant which barley register on an AP taken fron 15,000ft!

    All the best

    Peter Kirk

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    Peter, Hi,

    Mni tks yrs. Had a look at GE. I can "see" a circle centred at 53.131469 -0.594398 on the 1 Jan 2007 image but it is 135 yards in diameter! There are, however, a number of paleo river (or stream) channels showing as soil-marks - which one would expect in this neck of the woods - which might be confusing the issue.

    Nothing I can "see" at the other two locations.

    But, as my Tutor would say when staring at AP/GE images, "If you look long enough you will 'see' what you are looking for"!!!!

    If it was V important then a Resistivity Survey (or similar) would find where the target had been! But, no doubt, it would also 'find' some ancient remains! The archaeologists would move in. The farmer would lose the use of much of his field for some time! Farmers in this area are capable of calling down plagues of nearly everything on you. I would, in all sincerity, advise against such survey(s)!

    HTH

    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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