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Thread: Bombing Ranges - Early war Group records

  1. #1
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    Default Bombing Ranges - Early war Group records

    With the archives now closed I wondered if members had access to copies of Group Records for the 1939/1940 as I have incomplete information on a number of ranges that were proposed and set-up during this period. The following list are bombing ranges that are mentioned but not followed up on.

    Harlaxton - The airfield was definitely used as a bombing range in 1939 and into 1940 but when did this cease? (12 FTS)
    Blackpits - Mentioned as being used by Little Rissington in 1939. What happened to it.
    Ingham - In use as a low level bombing range by 5 Group in May 1940 but was this the future airfield site?
    Toft Grange - Mentioned in May 1940 as a forthcoming range for 5 Group. Did it go ahead or was it taken over by an airfield or decoy, although the latter were proposed as bombing ranges in the desperate struggle to find land for ranges.
    Dunholme - A U-boat target was set up at this site and referred to as U-49, probably because it was used by 49 Sqn to practice low attacks. Known usage was Oct 39 to Apr 40 but again was this the airfield site?
    Rearsby - Another early proposal but doubtful if it went ahead (1 Group)
    Adventurers Fen - This was almost at the point of starting to be built but local opposition was fierce and it was halted, but when? Now part of the Wicken Fen reserve. (2 Group)
    Biggleswade - Another early proposal but doubtful if it went ahead (6 Group)
    Aultmore - Intended for live bombing but no idea where it was, but almost certainly over the sea. (6 Group)
    Eaton Bray - Another early proposal but doubtful if it went ahead (7 Group)
    Bodney - Intended as a low level range for Watton and used by 21 Sqn for bombing in March 1941 but was also their scatter field. When did it start use as a range as it was proposed in July 1940 (2 Group)
    Abbots Morton - Listed as a proposal in 1940 and awaiting completion in July 1941 but was it actually opened as there is no subsequent mention of it (6 Group)
    Yardley Hastings - set up as a range and used for a year or so until the nearby Army depot started to encroach and become a risk. The range was closed and replaced by the one at Lavendon during 1942. When did it open and who used it? (7 Group)
    Foxcote - Actually two ranges close together and probably opened in 1940. One was definitely the old disused canal and was definitely used. Was the second one nearby and why two ranges? Both fell out of use at some point but when? (7 Group administered by Bicester)

    In my research I have tried to get at lest two positive references to a particular site and also an exact location but with so many records that could hold potential information it is like a needle in a haystack. Hopefully at least some of these appear in Group records. There were many more ranges set up and closed down during the war and a large number in 1943/4 and some even appear on airfield record site plans like Culmhead, Ibsley and Great Sampford. Others show bombing range markings but have no mention and maybe this will be a later post. All this excludes the pre-war airfields, most of which had bombing ranges built into the design.

  2. #2
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    PNK,
    It might be the case that Rearsby (Leicester) was considered as a bombing range 1939/40. But I suspect that if it had Lord Beaverbrook (when he became Min of Aircraft Production in May 40) would have put a stop to it. Rearsby became home to Taylorcraft/Austers and the CRO!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 26th March 2020 at 11:02.
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Thanks, that sound a reasonable reason, even if the proposal was not on the same site, it would have interfered with movements.

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