Opened: 4 Nov 1940 (grass airfield); closed Sep 1942 - Aug 1943, reopened as hard runways; closed 2003 for resurfacing
Hard runways laid: Sep 1942 - Aug 1943
Runway extension: 1954 - 1956
Care and Maintenance: 1964
Closed: still an active RAF station
Airfield code :: AH, CY
ICAO Code :: MWXC > EGXC
Airfield call sign :: MULEBAG
Squadrons based here:
106 Sqn :: Feb 1941 -
97 Sqn :: Apr 1941-
97 Conversion Flight :: 1 Jan 1942
(formed) - 1 Aug 1942
617 Sqn :: Aug 1943 - Jan 1944
619 Sqn ::
61 Sqn :: 1 Feb 1944 - 15 Apr 1944
149 Sqn :: Oct 1950 - Aug 1954
9 Sqn :: 1962 - Nov 1964
12 Sqn :: 1962 - Nov 1964
35 Sqn :: 1962 - Nov 1964
3 Sqn :: Aug 1968 ::
228 OCU :: Aug 1968 - 1987 (later 64(R) Sqn)
83 Sqn ::
19 Sqn :: ?? 1968 -
6 Sqn :: 1970 -
54 Sqn :: 1970 -
41(R) Sqn :: 1 Apr 1972 -
111(F) Sqn :: 1 Oct 1974 - 3 Nov 1975
5 Sqn :: Feb 1988 - 2003
3(F) Sqn ::
XI Sqn ::
17(R) Sqn ::
29(R) Sqn ::
Battle of Britain Memorial Flight :: Mar 1976 -
Construction started in 1937 at RAF Coningsby, and construction was still underway when hostilities were delcared. The base finally opened on 4 Nov 1940 as a 5 Gp bomber airfield. The first resident sqn, 106 Sqn, arrived in Feb 1941. Aircraft operated from here over the years have included Lancaster (1943-45), Lincoln (1945-46), Mosquito (1946-50), Washington (1950-53), Canberra (1953-61), Vulcan (1962-64), Phantom FGR Mk2 (Aug 1968 - ) Tornado F2 (1984-) F3 (88-07) and Typhoon (2004 - present)
Operations began in March 1940 when 4 Hampden bombers of 106 Sqn attacked Cologne. The Sqn was joined in Apr 1940 by 97 Sqn, equipped with Manchester. For this period the main tasks for Coningsby's sqns were mining and bombing operations.
Aircraft from Coningsby flew in the 1000 Bomber Raid in May 1942. Shortly thereafter between Sep 1942 and Aug 1943 RAF Coningsby was effectively closed while hard runways were laid. 617 Dambusters Sqn moved in for a short period between Aug 1943 and Jan 1944 before departing just up the road to RAF Woodhall Spa. Thereafter the 5 Gp Marker Force was established in early 1944 and operated from Coningsby and its satellites at Woodhall Spa and Metheringham. This Force led 5 Gp to its night bombing successes of the last 15 months of the war.
For a short period after the war the resident squadrons operated Lincoln
before these were replaced in 1946 by Mosquito until Mar 1950. Thereafter
the Station was inactive for six months whilst the resident sqns re-equipped
from Mosquito to Washington B1 - 109 Sqn and 139 Sqn moved to RAF
Hemswell as did parenting for Wainfleet Ranges.
The first sqn to be equipped was 149 Sqn.
This was followed by XV, then 44 Sqn. 57 Sqdn was outstationed at Waddington
but was serviced from Coningsby.
In 1966 RAF Coningsby re-roled from bomber to fighter base as it was selected as the first home base for the new Phanton fighter-bomber and transfered to Fighter Command and 38 Gp. It then transfered to Air Support Command (the former Transport Command) in Dec 1967 in line with the Phantom's initial role. In Dec 1967 the first ground-based courses for Phantom aircrew began at 5 School of Technical Training. When the Phantom FGR2 arrived in Aug 1968 the School became 3 Sqn of 228 OCU. 228 OCU began its first aircrew course in Oct 1968.
The first two Phantom sqns were created in 1970 - 6 Sqn and 54 Sqn - in the ground attack role and joined later by 41 (F) Sqn in Sep 1972 in the tac recce role. In Oct 1974 the Station transfered from 38 Gp to 11 Gp within Strike Command, reflecting the change in primary role from ground attack to air defence. This brought 29 Sqn was there from 74 to 87 in the AD role. Treble 1 reformed at Coningsby in 74 before transferring to Leuchars.
The next step change came in Nov 1984 with the arrival of the first Tornado F2 aircraft. 229 OCU reformed to support the aircraft and feeding 29 Sqn with F3s from 1987 and 5 Sqn in 1988.
RAF Coningsby has been home to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) since Mar 1976 :: website. The visitor centre is open to the public Mon - Fri between 10:00 and 17:00 but is closed on Bank Holidays. BBMF have one of the two flying Lancaster bombers, 5 Spitfire, 2 Hurricane and a Dakota. The aircraft all regularly display. One of the Spitfire is the oldest flying model in the world, dating from 1940. Lincolnshire's Lancaster Association continues in its unique position as the official public support group for the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
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