US Army Air Force Station No 484
Updated: 12 Feb 12
Airfield Opened :: Jan 1944
Closed :: 1947
Airfield code :: FO (USAAF Stn Code : FK)
ICAO Code ::
Units based here:
82nd Troop Carrier Wing USAAF :: 1943 -
313th Troop Carrier Group ::
2704 Sqn RAF Regt :: 1945 - Oct 1945 (disbanded)
2709 Sqn RAF Regt :: ?? - Oct 1945 (disbanded)
2791 Sqn RAF Regt :: 1945 - Dec 1945 (disbanded)
3 RAF Regt Depot :: - 1946 -
223 Sqn :: Dec 1959 - Aug 1963
The site of RAF Folkingham was surveyed and approved as suitable for the construction of a bomber airfield during the rush to expand before 1939. The terrain of Folkingham, however, was not optimum for a large airfield as it was a shallow dome of clay and the area began service in 1940 as a daylight dummy K-site and Q-site decoy for RAF Spitalgate (see Q22A Decoy page) situated one mile the north-east of the final airfield site.
Class A Airfield
Finally in early 1943 contractor Messrs Lehane, MacKenzies & Shand were tasked to construct a Class A airfield with the conventional triangular layout of converging, concrete, runways. The main runway was 6000 ft. The domestic and technical sites were dispersed and built rapidly using clusters of Maycrete or Nissen huts built by Bovis Ltd. The Huts were either connected, set up end-to-end or built singly and made of prefabricated corrugated iron with a door and two small windows at the front and back. They provided accommodation for 2189 personnel, including communal and sick quarters.
During airborne operations, when large numbers of airborne parachutists were moved to the airfield, tents would be pitched on the interior grass regions of the airfield, or wherever space could be found to accommodate the airborne forces for the short time they would be bivouacked at the station prior to the operation. Construction work took most of 1943 to complete, and during the year command passed to USAAF Ninth Air Force Troop Carrier Command.
USAAF Station 484
US personnel started to arrive in January 1944 to prepare for the 313th Troop Carrier Group to transfer in from Sicily. On 5 Feb 1944 it opened as a USAAF IX Troop Carrier Command station flying four squadrons of C-47s, Nos 29th, 47th, 48th and 49th Troop Carrier Squadron. These Sqns made up the 313th TCG which in turn was part of 52nd Troop Carrier Wing. During the year their strength grew to an authorised fleet of 96 Douglas C-47A Skytrains.
Folkingham was very much involved in Op OVERLORD. A total of 72 C-47s and C-53s of the 313th dropped paratroops of the 82nd Airborne Division's 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment near Picauville in France on 6 Jun 1944 and subsequently carried out a re-supply mission on 7 Jun. next day. From these operations, four C-47s were missing and many damaged by light flak.
Later missions in 1944 included supply drops into the Netherlands and the drop of British Paratroopers in Op MARKET GARDEN. The 313rd finally cleared Folkingham in Mar 1945 as they moved on to forward airfields in NW Europe. Some time after Apr 1945 it passed back from USAAF control and was administered by RAF Maintenance Command.
RAF Regiment Depot
After the USAAF departed there was little flight activity at Folkingham. Folkingham was also 3 RAF Regt Depot after the war and a location where a number of RAF Regt Sqns (2704, 2709, were posted for disbandment. The RAF Regiment vacated Folkingham in 1947 for RAF Catterick and the station passed to care and maintenance.
British Racing Motors (BRM) racing motors made use of Folkingham's empty runways from 1949 to develop and test their cars, until the arrival of THOR. They were displaced to RAF North Witham in 1958.
The Age of the Missile
RAF Folkingham later served as a post-war Thor missile base with 3 IRBM launchers under 223 (SM) Sqn, from Dec 1959 until Aug 1963. These were subordinated to the North Luffenham Wing rather than the Hemswell Wing. 223 reformed at Folkingham as a Thor strategic missile squadron on 1 Dec 1959, disbanding on 23 Aug 1963. A local historian has written his own account :: click here. The three Thor missiles at Folkingham were placed on 15 minute readiness for firing, fuelled and ready for launch, during the Cuban Missile Crisis in November 1962.
Return of the Motor Car and Agriculture
When the Thor site was closed in 1963 BRM moved back from RAF North Witham but only remained for a few years. In the mid 1960s the testing track closed and the airfield was sold off to agricultural interests.
Today little remains of Folkingham's runways and buildings, now used as vehicle compound of Nelson M Green & Sons Ltd. There are hundreds of vehicles lining the runway and peritrack, used to source spare components. View photos on 28 Days Later.
Little of Folkingham's later incarnations survives, although there are remnants of the airfield buried in nearby Temple Wood, they date from the site's many earlier incarnations. All that remains of Project Emily are three sites with a characteristic ground signature on the Folkingham side of the airfield.
Most of the runways and perimeter track were removed after the sale of the airfield by BRM for hardcore aggregate, with some single-lane agricultural roads remaining that generally outlines the former concreted area. No evidence of the technical site located to the northeast of the airfield remains. Evidence of some dispersed personnel sites appear to the north and northeast of the airfield, with some abandoned concrete roads now in abandoned, overgrown areas.
The southern half of the airfield partially remains containing several single and double-loop hardstands, along with a full-width length of the 00-18 north-south main runway. The wartime bomb dump exists in Temple Woods.
Folkingham on Wikimapia
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