Lincolnshire is famous for many reasons – whether it be award winning produce, the vast rolling countryside or the many periods of architecture that run through its historic City not to mention the many market towns spread across the landscape. Lincolnshire has it all.
Lincolnshire is criss-crossed by war time airfields and are reminders of the county’s role during both World Wars and at the time, had 37 airfields that housed fighters for targeting Zeppelins as well as training aircraft and airships.
Aviation Heritage in the Heart of Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire has several airfields that are still operational and serve modern day RAF including Digby, Waddington and Cranwell in North Kesteven alone. On 1 April 1916, Royal Naval Air Service Station Cranwell, part of HMS Daedalus, opened as a training station to teach officers to fly aircraft such as BE2cs, Avro 504s and Sopwith Camels and later airships and kite balloons. Training continued until 1 April 1918 and the Royal Naval Air Service and Royal Flying Corps were amalgamated to form the Royal Air Force we know today.
RAF Cranwell became the first Military Air Academy in the world and opened on 5 February 1920 under the command of Air Commodore C.A.H. Longcroft. The prestigious College Hall building was completed in 1933 and stands an iconic landmark for those have served past and present.
Cranwell’s association to aviation is limitless and on the 1 April 2016 the station will have served 100 years which is an incredible achievement that should not be missed. Furthermore, North Kesteven District Council will host their event 100 Years of Aviation at their local visitor centre – Cranwell Aviation Heritage Centre which tells the story of Cranwell’s development from the first Military Air Academy to its present day operation.
From Friday 1 to Sunday 3 April the centre will house special one off exhibitions including Royal Flying Corps uniforms and artefacts dating back to World War I. Research is also being carried out at the College Hall library at RAFC Cranwell to devise a timeline that will illustrate the 100 years to present day showing visitors the importance that RAF Cranwell has in Lincolnshire’s aviation history.
Cranwell Aviation Heritage Centre are now working in partnership with the Heritage and Ethos Centre, located ‘behind the wire’ who will also be a part of this event and will also be exhibiting replica uniforms as well as smaller uniforms for children to try on and imagine what it would’ve been like during the war.