Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

 

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Bomber Command Bases


The expansion of Bomber Command in 1942/3 began to put a severe strain on the organisational administration of it's units resulting in the introduction of an intermediate level of command between Group HQ's and Station.  Thus in March 1943 was born the Base system.  A Base consisted of a Base Station with one or two sub-stations.  Each Base was commanded by an Air Commodore and initially identified by the name of the Base Station and the role of the Base, e.g. Topcliffe Training Base, Leeming Operational Base.  However, from September 1943 Bases were re-designated by a two-number identifier, the first number indicating the Group and the second the number of the Base within that Group, the first in each Group being the Group's training Base.  Maps showing the locations of the bases are available in the Members' Area.

Basic crew training was undertaken at Operational Training Units (OTU), controlled by the three training Groups and did not come under this system.  However, having completed crew training, usually on Wellingtons, conversion to the four engined 'heavies' was conducted at a Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU).  These HCU's were located at the group's training base until November 1944, when all HCU's were transferred to No 7 (Training) Group.  On transfer the Base identifier changed, with the first number becoming a 7, still indicating the Group but the second number now indicated the base's original Group, e.g. 71 came from No 1 Group and 75 came from No 5 Group.

Besides the three training Groups (No's 91, 92 and 93), No's 8 and 100 Groups did not use this system

No 1 Group

No 11 Base

Lindholme, Faldingworth (until February 1944), Blyton, Sandtoft (February 1944), Sturgate (September 1944) formed January 1943, transferred to No 7 Group, 3 November 1944

 

No 12 Base

Binbrook, Grimsby/Waltham, Kelstern (September 1943).  Formed January 1943

3 May 1943?                      A/Cdre A M Wray

 

No 13 Base

Elsham Wold, Kirmington, North Killingholme (November 1943), Ingham (March 1944), Hemswell (October 1944).  Formed ? 1943

1 Feb 1943                        A/Cdre R Ivelaw-Chapman (shot down 7 May 1944)

xx May 1944                    

xx Dec 1944                      A/Cdre G P H Carter

 

No 14 Base

Ludford Magna, Wickenby, Faldingworth.  Formed 24 December 1943.

24 Dec 1943                        A/Cdre R S Blucke

 

No 15 Base

Scampton, Fiskerton, Hemswell, Dunholme Lodge (October – November 1944).  Formed 30 October 1944 when Scampton was transferred from No 5 Group.

 

No 3 Group

No 31 Base - Stradishall

This was formed at Stradishall, on 26 April 1943 being designated No 31 Base on 16 September1943.  Stradishall itself was home to No 1657 HCU, whilst its satellites were Chedburgh (Nos 214, 614 and 218 Sqns and No 1653 HCU), Feltwell until 7 August 1944 (No 192 Sqn and No 3 LFS),  Ridgewell until 1 June 1943 (90 Sqn),  Waterbeach until 25 August 1943 (No 1651 HCU), Wratting Common from 30 April (No 90 Sqn, No 1651 HCU and No 195 Sqn), Shepherd’s Grove from 11 May 1944 (No 1657 HCU), Birch from 31 July 1944 and Gosfield and Matching from October 1944.  It transferred to No 7 Group as No 73 Base on 1 November 1944.

xx xxx 1943                        A/Cdre J Silvester

xx xxx xxxx                         A/Cdre H I Cozens?  

No 32 Base

Mildenhall, Lakenheath (until 1 May 1944), Newmarket, Methwold (From April 1943), Tuddenham (October 1943).  Formed 1 Mar 1943.  Disbanded  April 1945

 

No 33 Base 

Waterbeach (September 1943), Mepal, Witchford, Woodbridge.  Formed 25 August 1943 at Waterbeach, being redesignated No 33 on 16 Sep 1943 and disbanded on 1 Sep 1935.

xx Oct 1943                        A/Cdre O R Gayford

xx Aug 1944                        ?

 

No 4 Group 

No 41 Base

Marston Moor, Rufforth, Riccall.  Formed September 1943

xx xxx 1944                        A/Cdre C D Adams

xx xxx 1944

 

No 42 Base

Pocklington, Elvington, Snaith, Full Sutton (May 1944), Burn (November 1944).  Formed 1 Mar 1943

24 Mar 1943                         A/Cdre G A Walker

 

No 43 Base

Driffield, Leconfield, Lissett Formed 6 June 1943 as Driffield Base, renamed No 43 Base, 17 Sep 1943.  Disbanded 1 Sep 1945

6 Jun 1943                           A/Cdre F W Walker

xx Apr 1944                         A/Cdre J R Whitley

 

No 44 Base

Holme-on-Spalding Moor, Melbourne, Breighton (from November 1944).  Formed June 1943

 1 May 1943                       A/Cdre G S Hodson

19 Oct 1944                        A/Cdre D L Thomson

 

No 5 Group

No 51 Base

Swinderby, Winthorpe, Wigsley, Syerston (until 30 October 1944).  Formed 15 Mar 1943, transferred to No 7 Group, 30 November 1944.

15 Mar 1943                        A/Cdre I E Bussell

 

No 52 Base

Scampton, Fiskerton, Dunholme Lodge (October 1944 only).  Formed January 1943, Scampton transferred to No 1 Group, 30 October 1944.

 

No 53 Base

Waddington, Skellingthorpe, Bardney.  Formed December 1942

24 Mar 1943                      A/Cdre J L Kirby?

xx xxx xxxx:                        A/Cdre A Hesketh

 

No 54 Base

Coningsby, Woodhall Spa, Metheringham (October 1943).  Formed August 1943

xx xxx 1944                        A/Cdre A C H Sharp

 

No 55 Base

East Kirkby, Spilsby (September 1943), Strubby (July 1944).  Formed 15 April 1944

 

No 56 Base

Syerston, Fulbeck, Dunholme Lodge?, Balderton.  Formed 30 October 1944.  Disbanded October 1945.

xx Dec 1944                    A/Cdre J W F Merer 

 

No 6 (RCAF) Group

No 61 Base

Topcliffe,  Dishforth, Dalton (from March 1943), Wombleton (from October 1943)Formed 1 March 1943 as No 6 (RCAF) Group Training Base; renamed No 61, 16 September 1943; transferred to No 7 Group, 30 November 1944.

  5 Apr 1943                        A/Cdre C M McEwen RCAF

25 Jun 1943                        A/Cdre B F Johnson RCAF

17 Feb 1944                        A/Cdre R E McBurney RCAF

16 May 1944                       A/Cdre F G Wait RCAF

 1 Sep 1944                        A/Cdre J L Hurley RCAF

  19 Sep 1944                      A/Cdre F R Miller RCAF

 

No 62 Base

Linton on Ouse, East Moor, TholthorpeFormed  1 June 1943 as Linton-on-Ouse Operational Base.  Renamed No 62 Base, 6 Oct 1943.  Disbanded 15 July 1945, when all it’s units were transferred to Eastern Air Command as part of the proposed ‘Tiger Force’

18 Jun 1943                        A/Cdre C M McEwen RCAF

29 Feb 1944                       A/Cdre A D Ross RCAF

28 Jun 1944                        A/Cdre J E Farquier RCAF

19 Sep 1944                       A/Cdre J L Hurley RCAF

31 May 1945                      A/Cdre J G Kerr RCAF

 

No 63 Base

Leeming, Skipton on Swale (May 1944)Formed 1 May 1944.  Disbanded , 31 August 1945

 1 May 1944                       A/Cdre J G Bryans RCAF

13 Jan 1945                        A/Cdre F R Miller RCAF

30 May 1945                      A/Cdre J G Kerr RCAF

 

No 64 Base

Middleton St George, Croft.  Formed 1 May 1944. Disbanded 15 June 1945, when all it’s units were transferred to Eastern Air Command as part of the proposed ‘Tiger Force’

 1 May 1944                       A/Cdre R E McBurney RCAF

22 Jan 1945                        A/Cdre C R Dunlap RCAF

25 Apr 1945                       A/Cdre H B Godwin RCAF

30 May 1945                      A/Cdre H T Miles RCAF

 

No 7 Group

No 71 Base

Lindholme, Blyton, Sandtoft, Sturgate.  Formed 3 November 1944 by renaming No 11  Base.

 

No 72 Base 

Bottesford, Langer.  Formed November 1944.

 

No 73 Base

This was formed on 1 November 1944 by redesignating No 31 Base at Stradishall when No 7 Group took control of all the station housing the Heavy Conversion Units.  However at the same time the Base was re-located to RAF North Luffenham, with Stradishall (No 1657 HCU) becoming a satellite.  North Luffenham was home to No 1653 HCU whilst the other stations were Woolfox Lodge (No 1651 HCU), Bottesford (No 1668 HCU) and Langer (No 1669 HCU), the last two only joining the Base on 1 April 1945.  No 1657 HCU disbanded on 15 December 1944 and Stradishall reverted to No 3 Group.  The Base was disbanded on 1 August 1945.

xx Nov 1944                        A/Cdre C D Adams

 

No 74 Base

Marston Moor, Rufforth, Riccall, Acaster Malbis Formed December 1944 by renaming No 41 Base.

 

No 75 Base

Swinderby, Winthorpe, Wigsley.  Formed 30 November 1944 by renaming No 51 Base.

30 Nov 1944                        A/Cdre E I Bussell

 

No 76 Base

Topcliffe, Dalton, Dishforth, Wombleton, Gamston.  Formed 9 November 1944 by renaming No 61 Base. Disbanded, 1 September 1945  

9 Nov 1944                        A/Cdre F R Miller RCAF  

13 Jan 1945                        A/Cdre J G Kerr RCAF  

1 Aug 1945                        A/Cdre N W Timmerman RCAF  

 

AOCs of unknown bases:

1944 - 1945                        A/Cdre H H Down

1944 - 1944, 1944 - 1945                        A/Cdre H V Satterley (No 5 Group?)

1944 - 1945                        A/Cdre G P H Carter

1944 - 1945                        A/Cdre S L G Pope

Possible Base Commanders?

A/Cdre A McKee (24 Mar 1943)

J H N Whitworth     

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