History of RAF Wratting Common

This list is not exhaustive. If you know of other events that should be included here please contact me.

30 April 1943 First service men arrive, from RAF Stradishall.
1 May 1943 S/Ldr. W. K. Young arrived to assume temporary command.
30 & 31 May 1943 90 (90) Squadron arrive, equipped with Stirlings. Gp. Capt. A. Earle took over as Station Commander.
3/4 June 1943 90 Squadron's first operation from West Wickham: 10 Stirlings carried out a mine-sowing mission at Deodars.
9 June 1943 A serious accident occurred when some bombs dropped from the bomb bay of a Stirling, causing a fire in the aircraft and four airmen required hospital treatment.
9 June 1943 Mosquito LR498 of 1409 (Met.) Flight (Oakington) make emergency landing after part of the aircraft broke away in flight.
11/12 June 1943 14 Stirling's of 90 Sqn. attacked Dusseldorf.
Mid June 1943 14 90 Sqn. Stirling's attacked industrial targets at Le Creusot and Le Breuil. The Squadron was now starting to use some of the newer Mk.III Stirlings.
21/22 June 1943 18 Stirling's of 90 Sqn. attacked Krefeld, with the loss of one plane EE887, captained by P/O H. N. Peters.
June 1943 Five Stirlings and their crews were lost in operations in June 1943.
June 1943 Four Stirlings and their crews were lost in operations in June 1943.
13 July 1943 Spitfire crashed on take off.
July 1943 RAF West Wickham starts to be used for the storage of Horsa gliders.
4 July 1943 Terrible accident in which a Stirling crashed shortly after take off. 5 crew died.
25 July 1943 Gp. Capt. Earle was succeeded by W/Cdr. W. V. Clube as the Station Commander.
July 1943 Five Stirlings and their crews were lost in operations in July 1943.
7 August 1943 With 27 operationally fit crews, 90 Sqn. added a third Flight, "C" Flight, enabling large scale missions to be carried out.
17 August 1943 90 Sqn. took part in the Bomber Command raid on the German rocket research station at Peenemunde. All 90 Squadron aircraft returned safely, though Bomber Command as a whole lost forty aircraft.
21 August 1943 RAF West Wickham was renamed RAF Wratting Common.
23/4 August 1943 90 Sqn. mounted a night raid on Berlin. One of only two raids on Berlin by 90 Sqn., as the Stirling proved too weak for the capitals defences.
31 August 1943 90 Sqn. mounted their second, and last raid on Berlin. One of only two raids on Berlin by 90 Sqn., as the Stirling proved too weak for the capitals defences.
22 September 1943 19 Stirling's of 90 Sqn. took part in a raid on Hanover. One aircraft was attacked and, with the crew seriously injured and the plane almost put out of action, they managed to limp back to the UK and crash landed at RAF Lakenheath. The surviving crew members received medals for gallantry.
September 1943 Three Stirlings and their crews were lost in operations in June 1943.
Late September /
Early October 1943
90 Sqn. mounted six operations, three on targets within Germany and three sowing mines around the Frisian Islands and the Kattegat.
End of September 1943 Station strength was now 1,348 personnel.
7 October 1943 During 90 Sqn.'s final mine sowing operation, one Stirling was shot down in the North Sea but six of the seven crew members were picked up by a Royal Navy destroyer.
8/9 October 1943 90 Sqn.'s operation from Wratting Common, a raid on Bremen..
13 October 1943 90 (90) Squadron transferred from Wratting Common to Tuddenham. The move was marred, however, by the deaths of all but the rear gunner aboard Stirling EF426 that day.
19-21 November 1943 1651 Heavy Conversion Unit transferred to Wratting Common from Waterbeach.
23 November 1943 A Stirling of 1651 HCU crashed into a Nissen hut near the control tower due to engine failure, luckily no one was hurt.
End of November 1943 Station strength was now 1,514 personnel.
1 December 1943 Station was reorganised as a Conversion Unit within a Conversion Base, with three Wings; SHO, Training and Servicing
17 October 1943 New Station Sick Quarters opened on No. 3 Site.
1 December 1943 Photography Block brought into use.
24 December 1943 Gymnasium opened.
January 1944 Squash Court opened. Work begins on B.1 Hangar. Machine gun range came into use. New briefing room and rest room occupied.
23 February 1944 New telephone exchange installed.
5 March 1944 New Station Church, St. George's Chapel, was dedicated.
7 March 1944 Synthetic Navigation Centre put into use.
11 March 1944 A Stirling of 1651 HCU was burned out whilst refueling. Again no one was hurt.
April 1944 1651 HCU carried out fighter affiliation practices with the Hurricanes of 1688 (Bomber Defence) Training Flight from Newmarket
June 1944 37 crews completed their conversion training and moved on to operational squadrons.
15 July 1944 A Stirling of 1651 HCU 'D' Flight crashed near Wendens Ambo in Essex after suffering total loss of control, and completely burnt out, killing all eight on board.
28 July 1944 A Stirling of 1651 HCU suffered total engine failure; 8 of the crew baled out and survived, but the Captain, P/O Hocking, was killed when the aircraft crashed near March in the fens.
August 1944 32 crews completed their conversion training and moved on to operational squadrons.
September 1944 40 crews completed their conversion training and moved on to operational squadrons.
October 1944 40 crews completed their conversion training and moved on to operational squadrons.
End of March 1944 Airfield closed for runway repair work.
30 March 1944 Horsa gliders begin to leave, to be made ready for use in the forthcoming operation Overlord.
10 April 1944 The last Horsas leave.
6 June 1944 A Wellington of 69 Squadron, crash landed colliding with a Stirling BF470 of 1651 CU, killing 2 men.
9 June 1944 All buildings in the initial building contact had been completed.
24 June 1944 Base Flying Instructors' School was formed at Wratting Common
28 June 1944 Church service celebrating the fifth anniversary of the formation of the WAAF.
28 June 1944 Station strength was now 1,770 personnel, 12% of whom were WAAFs.
17 July 1944 A visiting Walrus amphibian aircraft crash landed on the Carlton to West Wickham road.
July 1944 Further much needed repairs to all 3 runways.
26 July 1944 A V1 flying bomb ('doodle bug') exploded just outside the airfield perimeter, besides the Haverhill road.
6 October 1944 29 Lancasters from 576 Squadron diverted to Wratting Common, being unable to reach their base after operations.
7 October 1944 16 Halifaxes from 424, 427 and 429 Squadrons diverted to Wratting Common, being unable to reach their base after operations.
1 November 1944 1651 HCU start to depart, as they begin their transfer to Woolfox Lodge, where they were to convert onto Lancasters.
10 November 1944 The last personnel of 1651 HCU, together with their commander Gp. Capt. M. V. M. Clube, leave for Woolfox Lodge.
11 November 1944 Gp. Capt. L. J. Crosbie, arrived to become the new Station commander.
13 November 1944 195 Squadron, equipped with Lancasters, arrived from Witchford.
16 November 1944 195 Sqn. mounted its first operation, a daylight raid on a military concentration area at Heinsberg by 15 Lancasters.
20 November 1944 18 aircraft attacked an oil plant at Homberg, but not that successfully.
21 November 1944 12 aircraft attacked the oil plant at Homberg again.
23 November 1944 16 aircraft attacked another oil plant, this time at Nordstern (Gelsenkirchen).
27 November 1944 11 aircraft attacked the marshalling yards at Cologne in a daytime raid.
28 November 1944 14 aircraft attacked Neuss, in their first nighttime mission.
30 November 1944 'C' Flight became operational.
1 December 1944 195 Squadron was host to a party of Russian's, who ostensibly came to watch the Lancasters being refuelled.
4 December 1944 21 aircraft attacked Oberhausen.
5 December 1944 21 aircraft attacked Hamm. One aircraft did not return.
6 December 1944 17 aircraft attacked Merseburg.
8 December 1944 21 aircraft attacked Duisberg. One aircraft did not return.
11 December 1944 21 aircraft attacked Osterfeld. One aircraft did not return.
12 December 1944 195 Squadron suffered its first losses, of 3 aircraft, during a 17 aircraft raid on Witten.
15 December 1944 10 aircraft attacked Siegen but the operation was aborted and the aircraft had to return early.
23 December 1944 21 aircraft attacked Trier; 20 returned safely, the other had to land at Woodbridge due to flak damage.
24 December 1944 21 aircraft bombed Bonn airfield.
26 December 1944 19 aircraft bombed St Vith.
27 December 1944 20 aircraft bombed Rhedt marshalling yard.
28 December 1944 19 aircraft bombed Cologne marshalling yard.
31 December 1944 One aircraft was lost in a raid over Germany, Vohwinkel marshalling yard. Mid-upper gunner baled out, rest of crew were reported as being safe.
End of December 1944 Station strength was now 1,409 personnel.
3 January 1945 17 aircraft bombed Castrop Rouxel.
5 January 1945 19 aircraft bombed Ludwigshaven.
6 January 1945 17 aircraft bombed Neuss.
7 January 1945 5 aircraft bombed Munich.
8 January 1945 5 aircraft bombed Munich.
11 January 1945 19 aircraft bombed Krefeld.
13 January 1945 21 aircraft bombed Saarbrucken. One aircraft failed to return but at least 5 of its crew were safe.
15 January 1945 18 aircraft bombed Erkenschwick.
16/17 January 1945 19 aircraft bombed the synthetic oil plant at Wanne-Eickel.
22 January 1945 15 aircraft bombed Hamborn.
28 January 1945 18 aircraft bombed Cologne.
29 January 1945 14 aircraft bombed Krefeld.
January 1945 196 sorties were carried out in the month, and 885 tons of bombs dropped on various marshalling yards and synthetic oil plants.
1 February 1945 18 aircraft attacked Munchen-Gladbach.
2 February 1945 19 aircraft attacked Weisbaden.
3 February 1945 17 aircraft attacked Dortmund Hansa coking plant.
7 February 1945 19 aircraft attacked Wanne-Eickel.
8/9 February 1945 20 aircraft bombed Hohenbudberg.
13/14 February 1945 21 aircraft bombed Dresden.
14/15 February 1945 21 aircraft bombed Chemnitz.
18 February 1945 20 aircraft bombed Wesel.
19 February 1945 21 aircraft bombed Wesel.
20/21 February 1945 8 aircraft bombed Dortmund.
22 February 1945 21 aircraft bombed Scholven.
23 February 1945 14 aircraft bombed Gelsenkirchen.
25 February 1945 21 aircraft bombed Kamen.
26 February 1945 17 aircraft bombed Dortmund.
27 February 1945 17 aircraft bombed Gelsenkirchen.
28 February 1945 16 aircraft bombed Gelsenkirchen.
February 1945 195 Squadron made 286 sorties, many of them very successful, and 1090 tons of bombs were dropped.
February 1945 The Open Forum Discussion Group of the WAAF NAAFI met to discuss 'Wartime Marriages'.
1 March 1945 16 aircraft bombed Kamen.
2 March 1945 14 aircraft bombed Cologne.
4 March 1945 13 aircraft bombed Wanne-Eickel.
5 March 1945 16 aircraft bombed Gelsenkirchen.
6/7 March 1945 16 aircraft bombed Salzbergen, and 5 attacked Wesel.
7/8 March 1945 14 aircraft bombed Dessau. One aircraft missing.
9 March 1945 16 aircraft bombed Datteln.
12 March 1945 21 aircraft bombed Dortmund.
14 March 1945 21 aircraft bombed Datteln.
17 March 1945 18 aircraft bombed Gneisenau. One aircraft missing.
19 March 1945 18 aircraft bombed Gelsenkirchen. One aircraft landed in Brussels.
21 March 1945 14 aircraft bombed Munster.
22 March 1945 16 aircraft bombed Bocholt.
23 March 1945 7 aircraft bombed Wesel.
27 March 1945 21 aircraft bombed Altenbogge.
April 1945 195 Squadron was only called upon to attack eight targets in the month, as the war came to a close.
4 April 1945 21 aircraft bombed Leuna.
9 April 1945 25 aircraft took part in the Bomber Command Kiel, in which the German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer was sunk.
13 April 1945 22 aircraft bombed Kiel.
14 April 1945 22 aircraft bombed Potsdam.
18 April 1945 26 aircraft bombed Heligoland.
19 April 1945 10 aircraft bombed Munich.
22 April 1945 20 aircraft bombed Bremen.
24 April 1945 Last combat raid by 195 Squadron, when 21 Lancasters attacked a railway bridge at Bad Oldsloe, between Hamburg and Lubeck.
28 April 1945 15 aircraft were detailed for supply dropping, but this was cancelled.
29 April 1945 195 Squadron began its role in operation MANNA, the dropping of food to the starving Dutch, initially on Rotterdam airfield and at The Hague.
30 April 1945 19 aircraft of 195 Squadron carried out a similar mission, dropping food in Holland.
1 May 1945 21 aircraft of 195 Squadron dropped food in Delft.
2-5 May 1945 195 Squadron continued to drop food in Delft.
7 May 1945 16 Lancasters dropped food in The Hague.
8 May 1945 VE Day. The war in Europe was over.
8 May 1945 The final sorties in Operation MANNA by 195 Squadron were made, with 8 aircraft dropping supply packs on Rotterdam airfield.
10 May 1945 10 Lancasters of 195 Sqn. flew to Juvincourt in France to repatriate 214 former POWs as part of operation EXODUS.
11 May 1945 19 aircraft collected a further 336 ex-POWs next day and took them to Tangmere, Sussex.
23 May 1945 Starting this day and for several more, Lancasters were used to fly ground crews over Germany to see the results of their sustained efforts, under a scheme known as Operation Baedeker.
May 1945 Wratting Common came 2nd in the Bomber Command contest for the best all round Station.
May 1945 195 Sqn. participated in operation EXODUS for much of the month, by the end of which 2804 former POWs had been brought home.
22 June 1945 Major inspection by the AOC of 3 group, AVM R. Harrison CB CBE DFC AFC, accompanied by the CO of 31 Base, Air Comm. Silvester and Gp. Capt. H. E. Hills OBE
July 1945 195 Sqn. was reduced in size from three Flights to two.
24 July 1945 31 Base disbanded and RAF Wratting Common became a self-accounting Station, with responsibility for RAF Birch and RAF Gosfield.
24 July 1945 onwards 195 Sqn. Lancasters were used to drop redundant incendiary bombs into the North Sea.
Late July 1945 -
Early August
195 Sqn. Lancasters were used to repatriate ex-POW's from Bari as part of operation Dodge. The flights back to the base after the passengers had been disembarked elsewhere were the last flights made by 195 Squadron.
13 August 1945 Air Vice Marshal R. Harrison, the AOC of 3 Group, was the guest of honour at a dinner in the Officers' Mess.
14 August 1945 195 Squadron formally disbanded, and all but five of the Lancasters were ferried away for breaking up.
26 September 1945 RAF Wratting Common transferred to 47 Group, Transport Command.
26 September 1945 Gp. Capt. Morse left to take over RAF Mildenhall and S/Ldr. W. L. Farquharson took his place.
End of September 1945 Station strength was now 1,070 personnel.
5 October 1945 Stirling Mk. V transport aircraft of 51 Squadron Stradishall begin to arrive at Wratting Common.
End October 1945 51 Squadron, with 4051 Servicing Echelon, detached to Wratting Common to allow runway repairs to be carried out at Stradishall.
December 1945 Various sites and buildings within the off-field infrastructure begin to close.
January 1946 51 Squadron and most of 4051 SE returned to Stradishall.
14 January 1946 Wratting Common became an accommodation satellite of RAF Stradishall.
February 1946 The last Stirlings returned to Stradishall.
February 1946 Disposal of surplus barrack equipment and technical stores begins.
25 to 28 March 1946 Avro York of 51 Squadron Stradishall use Wratting Common for landing practice.
End of March 1946 Air Traffic Control section at Wratting Common closed down due to lack of 'trade'.
End of March 1946 Station strength was now down to 220 personnel.
End of March 1946 Sites Nos. 1 and 4 closed down. Site No. 2 was prepared for use by German prisoners who were expected shortly.
April 1946 A ground-based conversion course was started for aircrews converting onto the new York aircraft, by No. 2 Section of 1552 (BABS) Flight.
End of April 1946 1552 (BABS) Flight returns to Stradishall.
6 April 1946 76 German prisoners arrive to work at Wratting Common and at Stradishall.
End of April 1946 Station strength was now down to 147 personnel, plus 96 of 51 Squadron's personnel on attachment.
June 1946 The last recorded flights at Wratting Common, by Avro York aircraft.
28 May 1989 Permanent memorial was unveiled and dedicated at the former Weston Woods Farm entrance to the airfield.
Notice: The majority of the photographs on this website are © Ron Pearson and/or those who supplied them to him, and may not be reproduced, whether online or any other form, without prior written permission. All remaining contents of this website where not otherwise attributed are Copyright © Colin Manning and may not be copied or otherwise reproduced, whether online or any other form, without prior written permission.