RAF Fulbeck


RAF Fulbeck
USAAF Station AAF-488
Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svgPatch9thusaaf.png
RAF Fulbeck during World War II, 18 April 1944. About six weeks before D-Day, dozens of gliders are dispersed around the airfield.
Airport typeMilitary
OwnerMinistry of Defence
OperatorRoyal Air Force
United States Army Air Forces
LocationFulbeck, Lincolnshire, England
Built1940 (1940)
In use1941-1970 (1970)
Elevation AMSL39 ft / 12 m
Coordinates53°02′57″N 000°39′32″W / 53.04917°N 0.65889°W / 53.04917; -0.65889Coordinates: 53°02′57″N 000°39′32″W / 53.04917°N 0.65889°W / 53.04917; -0.65889
RAF Fulbeck is located in Lincolnshire
RAF Fulbeck
RAF Fulbeck
Location in Lincolnshire
Direction Length Surface
ft m
00/00 0 0 Asphalt
00/00 0 0 Asphalt
00/00 0 0 Asphalt
Douglas C-47A Skytrain of the 74th TCS/434th TCG at Fulbeck.
Douglas C-47A-15-DK Skytrain Serial 42-92879 of the 303d TCS/442d TCG at Fulbeck in Normandy invasion markings.

Royal Air Force Fulbeck or more simply RAF Fulbeck is a former Royal Air Force station located 6.3 miles (10.1 km) east of Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire and 10.9 miles (17.5 km) west of Sleaford, Lincolnshire, England.

The airfield is located about 106 miles (171 km) north-northwest of London and was opened in 1940 when it was used by both the Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Forces. During the war it was used primarily as troop carrier airfield for airborne units. After the war it was closed in 1948.

Part of the site remains in use as Fulbeck Rifle Ranges.[1]



It was known as USAAF Station AAF-488 for security reasons by the USAAF during the war, and by which it was referred to instead of location. Its USAAF Station Code was "FB".

434th Troop Carrier Group

In October 1943, the 434th Troop Carrier Group arrived at Fulbeck from Baer AAF, Indiana. The group was assigned to the 53d Troop Carrier Wing and flew Douglas C-47/C-53 Skytrains. Operational squadrons of the 434th and fuselage codes were:

The 434th TCG had 56 C-47s and started training with some detachments elsewhere until finally moving to RAF Welford on 10 December 1943.

442d Troop Carrier Group

At the end of March 1944 the 442d Troop Carrier Group arrived at Fulbeck from Baer AAF, Indiana. The group was assigned to the 50th Troop Carrier Wing and flew Douglas C-47/C-53 Skytrains. Operational squadrons of the 442d and fuselage codes were:

  • 303d Troop Carrier (J7)
  • 304th Troop Carrier (V4)
  • 305th Troop Carrier (4J)
  • 306th Troop Carrier (7H)

The 442d TCG moved to RAF Weston Zoyland in mid-June after having taken part in the D-Day operations.

440th Troop Carrier Group

During the following two months there was little activity at Fulbeck until some C-47s of the 440th Troop Carrier Group arrived in September 1944 from RAF Exeter to use Fulbeck as part of Operation Market, the air component of Operation Market-Garden.

RAF Bomber Command use

The IX Troop Carrier Command relinquished the airfield back to the RAF in late September and No. 5 Group Bomber Command moved in the distinguished No. 49 Squadron from Fiskerton, an airfield which was transferred to No. 1 Group the following month.[2]

On 2 November the recently formed No. 189 Squadron arrived from Bardney having taken part in its first operation the previous day. Both Nos. 49 and 189 Squadron's Lancasters remained based at Fulbeck until April 1945. No. 49 flew some 60 raids from the airfield losing 15 aircraft and No. 189 took part in 40 raids with 16 aircraft lost. No. 189 moved back to Bardney on the 8th of the month and No. 49 moved to Syerston on the 22nd. On the morning of transfer, a No. 49 Squadron Lancaster making a low farewell pass across the airfield crashed into the technical area and of the resulting 24 casualties among air and ground personnel, 15 were fatal.[2]

Bomber Command operations from Fulbeck cost 38 Lancasters, either failing to return or destroyed in crashes.[2]

1945 Avro Lancaster Crash

on the 22 April 1945 an Royal Air Force, Avro Lancaster Mk III (PB463) of the 49 Squadron had taken off from the base bound for RAF Syerston. Shortly after lifting off the aircraft caught fire & crashed into a depot. All Six crew & Fifteen on the ground died[3][4][5]

Current use

RAF Fulbeck memorial.

The runways, apart from narrow strips used as farm roads, were removed in the 1970s and all but three of the hardstandings but the perimeter track was kept intact. Small sections of the 30 and 10 runway ends, however, still exist in their full width. At one time Fulbeck was proposed for a nuclear waste disposal site.

See also



Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  1. ^ "DTE East Public Information Leaflet" (PDF). Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Halpenny 1981, p. 00.
  3. ^ https://www.49squadron.co.uk/personnel_index/detail/Elkington_GF
  4. ^ https://www.baaa-acro.com/crash/crash-avro-683-lancaster-iii-raf-fulbeck-21-killed
  5. ^ https://www.bcar.org.uk/new1945-incident-logs


  • Halpenny, Bruce Barrymore (1981). Military Airfields of Lincolnshire and the East Midlands. Aztex Corporation. ISBN 978-0-85059-484-3.
  • Roger Anthony Freeman (May 1994). UK Airfields of the Ninth: Then and Now. ISBN 978-0-900913-80-8.
  • Roger Anthony Freeman (1 March 1996). The Ninth Air Force in Colour: Uk and the Continent-World War Two. Arms & Armour. ISBN 978-1-85409-272-4.
  • Maurer Maurer (1 January 1982). Air Force Combat Units of World War II: History and Insignia. Zenger Publishing Company, Incorporated. ISBN 978-0-89201-092-9.

External links

  • Photographs of RAF Fulbeck from the Geograph British Isles project
  • http://armyairforces.com 434th, 442d Troop Carrier Wings