United Kingdom / Landmark

​​RAF Scampton​




​​RAF Scampton is perhaps the most famous RAF airfield in the UK. The airfield is located to the north of Lincoln and was home to the Dambusters, led by the legendary Guy Gibson.

​​At the outbreak of the war, two Squadrons were based here. The infrastructure included grass runways, numerous hangars, and brick buildings to the east of the site. The personnel area included mess halls, barrack blocks and married quarters.

No. 5 Group were located around the airfields in this area, with No. 49 and No. 83 Squadrons stationed at Scampton. On 3 September 1939, six hours after the declaration of war, nine Hampden aircraft – one of them flown by (the then) Flying Officer Guy Gibson – conducted a sweep attack on Wilhelmshaven in Germany, the first of many dangerous operations.

By April 1942, both squadrons had converted to Manchester aircraft, which had a high casualty rate record due to their design and were soon replaced by Lancasters. By January 1943, both No. 49 and No. 83 Squadrons had left Scampton, and were replaced by No. 57 Squadron.

On 21 March 1943, Wing Commander Guy Gibson arrived at Scampton and set up his office on the first floor of No. 2 hangar. No. 617 Squadron was then formed. Three days later, airmen began to arrive at the airfield.

It was from here that on 16 May 1943, nineteen Lancasters of No. 617 Squadron took off to undertake Operation Chastise. Their targets were the Möhne, Edersee and Sorpe dams. They used a new bomb, designed by Barnes Wallis and known as the ‘bouncing bomb’, for the operation. Eight Lancasters were lost in the raid, and fifty-three airmen were killed in action. Two of the three dams were breached, the third suffering significant damage. From then on, the squadron was known as the ‘Dambusters’.

In August 1943, the airfield closed temporarily due to the poor state of the grass runways which were being upgraded to concrete. In July 1944, the airfield reopened as a class ‘A’ airfield. No. 53 Squadron operated from here until the end of the war.

The airfield has now been decommissioned, and a private group is negotiating to take over the former airfield. The future plans include a heritage centre on the site, where many of the wartime buildings still remain, including Gibson’s office. The site is private property and not open to the public without prior appointment.

​​RAF Scampton, Scampton​, LN1 2ST