RAF Bardney to become a Shooting Range

After the closure of many of Britain’s wartime airfields, many were returned to agriculture or converted for use by light industry. Some were completely removed and some developed into housing. RAF Bardney, located a few miles to the east of Lincoln, has since been one of those used for a multitude of light industrial and agricultural uses and has been the recent subject of a planning application.

Bardney was home to three RAF squadrons during World War Two: Nos 9, (April 1943 – July 1945);  No. 227, who were reformed here at Bardney from ‘A’ flight of No. 9 Sqn and ‘B’ flight of 619 Sqn, staying for two weeks in October 1944; and finally No. 189 Sqn (April – October 1945) – all three squadrons operated the Lancaster MKI and MKIII.

During their stay here, No. 9 Sqn operated as part of 5 Group Bomber Command, using the Squadron code ‘WS’, and after moving in from nearby Waddington, they carried out a number of operations into the German heartland losing fifty-nine aircraft during 1943, half of which were whilst based here at Bardney.

The first fatality occurred on April 30th, when Lancaster III WS-R, ‘KD838’ was lost without trace in an operation to Essen. None of the seven crew members were ever found nor was there ever any trace of the aircraft.

9 Squadron was a mix of nationalities: British, Australian, Canadian, Rhodesian and Trinidadian. As with KD838, a large number of these crews were lost without trace, and as such, have no known grave – their memories being carved into the walls of the Runnymede Memorial.


Lancaster Mk III, ED831 ‘WS-H’, of No 9 Squadron RAF, flown by Squadron Leader A M Hobbs RNZAF and his crew, at Bardney. © IWM (CH 10405)

In the dying stages of the war, Bardney was used by the RAF’s Bomber Command Film Unit, flying Lancasters and Mosquitoes, the unit was itself eventually disbanded at Upwood later in the same year.

Post war Bardney was used  as a Thor missiles base by No. 106 Squadron (July 1959 – May 1963), before its eventual closure and final disposal.

A planning application was originally submitted in September 2016 for a:

“Change of use and conversion of existing agricultural land and associated outbuildings to provide an outdoor activities centre providing archery, air rifle shooting, axe throwing, combat archery and zombie training, and the construction of earth bunds to a maximum height of 3.0metres (bunds already constructed), in accordance with the amended plans received by the Local Planning Authority on 15th November 2016”.

Objections were put forward by local people and comments made by other interested bodies such as Environmental Health, Health and Safety and the Economic Development Team. Permission was initially granted in December that year. There are certain conditions in the terms of the decision, but it seems more than likely that the development will progress as planned.

The proposal and supporting documents can be found on the East Lindsey District Council Planning site.

The story first appeared in ‘Lincolnshire Live‘ news report on May 27th 2017.


12 thoughts on “RAF Bardney to become a Shooting Range

  1. That would have to count as one of the more ‘interesting’ development proposals to cross the bureaucrats’ desk, wouldn’t you say?! It’s no surprise that Health & Safety pricked up their ears at the mention of axes being thrown… But why not? I can’t help thinking that this group of enthusiasts might have more interest in acknowledging the heritage and wartime realities of the land than, say, the developer of an industrial park.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d like to know what objections they had to archery and that list of activities, although I can see that you wouldn’t want hundreds of well trained zombies wandering the fields of Lincolnshire. Do we know who the Trinidadian was? Quite an exotic nationality for the RAF.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The objections were more to having a ‘range’ with axe throwers, people shooting arrows and a theme that encourages ‘children’ to kill and / or use weapons. I must admit the whole thing rather smells of a nasty video game rather than a well trained and dedicated archery club. The Trinidadian referred to was killed in the first Bardney tragedy and was P/O G A Nunaz from St Josephs in Trinidad. He certainly was not your ‘average’ RAF pilot.


  3. When will they stop destroying our aviation heritage and realise it’s historical value? I suppose that the people who make these decisions have little interest or understanding in aviation. Thank goodness there are preservation groups who fight for certain sites and give up their valuable time to preserve them. Thanks for the post Andy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s always going to be a sticking point Rich. Where do you draw the line and what do you save? National heritage tend to argue if it’s ‘unique’ its valuable, runways and slabs of concrete tend not to be, hangars and rarer buildings are, but of course many of these are gone anyway.! Thanks as always Rich.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: News Round-Up – June 1st 2017 | Defence of the Realm

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