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Bomber County

Before 2003 I had never heard of Bomber County or seen a Spitfire or any other World War II airplane except on TV and in the movies. The first year I lived in England we lived in Berkshire under the flight path for Heathrow airport. We were accustomed to hearing the large airliners flying overhead on their approach to the airport. One Sunday afternoon we were in our rear garden and I heard a small airplane overhead. I looked up and it was a beautiful aircraft with a large circle on the side.

I said something about it to my husband and without looking he said, "It's a Spitfire." I asked him how he knew that without even looking and he replied, "I know the sound of that Rolls Royce engine anywhere." I was mesmerized and watched until it disappeared from view.

About a half hour later I again heard a small plane overhead and looking up I saw a different plane. It had a cross on the side. It was a Messerschmitt. Again I watched it until it disappeared fascinated by the sight. I thought about how it must have been during World War II when hundreds of Spitfires and Messerschmitts were in the sky.

Now we live in Lincolnshire known as Bomber County because of the number of active airfields within its borders during World War II. There were 49 fields. More airfields than any other county in England. The average distance between airfields was 7.5 miles. Twenty-eight of these fields were bomber bases. Many of these fields are no longer active RAF bases. Bombers from Lincolnshire contributed to many significant attacks:

  • The Battle of Barges, August, 1940
  • The Augsburg Raid, April 17, 1942
  • Operation Robinson, October 17, 1942
  • Operation Millenium, May 30, 1942
  • The Dams Raid (Dambusters), May 16, 1943
  • The Battle of the Ruhr, summer 1943 to early 1944
  • The Nuremburg Raid, March 30, 1944
  • The Battle of Berlin, Autumn and Winter 1944-1945
  • The Bochum Raid, November 4, 1944
The First Airborne Division assembled and trained for D-Day around the town of Grantham in Lincolnshire. The USAF 9th airforce's 82nd Troop Carrier Group launched for D-Day from many airfields in southern Lincolnshire.

There are aviation museums and heritage centers scattered all over Lincolnshire. You can see Spitfires, Lancaster bombers, restored airfield buildings,control towers, and operations rooms. On those airfields that are still active you will also see modern day aircraft. The RAF flight training school is located at Cranwell Airbase. The RAF Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows, is based at Scampton. The Dambusters, 617 Squadron, were based at Scampton during 1943 when they made their famous raid against the Ruhr dams. Coningsby hosts The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Lincolnshire, Bomber County, is a great place to visit for those interested in aircraft past and present.


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