RAF Scampton stands on the site of a First World War Royal Flying Corps landing field, which had been called Brattleby. The station was closed and returned to agriculture following the First World War, and reactivated in the 1930s. It has provided an airfield for fighters in the First World War, bombers during the Second World War and V-force Avro Vulcans during the Cold War.
Home Defence Flight Station Brattleby (also known as Brattleby Cliff) was opened on the site of the current RAF Scampton in late 1916. The airfield was bounded to the east by Ermine Street, to the south by Pollyplatt Lane, to the west by Middle Street, and to the north by Aisthorpe House. The form of the airfield was very similar to that of Hackthorn Park to the northeast, which is likely to have been created in the same way. In addition to field boundaries, a number of other features were demolished or used for the airfield, including Aisthorpe House and a farm complex to the east of the site.
The aerodrome covered 287 acres consisting of a landing ground and six single-span end-opening General Service Flight Sheds arranged in pairs with their doors at 90-degrees to the landing ground. Technical buildings were set out behind these, followed by domestic accommodation close to Ermine Street. These were subdivided into smaller groups depending on rank. Accommodation for women was based around a Women’s Hostel.
The first operational unit was A Flight, 33 Squadron RFC (33 Squadron), which flew FE2bs defending against the Zeppelin threat. The site then developed into a training aerodrome, supporting No. 60 Training Squadron, followed by No. 81 and No. 11 Training Squadrons, flying the Sopwith Camel, Pup and Dolphin. The station was renamed as Scampton in 1917 following which it was designated as 34 Training Depot Station and continued with its operational programme until it was closed in April 1919.
All of the buildings on the airfield were temporary, even the hedgerows and trees which existed around the field boundaries were retained so that between the wars the area was returned to its previous form. By 1920 all the buildings, including the hangars, had been removed.
An armed man is not attacked
The location of the base in relation to Ermine Street is significant. The history of the use of the historic route through the north of Lincolnshire for Pilot Training purposes in WWI is well documented, and the views along the road to Lincoln Cathedral traditionally assisted pilots returning to base to locate the airfield.
The topography of the station in relation to the road has been immortalised in the Station badge, in which the Longbow bowstring represents Ermine Street bent to accommodate the lengthened runway, and the arrow representing the runway itself.
In this map detail, you can see how the original due North/South road to Lincoln and its landmark Cathedral, was an excellent navigational aid to weary returning wartime crews. With the arrival of the V-Force and the runway extension, this road was diverted round to the east to what you see today (the right-hand image).