Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:
United Kingdom England: Northumberland
This collection of airfields is ©
2010-2012 by RonaldV
Milfield Added 8 Dec 2011 - Brunton Added 8 Dec 2011
Boulmer Added 11 Jan 2012 - Acklington Added 12 Jan 2012 - Eshott Added 13 Jan 2012
Ashington Added 13 Jan 2012 - Morpeth Added 13 Jan 2012 - Cramlington Added 13 Jan 2012
Cramlington Airship Station Added 13 Jan 2012 - Ouston Added 17 Jan 2012 - Usworth Added 18 Jan 2012
runway: 05/23 - 1280x45m - concrete
runway: 10/28 - 1280x45m - concrete
runway: 17/35 - 1823x45m - concrete
Milfield airfield was an airfield 80 kilometers southeast of Edinburg.
The airfield was built as a Class-A between 1941 and 1942.
It opened as an Operational Training Unit airfield in August 1942.
Although intended as a bomber OTU it went into service as a fighter OTU.
2000 men and women worked at the airfield.
Although the original plan was to have WAAF and regular RAF personnel seperated, the airfield was so dispersed that the Air Ministry decided it would be wiser to have each dispersed site house a mix of Officers, NCOs, airmen and airwomen.
By doing so they intended to reduce the effects of casualties to any section at the airfield.
Milfield during construction in 1941 (milfield.org.uk).
One of the crews which operated Miles Martinet aircraft for towing targets at Milfield (Maelmin.org).
When it opened on 4 August 1942 59OTU flew in to the airfield, as well as its satellite airfield RAF Brunton.
Courses ran for 9-10 weeks, with 30 pilots graduating each week.
The first 5-6 weeks were spent to prepare the pilots for basic solo flying on Hurricanes.
They would then move on to Brunton for another 3-4 weeks of flying Hurricanes, but then in formations and simulated combat conditions.
Students came from all over the world: the USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain.
They already had an average 130 hours of flight experience, most of them from their basic training in Canada.
By the end of the year a low attack training school was formed with tought the fighter bomber role to pilots.
These pilots played a decisive role during 'Overlord' and thereafter.
After the war was over the RAF wihdrew from the airfield.
It was retained by the Air Ministry though.
Milfield Aerodrome during the 1970s when the runways were being mined for aggrevate
gravel. Two hangars and several buildings were still present at the airfield.
(Graham White, Flickr)
The Borders gliding club has been using the airfield since November 1970.
They own small hangar on the southeast side of the field.
In 1975 the Tarmac company began excavating aggregate and sand from the airfield.
Levelling earlier excavations, they turned the location in a viaually more pleasing area.
A late as 1977-1978 Air Anglia (now part of AirUK) flew from the airfield twice with a Fokker F.27 Friendship to see if a commuter servie to several European destinations would be feasible.
Nothing came from the project however.
A food processing plant was erected on the NW side of the former airfield in 1991.
Most of the runways and taxiways were torn up for aggrevate.
Only two taxiways, one to the west and one to the north, the heads of two runways( to the north) and some dispersals (to the north and east) remain.
A more expansive history of the airfield can be read at milfield.org.uk.
Milfield airfield in 2003, when part of the logistics site and foundations of a hangar
could still be recognised on the east side of the airfield, behind the glider
club hangar (Google Earth)
Milfield airfield in 2007, the layout of the logistics site on the east side of the
airfield, behind the glider club hangar has completely disappeared
Runway: 02/20 - 1450x45meters/4800x150feet - concrete
Runway: 08/26 - 1000x45meters/3300x150feet - concrete
Runway: 14/32 - 1000x45meters/3300x150feet - concrete
Brunton airfield was an airfield 105 kilometers southeast of Edinburg.
The airfield was built as a Class-A between 1941 and 1942.
It opened as a satellite to the Operational Training Unit at Milfield airfield in August 1942.
Operations at the airfield ended in May 1945.
The airfield closed on 22 November 1945.
No photos of the airfield while in use have been located
The runways, taxitracks and dispersals are all clearly visible from aerial photography.
Some air raid shelters are still at the airfield, but most otheer wartime buildings have disappeared.
Some newer buldings have appeared, most notably on the east side of the 08/26 runway.
According to the Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust it is now open land.
There is one small exception though:.
A military data relay station is located on teh southeast corner of the former airfield.
The condition of the runways could not be determined from aerial photography, but debris indicates they are no longer usable.
The former air station in 2007 (Google Earth)
The data communications station in 2007 (Panoramio).
Runway: 01/19 - 1750x45meters/1800x50yds - tarmac
Runway: 06/24 - 1375x45meters/1400x50yds - tarmac
Runway: 15/33 - 1280x45meters/1300x50yds - tarmac
Boulmer airfield (also known as RAF Boulmer) was an airfield 445 kilometers northwest of London.
Originally built as a decoy airfield in 1940, the airfield was converted to a satellite airfield of RAF Eshott in March 1943.
The taxi track that linked the runways included twenty-five dispersals.
It opened to house the advanced flights of 57 Operational Training Unit (Spitfires) from RAF Eshott.
The OTU disbanded however, and Boulmer was placed on care and maintenance for a while.
In November 1943 Boulmer became home to No 9 Battle Training School.
At the school, skills such as Night Flying, Dive-bombing , strafing and chase tactics were taught.
When the war ended, the airfield closed and was returned to agricultural use.
No photos of the airfield while in use have been located
Parts of the runways and taxitracks can still be recognised from aerial photography.
Part of the airfield was converted to a caravan site, with parts of the runway and taxiway being used as an access road and parking space.
The site is called Seaton Park.
The RAF radar station, which is also called RAF Boulmer, was not a part of the original airfield, but it inherited its lineage and traditions.
It is located on a plot of terrain immediately northwest of the former airfield.
The radar station opened in 1953.
In 1978 RAF Boulmer took on a new additional role as a search and rescue station following the closure of RAF Acklington.
Since it has been the home station of 202 Sqn's 'A'-flight, initially flying Westland Whirlwind.
In December 1978 the station was re-equipped with the more capable Westland Sea King aircraft.
Today RAF Boulmer still serves as a Control and Reporting Unit and as a SAR helicopter unit.
The former airfield and present day RAF Boulmer in 2006 (Google Earth)
The radar/SAR station in 2007 (RAF/UK MOD)
The entry for RAF Acklington has been relocated to ForgottenAirfields.com
runway: 01/19 - 1122x45m - tarmac/asphalt (CLOSED)
runway: 08/26 - 1722x45m - tarmac/asphalt (CLOSED)
runway: 14/32 - 1110x45m - tarmac/asphalt (CLOSED)
runway: 14/32 - 600x43m - tarmac/asphalt (CLOSED)
runway: 01/19 - 610x11m/2000x35ft - asphalt
runway: 01/19 - 550x17m/1800x55ft - grass
runway: 08/26 - 490x11m/1608x35ft - asphalt
Eshott airfield (RAF Eshott, also known as Bockenfield Aerodrome) is a airfield 435 kilometers north of London.
The airfield was built in 1942 and opened on 10 November 1942 as RAF Eshott.
It served as the station of No.57 Operational Training Unit (OTU), operating Spitfires.
At the time some 2000 personnel were stationed at the base.
Spitfire training was carried out at the airfield until the unit was moved to RAF Boulmer in August 1944.
It was then put on Care and Maintenance until it was sold off in 1948.
World War II plan of the airfield
The airfield was then largely returned to agricultural use.
Many of its wartime facilities were torn down.
Some remain however, as do some platforms, the runway and much of its taxi track and dispersal system.
On the north side of the airfield the taxitrack was converted into a public local road.
Around 1990 the airfield reopened.
On its old runway system three smaller runways were laid out, and a fourth grass runway was laid out immediately parallel to the 01/19 runway.
The airfield is now the home for over 50 aircraft and accommodates a clubhouse building, parking, and several hangar blocks.
Somewhere between 2002 and 2011 it lost the use of the 600x43m 14/32 runway when hangarage was built on the runway.
airfield map ca. 2002 (eshottairfield.co.uk).
Overview of the airfield in 2002 (Google Earth)
The airfield in 2006 shows some construction had taken place on the 14/32 runway, as well as ongoing construction north of the former technical site
View of the old runway 01/19 in 2008 (Panoramio).
2009 overview of the airfield, showing even more hangars on the 14/32 runway, and a completed hangar north of the former technical site
flying field - grass
Ashington airfield (Royal Flying Corps Station Ashington, also known as RAF Ashington) was an airfield in country
The airfield was built and opened in 1916.
The first unit to use the airfield was 'C' Flight of 36 Squadron flying BE2s and Royal Aircraft Factory FE2b two-seater pusher biplanes.
The following year 'C' Flight was replaced by 'B' Flight.
In November 1918 the remainder of 36 Squadron moved to Ashington and disbanded in June 1919.
After the RFC was transformed into the RAF, a second squadron began to use the airfield, 256 Squadron.
525 Flight conducted coastal patrols in Airco DH6s.
The airfield was abandoned in Septembere 1919 and returned to agricultural use.
No photos have been located
The sole remaining structure is believed to be the station bomb store, this being constructed of concrete and evidently too much of an obstacle to remove..
In August 2011 however plans were announced to turn the former airfield into an open cast mine.
The area is to be opencast over the next six years under the proposed Potland Burn Opencast.
Location of the former airfield in 2006 (Google Earth)
runway: 04/22 - 1266x45m/4150x150ft - tarmac/asphalt
runway: 10/28 - 996x45m/3270x150ft - tarmac/asphalt
runway: 16/34 - 996x45m/3270x150ft - tarmac/asphalt
Morpeth airfield (RAF Morpeth, also known as Tranwell Airfield) was an airfield in country
The airfield was constructed in 1941 and opened in April 1942.
It became home to No. 4 Air Gunnery School, which trained about 4000 students during the war.
Morpeth featured 3 large hangars and about 17 smaller blister hangars.
No. 4 Air Gunnery School was to be equipped with Blackburn Bothas and Westland Lysanders.
The Botha was intended as a torpedo bomber, and it had been ordered in large numbers off the drawing board.
But when the first Bothas entered service with Coastal Command they proved to be hopelessly underpowered and within weeks were relegated to a training role.
The Lysander had a more respectable background and is better remembered for its more glamorous role with No 161 Squadron, landing SOE agents by night in fields in occupied Europe.
At Morpeth, however, Lysanders were used as a stop-gap target tug until replaced by the specialist aircraft Miles Martinet.
It then took about five weeks to get the new unit up and running and the flying training programme eventually started on 31 May 1942.
A dozen accidents involved the much disliked Bothas, eight of them in four months preceding their replacement by Avro Ansons in July 1943.
No photos have been located
Eventually, demand for air gunners diminished and in December 1944 the Air Ministry decided to close No 4 AGS.
By then, the unit had establishment of nearly 1,700 personnel, including 440 WAAFs.
Sixty nine air gunners' courses had been completed and the remaining 73 trainees on Course 70 were transferred to No. 3 AGS at Castle Kennedy to complete their training.
After a few months on Care and Maintenance, the air base reopened for No. 80 Operational Training Unit.
The was training Free French pilots to fly Spitfires, and remained for three months until they moved to RAF Ouston in July 1945, a pre-war station with better facilities.
The airfield was then transferred to No 261 Maintenance Unit.
It finally closed in July 1948.
After the airfield was sold off it was largely returned to agricultural use.
Portions of the airfield still exist though.
Several buildings and hangars still are standing.
An underground control room can be found behind the actual airfield.
Several taxiways and disperesals, as well as portions of its runways also still exist.
The latter are used for a car boot sale every Sunday.
A group proposed to reactivate the airfield as Tranwell airfield in 2009.
Another group proposed to set up a wind farm at the former airfield in October 2011.
Overview of the former airfield and its dispersals in 2006 (Google Earth)
Overview of the airfield in 2009 (tranwell.wordpress.com).
Flying field - 800x600yds - grass
The entry for Cramlington airfield has been rewritten and relocated to forgottenairfields.com.
Cramlington Airship Station
Runway: flying field, grass
The entry for Cramlington airship station has been rewritten and relocated to forgottenairfields.com.
RAF Ouston station badge
runway: 04/22 - 1820x35m - concrete/asphalt
runway: 08/26 - 1150x35m - asphalt
runway: 14/32 - 1300x35m - asphalt
Ouston airfield (RAF Ouston, also known as USAAF station 360 and Ablemarle Barracks) was an airfield 410 kilometers north-northwest of London
The airfield was built Between 1939 and 1941, and opened on 10 March 1941.
Three runways had been built – 05/23 (1,200x50yds), 09/27 (1,250x50yds) and 14/32 (the longest, 1,400x50yds).
They had an unusual layout, because they crossed almost at the centre of the airfield making them vulnerable during air raids.
The airfield had been used before construction was completed however.
The first resident, 13 Group Communications Flight made use of a grass strip in late 1940 with a number of civilian aircraft that had been impressed into service at the outbreak of war including a Vega Gull, two Magisters, three Gladiators, a Hornet Moth, a Proctor and a Whitney Straight.
Upon its formal opening. the airfield immediately took the role of fighter base from RAF Usworth.
The first squadron based at the airfield was 317 (Polish) squadron, flying Hurricanes.
They were replaced by 122 Sqn, but not before they shot down a Ju-88 on 2 June.
Many frontline squadrons rotated in an out of the airfield until June 1943.
On 21 June 1943 62 OTU moved into the airfield from RAF Usworth.
Their job was to train radar operators for night fighters, and they did so until they disbanded in June 1945.
Initially flying Ansons, they switched to Welligtons in the final months of the war.
No photos have been located
In July 1945 80 OTU began training French Spitfire pilots until the unit disbanded in early March 1945.
In May 1946 22SFTS moved into the airfield, flying Harvards (RAF name for the T-6 Texan) but they disbanded soon after.
At the same time the airfield was being turned over to the reserves, with 607 Sqn (Royal Auxiliary Air Force) reforming at the base flying Spitfires.
They converted to Vampires in 1951, which they operated until the unit disbanded in 1957.
To allow jet operations the main runway was lengthened and provided with Quick Reaction Aleert areas on both ends.
Additionally a large concrete apron was built.
No. 1965 Flight of No. 664 Squadron was also based at Ouston from 1 September 1949 until 14 February 1954 with Auster AOP.6s.
Continuing in its reserve role, the station housed Northumbria University Air Squadron, 11 Air Experience Flight, 641 Gliding School.
At the same time it was used as an Relieve Landing Ground by the Jet Provosts of 6 Flying Training School RAF Acklington.
For five monts of 1967 the base became the North East Regional Airport, while the runway at Newcastle was lengthened and renovated.
One of the hangars at Ouston, with what appears to be a Chipmunk in front of it, which likely puts the photo around the 1960s (NEAviationResearch.org.uk).
The airfield closed as an active airfield by the end of September 1974.
It was passed on to the Army, who renamed it Ablemarle Barracks.
Although the Army Air Corps never based any aircraft at the station, it is occasionally still being used by the AAC during exercises.
Also it has a secure compound for the transport of warheads for the UK Trident programme located on one of the runways.
View of Ouston in June 1976, two years after the Army took over the airfield (AirfieldInformationExchange).
No less than 7 Apache helicopters parked on the runway at the airfield in 2008 (neam.myfreeforum.org).
Overview of the airfield in 2009, with the secure nuclear compound clearly visible (Google Earth)
runway: 01/19 - ...x..m - unk
runway: 06/24 - ...x..m - unk
Usworth airfield (RAF Usworth, also known as West Town Moor airfield, or Sunderland Airport) was an airfield 390 kilometers north-northwest of London
The airfield was built as Royal Flying Corps Statoin West Town Moor and opened in autumn 1916.
It was initially used by the regions Home Defense unit, 36 Sqn.
In June 1917 the squadron moved in completely, equipped with the Bristol Fighter.
About this time the airfield began to be referred to as Usworth.
When 36 Sqn was disbanded in June 1919 the airfield went into disuse.
Westland Wapiti K2243 at Usworth in the 1930s (norav.50megs.com
The Empire Air Day of 1934 featured Westland Wapiti of 607 Squadron and Harts of 103 Squadron on display (Photobucket, via AirfieldInformationExchange).
In 1930 the airfield was re-acquired by the Air Ministry and 607 Sqn of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force established here in March.
During its time at the airfield, the squadron used Wapiti, Demon and Gladiator, before moving to RAF Acklington in October 1939.
103 Sqn arrived at the airfield in early 1937 with Hawker Hinds, replacing them with Fairey Battles in the summer of 1938.
Early during World War II the airfield was developed with two hardened runways and a perimeter track.
A Luftwaffe attack on the airfield on 15 August 1940 did not succeed when the attacking bombers were intercepted by fighters from Acklington, Catterick and Usworth.
By the time of the failed attack 607 Sqn (Hurricanes) had returned to the airfield for two brief stays (June - Sep 1940 and Dec 1940-Jan 1941).
Briefly fighter support was also provided by two other squadrons: 43 Sqn (Hurricanes, Sep-Dec 1940) and 64 Sqn (Spitfires, May 1940).
Early in 1941 the airfields role changed.
With the arrival of 55 OTU the fighter role was replaced with a training role, bringing Blenheims, Defiants and Hurricanes to the airfield, totallling over 100 aircraft.
To support all those aircraft, a satellite was opened at RAF Ouston in March.
55 OTU moved out of Usworth in April 1942, and the airfield was put on care and maintenance until June, when 62 OTU formed with Ansons.
They remained at Usworth for a little over a year and moved to Ouston in July 1943.
The reason for the move was cited as the balloon barrage at Sunderland.
For the remainder of the war very little happened.
Usworth, ca. 1942/1943 (Photobucket, via AirfieldInformationExchange)
After the war had ended the balloon barrage was removed.
Still it took until 1949 until 23 Reserve Flying School arrived at the airfield.
They were joined by 2 Basic Air Navigation School with Ansons and the Durham University Air Squadron brought Chipmunks.
23RFS and 2 BANS disbanded in 1953, but were replaced with the Austers of 664 Sqn in February 1954.
In 1957 664 Sqn (March) and the Durham University Air Squadron (October) disbanded.
The RAF station closed in 1958.
On 3 July 1962 the airfield was purchased by the Sunderland Corporation and reopend as Sundereland Airport.
They re-laid the runways and renovated the hangar.
In June 1963 the Sunderland Flying Club was created.
An Open Day and commemorative ceremony took place to celebrate the rebirth of the airfield, now called Sundereland Airport, on 28 June 1964.
A modest flying display and a visiting Dakota making pleasure flights all day kept visitors busy.
The short runways did not allow any regular flights larger than light twins, however.
The Dakota was owned by Tyne Tees Airways, who attempted to operate a charter airline from the airport.
They set up their engineering base at the airport.
The success of the 1964 flying day meant it became a yearly event.
In 1965 the RAF sent a Beverly to the event, possibly the largest aircraft ever to land at the airfield.
In 1966 the airshow had managed to attract 17,000 spectators, with a sizable contribution from the RAF, including the Red Arrows.
In August 1974 the airfield received arguably its fastest visitor ever.
A Buccanneer strike aircraft, piloted by an American exchange pilot, had a birdstrike which injured his navigator and subsequently the pilot declared an emergency.
He touched down at the short runways at Sunderland and overshot.
By the end of the day the practice bombs had been secured and the aircraft was sheltered in the main hangar.
A few days later the canopy was replaced with a spare flown in by an Andover and the aircraft left.
In 1962, RAF Usworth was purchased by Sunderland Corporation. An Open Day took place on June 28 1964 to celebrate
the rebirth of what was now Sunderland Airport. Pleasure flights were available in this Tyne Tees Airways Douglas DC-3
The airport saw a moderate but steady growth over the second half of the 70s.
On 30 June 1979 it served as the refuelling stop for over seventy DeHavilland Tiger, Hornet and Gipsy Moths.
The aircraft took part in a rally to mark the 50th anniversary of the Gipsy Reliability Tour of 1929
Sunderland held its last Air Day on 15 June 1980, the largest and noisiest ever.
Taking part in the air display were a RAF Jaguar and a RAF Nimrod.
Vintage aircraft included Spitfire, Hurricane, Firefly, Meteor and Vampire.
The airfield was finally closed on 31 May 1984.
It was sold to the Nissan Motor Company for the creation of a new car plant, which opened in 1985.
The only thing reminding of the former airfield is the North East Aircraft Museum, located across the road from the former airfield.
The Vulcan bomber they have on dislay was probably the largest warplane ever to land at the airfield (in 1983).
The former airfield in 2000, only a hangar was left standing north of the factory by that time (Google earth)
between 2002 and 2005 the last remaining hangar was torn down (Google Earth)
Vulcan XL319, the largest warplane to land at the airfield, was photographed in 2007 on display with
the North East Air Museum just across the road from the former airtport (Panoramio).
If you have any information about airfields (listed and unlisted) in England, email RonaldV.