RAF Middleton St George

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RAF Goosepool
RAF Middleton St. George

Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
The Royal Air Force in Britain, July 1941 TR105.jpg
A crew of No. 78 Squadron RAF watch as engine adjustments are made to an Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bomber, Z6743, before they take off for a raid from Middleton St George.
Summary
Airport typeMilitary
OwnerAir Ministry
OperatorRoyal Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
LocationMiddleton St. George
Coordinates54°30′33″N 001°25′46″W / 54.50917°N 1.42944°W / 54.50917; -1.42944Coordinates: 54°30′33″N 001°25′46″W / 54.50917°N 1.42944°W / 54.50917; -1.42944
Map
RAF Middleton St. George is located in County Durham
RAF Middleton St. George
RAF Middleton St. George
Location in County Durham
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
05/23 7,516 2,291 Concrete
01/19 3,300 1,006 Concrete
10/28 4,200 1,280 Concrete
RAF. Middleton St. George August 1960

RAF Middleton St. George was a Royal Air Force (RAF) Bomber Command station during World War II. It was located in County Durham, five miles east of Darlington, England; the stations' motto was Shield and Deter.[1]

History[edit]

Second World War[edit]

The airfield began its life as Royal Air Force Goosepool, and in 1941 became RAF Middleton St. George when the aerodrome opened under the auspices of Bomber Command. Whilst the nearest settlement was Middleton St George, the station acquired the Goosepool after the nearby farm.[2] In 1943 it was allocated to No. 6 Group, Royal Canadian Air Force.[3] A sub-station was located at RAF Croft, Yorkshire.[4] Squadrons based here include: 76 Squadron, which flew Handley Page Halifaxes, 78 Squadron, which flew Armstrong Whitworth Whitleys, 419 Squadron RCAF, which flew Vickers Wellingtons, Halifaxes, and Avro Lancasters, 420 Squadron RCAF, which flew Wellingtons, and 428 Squadron RCAF, which flew Wellingtons, Halifaxes, and Lancasters.[5]

Post war[edit]

After the war, the aerodrome served various squadrons and units including No. 13 Operational Training Unit (OTU), No. 2 Air Navigation School, No. 4 Flying Training School, and squadrons that used Gloster Meteors, Hawker Hunters, Gloster Javelins and English Electric Lightnings.[6] In 1947, the airfield became a satellite station of RAF Leeming, North Yorkshire.[7]

In 1962 Flight Officer Jean Oakes became the first woman to fly at over 1,000 mph; the London Times of 14 September 1962 reported that from RAF Middleton St George, she took over the controls from Flight Lieutenant John Smith and flew up and down the north east coast at about 1.6 mach.

The RAF left the station in 1964, but the aerodrome was reopened in 1966 as a civil airport;[8] the airfield was named Teesside International Airport in the 1960s, and was renamed Durham Tees Valley Airport in 2004.[9] In the late 1980s the entire Married Quarter estate was sold to a Roger Byron-Collins company and was renamed The Virginia Estate.

From 1968 to 1979, some of the former station buildings housed Middleton St George College of Education, a teacher training college.[10]

The officers' mess at the base was converted into the St George Hotel, complete with the RAF Middleton St George museum.[11]

With the gradual reduction to just 2 scheduled services and some sporadic summer holiday charter flights to & from the airport for several years, falling passenger numbers and the later introduction of a £6 per head / per flight levy, the spectre of total closure loomed large, despite high levels of anecdotal local support for the airport, allied to a generally held inability to understand why the owners, (whose original remit at purchase, was to revitalise the airport, but in reality did very little) to bring about any useful air services that the large potential catchment area of the original 5 owning local boroughs would use. With ongoing site redevelopment plans established and pushed forward by the owners, the potential sale of the airport to a new Combined Local Authority was announced in 2017.

In 2018, just days prior to the announcement of that sales completion, the St George Hotel closed its doors for the last time, and the future for what was the old Officers Mess building is now uncertain;[12] the small museum room within the Hotel has been relocated. With the sale, work began to raise the profile and to attract more services, both scheduled carriers and charters, and the selection of an established ground services agent that already operates a North East regional Airport has been seen as a positive step. In 2019, the newly elected Mayor of the Tees Valley Combined Authority announced the hugely desired return of the Airports' original name of Teesside International, from the controversial and unpopular name of DTVA made in 2004.[13]

Units and aircraft[edit]

Unit Dates Aircraft Variant Notes
No. 33 Squadron RAF 1958–1962 Gloster Javelin FAW.7 and FAW.9 from 1960 Twin-engined jet fighter/interceptor.[14]
No. 76 Squadron RAF 1941–1942 Handley Page Halifax Mks.I and II Four-engined piston heavy bomber.[15]
No. 78 Squadron RAF 1941 Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mk.V Twin-engined medium bomber.[15]
1942 Handley Page Halifax Mk.II Four-engined piston heavy bomber.[15]
No. 92 Squadron RAF 1957
1958-1960
Hawker Hunter F.6 Single-engined jet fighter/fighter-bomber.[16]
No. 264 Squadron RAF 1957 Gloster Meteor NF.14 Twin-engined jet night-fighter.[17]
No. 419 Squadron RCAF 1942–1944 Handley Page Halifax Mk.II Four-engined piston heavy bomber.[18]
1944–1945 Avro Lancaster Mk.X Four-engined piston heavy bomber.[18]
No. 420 Squadron RCAF 1942–1943 Vickers Wellington Mks.III and later X before move to North Africa Twin-engined medium bomber.[18]
No. 428 Squadron RCAF 1943–1944 Handley Page Halifax Mks.V and II Four-engined piston heavy bomber.[18]
1944–1945 Avro Lancaster Mk.X Four-engined piston heavy bomber.[18]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Pine, L.G. (1983). A dictionary of mottoes (1 ed.). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 212. ISBN 0-7100-9339-X.
  2. ^ Halpenny 1982, p. 147.
  3. ^ "Stations-M". www.rafweb.org. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  4. ^ Halpenny 1982, p. 54.
  5. ^ Delve 2006, p. 197.
  6. ^ Halpenny 1982, pp. 149–150.
  7. ^ Coupland, Peter (1997). Straight and True. Barnsley: Pen and Sword. p. 61. ISBN 0-85052-569-1.
  8. ^ Halpenny 1982, pp. 150–151.
  9. ^ Lloyd, Chris (24 January 2015). "Getting airborne at Middleton St George 50 years ago". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  10. ^ Reunion website
  11. ^ "A Brief History of Middleton St George from 1800" (PDF). Middleton-st-george.org. p. 11. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  12. ^ Teesside Live Website | [url=https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/everything-must-go-entire-contents-15542008
  13. ^ Darlington & Stockton Times | [url=https://www.darlingtonandstocktontimes.co.uk/news/17309426.mayor-confirms-he-will-change-durham-tees-valley-airport-name-to-teesside-international/
  14. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 36.
  15. ^ a b c Jefford 1988, p. 48.
  16. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 52.
  17. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 80.
  18. ^ a b c d e Jefford 1988, p. 91.
  19. ^ Wilson, Keith (2015). RAF in camera 1950s. Barnsley: Pen & Sword. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-4738-2795-0.
  20. ^ "Middleton St. George (Durham Tees Valley) - Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust UK". www.abct.org.uk. Retrieved 4 November 2017.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Delve, Ken (2006). The Military Airfields of Britain, Northern England: Co. Durham, Cumbria, Isle of Man, Lancashire, Merseyside, Manchester, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Yorkshire. Marlborough: Crowood Press. ISBN 1-86126-809-2.
  • Halley, James J. (1988). The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1918-1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Halpenny, Brue Barrymore (1982). Action Stations 4; Military Airfields of Yorkshire. Cambridge: Patrick Stephens ltd. ISBN 0-85059-532-0.
  • Jefford MBE, Wg Cdr C G (1988). RAF Squadrons. A comprehensive record of the movement and equipment of all RAF squadrons and their antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury: Airlife. ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
  • Moyes, Philip J.R. (1976). Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd. ISBN 0-354-01027-1.

External links[edit]