View Full Version : Airfields, East of York

15th Mar 2008, 19:17
I have keen interests in the airfields east of York, lesser talked about and now not used. The main two i would say are Holme upon Spalding Moor and Elvington.

Anyone wishing to add memories of these two places would be much appreciated. A shame i dont remember holme as an airfield, it is just a field now.

Elvington interests me due to the huge runway and apron. Was it ever used at all by the USAF and did HoSM ever get used when it too was in American hands?


15th Mar 2008, 19:32
Try Seaton Ross and Pocklington....:E

16th Mar 2008, 00:13
How about:

Full Sutton,Driffield,Cottam,Catfoss,Lissett,Breighton,Leconfield ,Melbourne,
Croft and York itself?


16th Mar 2008, 05:26
To add to the list;

East Moors, Hutton Cranswick, Carnaby.

'Action Stations', volume 4 (I think) covers them all.

16th Mar 2008, 16:55
The BAe Trials Flight at Holme On Spalding Moor closed 15.12.83.,moving to RAF Scampton. The last flight was 6.12 by Buccaneer S.2 XV350 which performed several low flypasts. The fleet was Buccaneers XK525(test rig),XK527,XT288,Hunter T.8M XL603,Phantom FG.1 XT596,FGR.2 XT852,XT853.
At one time they used Hunters XL602 and T.12 XE531.

Elvington was lengthened for B-47 Reflex alert and V-bomber dispersal,but have no record of B-47's using it. Brough may have used it for Buccaneer flight testing.

17th Mar 2008, 20:05
Thanks for the information, i know that Driffield was used by blackburn while the runway at Holme was being resurfaced, seeing it now its hard to imagine anything like what you mentioned ever used it. Binbrook will be the same in a few years.

Am i right in thinking a lightning from Leconfield, during an emergancy, tried to put down on the former Hutton Cranswick? Incidently what was the last fixed wing operation from Leconfield?

17th Mar 2008, 20:27
T21 Although XE 531 spent a lot of time at HoSM, it was actually a Farnborough aircraft being the green painted 'fly - by - wire' trials aircraft. It met its demise at Farnborough; a HoSM/ Brough test pilot phoned to ask if it was worth him coming down to fly it as there was a possibility of cb activity; I reassured him our own forecaster had not said this so he came down in the Dove from Brough.
He was due to fly with Farnborough TP Rod Sears; they started and taxiied out just as I was going off duty but I didn't bother to stay and watch the takeoff.
The tower controller later stated that during the takeoff roll, he was amazed to see what he thought was an afterburner, except that Hunters didn't have afterburners. The aircraft got airborne and Rod sensed a loss of power, and tried to re-light no less than three times before giving the order 'eject'. The first I knew of it was seeing a report on our regional TV news programme that evening.
Turning to Leconfield; wasn't that the place where, when it was an MU, an engineer (with no flying qualifications)took a Lightning out onto the runway to test afterburner ignition. He managed to get airborne; no flying clothing and ejector seat pins still in, then flew a circuit and landed it!!

henry crun
17th Mar 2008, 21:25
chevvron: I thought the inadvertent Lightning trip took place at St.Athan.

17th Mar 2008, 22:14
It happened on July 22nd 1966 while XM135 was at 33 MU at Lyneham, and was flown by Wg Cdr Taffy Holden

see here (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=234781)

henry crun
18th Mar 2008, 02:07
Oops, wrong again ! :O

18th Mar 2008, 12:23
Pug, I am sure you are familar with this site:- http://www.elvingtonairfield.co.uk/pages/index.htm

Kieron Kirk
18th Mar 2008, 17:59
The Lightning incident(ran short of fuel as a result of leaving the airbrake extended!)ended without any injury or loss of aircraft.

Shall look into the archives to refresh my memory as to when it happened.

OOP'S its my turn to be wrong!

The Lightning incident took place at Acklington.

Matt Skrossa
20th Mar 2008, 10:59
Try to get a cpoy of book White Rose Base, by Brian J Rapier, a York Air Museum publication, found it invaluable trogging round that part of the world looking at old airfields.

21st Mar 2008, 14:07
Taxiing out for departure from Elvington
Turning finals 08

21st Mar 2008, 21:43
'Acastar Malbis' can be added to the list.

A few years ago me and a mate got lost on the way to Breighton Airshow, And we stumbled upon the massive airfield.:ugh:

Alot of the runway was still visible, It must have been a few acres.:cool:

It must have took us 15 minutes to get thru the area.

PUG, I'm surprised you haven't heard much about Elvington - 'elvs in the wood' There is quite alot of information about it.

Ask Air Supply man Ken Cotliff - He eats , breaths, & sleeps the place:D:zzz:

He organises the annual airshow there.

True, You don't hear or read much about Holme On Spalding Moor, It makes you think if, There were 'secret' projects carried out there??

When you look at all the old WW2 Airfields in Yorkshire and beyond, It is unbelievable the amount they had.

Acaster, Holme, Linton, Topcliffe, Dalton, Dishforth, Leeming, Croft, Yeadon, Brough, Hemswell, Doncaster, Finningley, New Waltham, Rufforth, Catterick, North Coates, And many more.

Those Airfield series books are excellent, But 'bloody' hard to get hold of too.


22nd Mar 2008, 07:34
'Acastar Malbis' can be added to the list.

Mmm, not really, since Acaster is SW of York.

Those Airfield series books are excellent, But 'bloody' hard to get hold of too.

Excellent indeed, but if anyone wants a full set of 'Action Stations' I've a set doing nothing.:ok:

22nd Mar 2008, 09:34
Not seen any mention of Melbourne, which as a dragstrip, was called 'New York Raceway'.
I think there's still a private strip at Acaster Malbis; it was listed in Pooleys as the place to land if visiting York Racecourse.
Also isn't Pocklington to the east of York?

22nd Mar 2008, 09:44
Melbourne post #3, Pocklington post #2:ok:

22nd Mar 2008, 10:07
Thanks for these replies.

Melbourne is pretty much intact, it would be great if a surviving airfield like that could be completely restored, there arent many left now...

Yes i believe some strange things went on at Holme, of course wasnt the bucc development quite secretive at the time? Ive heard of such things as Beverley transports with rockets being tested. The airfield was quite away from main roads, near the aptly named 'land of nod'. Im surprised there arent so many photos around of the place active. I have a few but none of the general airfield but of some visitors on the apron.

Elvingtons history is quite easier to obtain. Just a shame the americans abandoned it, could have been like fairford is today i suppose!

22nd Mar 2008, 12:20
Anybody any idea how much a set of Action Stations volumes 1-10 is worth these days?

22nd Mar 2008, 12:42
This I'd like to see, too.

Before I take them to e-blag.

22nd Mar 2008, 18:02
I have just ordered "Strong Foundations – Driffield’s Aerodrome from 1917 to 2000" Im hoping it will be an interesting read...

Except for Phillip Rhodes it is another station with an interesting past not too well documented on tinterweb.

Has anyone got 'Post war Yorkshire airfields' by Barry Abraham? Quite a good read.

22nd Mar 2008, 21:31
runways being removed now, see google earth and aerial views sites.:(

23rd Mar 2008, 11:07
The Merseyside Aviation Societies excellent book about airfields (forget the name - mislaid it years ago) listed an airfield on the northeast outskirts of York; has this been mentioned?

23rd Mar 2008, 11:32
Presumably Clifton Moor - many hangars still in situ but most of the remainder converted to a shopping centre/housing/offices

23rd Mar 2008, 13:27
Vert little left of Clifton nowadays. Apart from the hangars latterly used as a grain store and up for sale recently, there are a few shelters and bits of hard-standing close to the 'Bumper Castle' pub.

23rd Mar 2008, 14:30
The Merseyside Aviation Societies excellent book about airfields (forget the name - mislaid it years ago)

British Isles Airfields Guide by P.H. Butler.

Anyone with Google Earth can grab a KML file from Catalogue of UK Airfields (http://www.homepages.mcb.net/bones/06airfields/UK/ukmenu.htm) and have fun looking at the many airfields around the UK. Some locations are only approximate but these seem to be mostly the pre WW2 sites.

4th Apr 2008, 19:23
Hi, as a "techie" helped to operate JP`s from Elvington circa 1966, used to send student pilots on first solo`s during training at R.A.F. Linton On Ouse (1FTS). Presumably because of low traffic and very long runway. The aircraft and support crews were ferried daily.

The Yorkshire air Museum is now located there, various aircraft still operate, I understand that a planning application has been made to open the airfield for aircraft maintenance.

Pocklington, now the home of the Wolds Gliding club.

There is another airfield North and perhaps a little east of York called East Moor, now unlandable but still recognisable. Quite close and north of the villages of Haxby and Wigginton. :ok:

4th Apr 2008, 19:49
I grew up about a mile from RAF Marston Moor - runway can still be seen across Rudgate Lane (Near Whixley) The only thing I remember was it's where Clark Gable was based during WWII

6th Apr 2008, 06:46
I grew up about a mile from RAF Marston Moor - runway can still be seen across Rudgate Lane (Near Whixley) The only thing I remember was it's where Clark Gable was based during WWII

I think you'll find that Mr Gable spent some time at an airfield called Goxhill in Lincolnshire. Nothing in any literature I've seen suggests he was based at MM.

7th Apr 2008, 12:14
Heart-throb of the American silver screen, Clark Gable was stationed during the war at Marston Moor Airfield. USAAF Captain Gable was a member of the ground staff. Group Captain Leonard Cheshire was also stationed at Marston Moor for a short while before leaving to become Commander of the famous 617 Dam Buster Squadron.

Famous local historic fact for Yorkshire folk!!!!


Heart-throb of the American silver screen, Clark Gable was stationed during the war at Marston Moor Airfield. USAAF Captain Gable was a member of the ground staff, he was later transfered to RAF Polebrook in Northamptonshire, during this time Adolf Hitler offered a reward to anyone who was able to catch the airman.


7th Apr 2008, 19:09
Sorry for the late call - just seen the bit about the Lightning that effectively dead sticked it on to Acklington's runway. May/June 1967. I was the only eye witness to the event. The airfield had closed, and I was duty student locking up when I looked up to see the Lightning short finals to make a perfect (silent) landing on the numbers of the (relatively) short runway and come to a halt just short of the other end. As everyone else had gone home - including ATC and the fire section - I rang the SDO to tell him there was a Lightning on the runway. After a torrent of abuse for disturbing him in the bar, and being told there was no chance of one ever landing here, he eventually came out to see for himself (and then apologise). We went off to see what was going on and found the ac gently sinking into the tarmac (the runway was stressed for JPs and not the high pressure LCN of a Lightning). It turned out the pilot was an ex 6 FTS student on one of his pre FHT sorties, and as stated, had effectively run out of fuel well short of Leuchars. Luckily he remembered Acklington and knew he was well positioned for a PFL. IIRC correctly he got a good show for saving the jet - and chopped from the course!

The ac was eventually flown out by the UTP a few days later, and even with only just enough fuel to make Leuchars used the whole of the runway

7th Apr 2008, 20:30
Sorry, JB007, not convinced. Marston Moor's entry in 'Action Stations volume 4' makes no mention of Clark Gable. Volume 2 of the same series makes mention of Mr Gable serving at Goxhill whilst taking part in Hollywoods war-effort.

As for your Famous local historic fact for Yorkshire folk!!!!well, us Yorkshire folk will stop at nowt for a moment of fame. I've no doubt that a number of moustacheo-ed aircrew might have shot a line in Betty's tea-room................;)

8th Apr 2008, 17:15
ZH 875,
I have assembled a full set over the last few years at air shows and those nerdy fairs, and have tended to pay £8-11 a copy. Given that Mad Gordon wants to build "eco-towns" on most of them, I reckon their historical value can only go up!

Re Elvington, remember it is the place where the Hamster from Top Gear nearly lost his life. I have flown in there in the past, and also done a sprint there. Rufforth used to be used for motor sport a lot in my youth, but then that is not West rather than east from York.

not sure that Holme on Spalding Moor was that secret, however post war it was pretty much solely used for Blackburn and then BAe's development and flight testing, so they would have not wanted to advertise too braodly what was going on there. There are some great shots of the first Buccs being taken by road to HOSM for their flight testing. Brough itself was of course not much use for anything Whittle-powered.


8th Apr 2008, 17:54
Here is a shot taken at Holme-on-Spalding-Moor summer 1973. Derek Whitehead doing a fly-by in a Navy Buccaneer, in the foreground is the Cayley man carrier replica made by Southdown Aeroservices at Lasham.

Derek Whitehead was the boss at HoSM and hosted the Anglia TV production of "A magnificent man and his flying machines" a documentary film about Sir George Cayley. The machine was car towed up the runway to give Derek Piggott the chance to handle the machine and Anglia to obtain film footage prior to pinging him off the hillside at nearby Brompton Dale. The Cayley replica is on show today at Elvington.

In 1973 HoSM was a hive of activity stuffed with Phantoms and Buccaneers that were going through modification programmes and being test flown during the Cayley filming. I recall being shown the remains of a crater in front of the Tower which had been made some years before when a Bucc had departed into a tumble during a Toss bombing manoeuvre, sadly killing both crew.


13th Oct 2009, 12:40
I remember Elvington from the 80's when it was releif landing ground for 7FTS based at RAF Church Fenton. When a course was almost ready for first solo, they would deploy with 2 a/c to Elvington and spend the day in the circuit, leaving CF for the more advanced studes. Everyone who went solo at Elvington, including me, had a cerimonious dunking in the water resevoir by air traffic!

15th Oct 2009, 11:47
I drove round the edge of HOSM during '73 when I wased based at Lindholme. From this, I would deduce the reason people think 'secret' things happened there was its isolated position and the fact it was difficult to find without an aviation 1/4 mil.