RAF Pocklington

 


The Sqn Logos are used and produced under licence from the MOD

Info

Thirteen miles south-east of the centre of York, this airfield lies North of the A1079 on Hodsow Lane approach to Pocklington village.

 

Above:Aeriel shots 2001 & 1940's

(Four runways can be seen in this WW II aerial photo, The third runway was never completed when it was realised that 11/29 was aligned directly towards Pocklington town threatening a considerable hazard. It was replaced with a fourth, which was also considerably longer)

 

Field Build History

Work started on RAF Pocklington in August 1940, with the design for grass runways, along with hangars, technical buildings and administration blocks, featuring 3 runways 35 circle dispersals and two loops. The technical site, located to the southwest, featured three hangars.

This was changed later during construction when it was realised that the runway 3 (07-25 at 1,300 yards) posed a threat to the village of Pocklington, and so was abandoned in favour of a fourth runway (13-31 at 1,600 yards).

Three hangars were originally constructed, and these were supplemented by two additional hangars constructed on the other side of the main A1079 road.

The station at RAF Elvington was originally built as a sub station of Pocklington, and along with RAF Melbourne became known as 42 base, within the 4 groups of Bomber Command. 

 

Runways

runway: 01/19 - 1400x..yds - concrete
runway: 07/25 - 1300x..yds - concrete
runway: 11/29 - 1300x..yds - concrete
runway: 14/32 - 1600x..yds - concrete
runway: 13/31 - ? x ? yds - grass

 

Squadrons

405 Sqn (20 Jun 1941 - 7 Aug 1942)

Motto: "Ducimus" ("We lead"). 
Badge: An eagle's head erased, facing to the sinister and holding in the beak a sprig of maple. The motto indicates that this was the first RCAF bomber squadron formed overseas and the only RCAF Pathfinder squadron. The eagle's head, facing to the left to suggest leadership, is derived from the Pathfinder badge.

The first operational unit to occupy Pocklington was also the first Canadian squadron in Bomber Command, 405 Squadron flying Wellingtons, During the first eleven months the squadron took part in 84 raids, losing 20 bombers. In April 1942 the squadron converted from Wellingtons to Halifaxes becoming operational in time to take part in the historic 1000 bomber raid on Cologne. With that aircraft they flew another 20 raids until 405 traded bases with 102 Sqn from RAF Topcliffe.

 

Armourers wheel a trolley of 1,000-lb MC bombs into position for hoisting into Handley Page Halifax Mark II, 'LQ-Q' of

405 Squadron RCAF, at Pocklington, Yorkshire. On the right, another armourer is fitting the release gear to Small Bomb Containers (SBCs) filled with 30-lb incendiary bombs.

 August 1942.© IWM (CH 6609)

 

The nose of Handley Page Halifax B Mark II, W7710 'LQ-R' "Ruhr Valley Express", of 405 Squadron RCAF, at Pocklington.

An extra truck was added to the nose insignia after each mission. W7710 crashed at Liehuus, Denmark,

on the night of 1/2 October 1942 while returning from a raid on Flensburg, Germany,© IWM (CH 6614)

 

Aircrew of No. 405 (Vancouver) Squadron RCAF board their Wellington Mk II at Pocklington, July 1941.© IWM (HU 108387)

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102 Sqn (7 Aug 1942 - 8 Sep 1945)

Motto: "Tentate et perficite" ("Attempt and achieve").

Badge: On a demi-terrestrial globe a lion rampant holding in the fore-paws a bomb. The dark demi-globe on which the lion is standing is indicative of night-bombing duties.

The squadron arrived in RAF Pocklington on 7 August with the first operation taking place on 14 April 1942.  Halifaxes Mk II's were replaced by Mk III's in May 1944 and it continued to operate the type until the end of the war.  By the end of the war the squadron had dropped 14,118 tons of bombs as well as laying 1,865 mines.  Together with other units of No 4 Group, the squadron was transferred to Transport Command on 8 May 1945.

 

'Pinocchio', a veteran Halifax of No 102 Squadron at Pocklington, has the bomb symbol for its 26th operation painted on its fuselage by a member of the ground crew, April 1943. The ice cream cornets represent raids on Italian targets and the key indicates the aircraft's 21st operation.© IWM (CH 9331)

 

Flight Lieutenant A Carey, Captain of Handley Page Halifax Mark II, 'B for Beer', of No. 102 Squadron RAF, leads his crew to the interrogation room at Pocklington, Yorkshire on their return from a night raid on Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany. The raid of 4/5 October 1943 was the first serious attack on Frankfurt, causing widespread destruction in the eastern half of the city and in the docks on the River Main © IWM (CH 11234)

West Indians in the Royal Air Force: Sergeant Lincoln Orville Lynch DFM, an air gunner serving with 102 Squadron, Royal Air Force, photographed wearing his flying kit by the rear turret of a Handley Page Halifax at Pocklington. Lynch, from Jamaica, volunteered for service in the RAF in 1942, and in 1943 won the Air Gunner's trophy for obtaining the highest percentage of his course during his training in Canada. On his first operational flight with No 102 Squadron he shot down a German Junkers Ju 88.

 

The Station Commander at Pocklington, signals Handley Page Halifax B Mark II Series I (Special), DT742 'DY-O', of No. 102 Squadron RAF, piloted by Sergeant T H Dargavel, to begin its take-off run on a night raid to the Schneider armaments factory at Le Creusot, France.© IWM (CH 10331)

 

Other Occupants

‘D’ Flt, No 1652 Heavy Conversion Unit  (31 Oct 1942 - 10 Mar 1943)

No 1475 (Training) Flt (21 Nov 1942 - 7 Mar 1943)

 

Other Photos

Engine fitters prepare to fit a brand new Rolls-Royce Merlin XX to a waiting Halifax, July/August 1942.© IWM (CH 6600)

An electrical fitter making adjustments to "George", the automatic pilot on a Handley Page Halifax.© IWM (CH 6607)

Armourers loading the ammunition servo-feed to the rear turret in a Handley Page Halifax. © IWM (CH 6640)

A Chance Light, a powerful runway floodlight on a trailer, in operation at Pocklington. Behind the Chance Light is the Airfield Identification Beacon,

also on a trailer.© IWM (CH 6695)

 

Accidents

Wellington W5490

During the early hours of 7th July 1941 the crew on this aircraft were returning from flying an operational flight to bomb Dortmund with one engine overheating. The aircraft took off from Pocklington at 22.40hrs on the previous evening and bombed the target area between 01.04 and 01.26hrs and made for home. As it approached base on the return flight it was seen flying on only one engine, it entered Pocklington's circuit and was awaiting their turn to land when the good engine burst into flames. At 04.06hrs the aircraft lost height, struck a line of trees and crashed close to the airfield sewerage works and a number of the crew being seriously injured or killed. The aircraft was badly damaged.

Pilot - F/O Ronald John Fraas RAFVR (65504), aged 26, of Hitchin. Seriously injured and died on 9th July 1941. Buried Hitchin Cemetery, Hertfordshire.

Rear Gunner - F/Sgt Albert Luckhurst RAF (522251), aged 31, of Farnham. Killed in crash. Buried Farnham Cemetery, Surrey.

Second Pilot - Sgt William Lawrence Stuart O'Brien RCAF (R/58834), of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Seriously injured.

Observer - P/O Michael Gerald Alfred McKernan RCAF (J/4766), of Calgary. Seriously injured.

Wireless Operator / Gunner - Sgt T Brown RAF (971162). Seriously injured.

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner - Sgt T J Doyle RAF (990009). Seriously injured.

 

Memorials