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D-Day 75: RAF North Witham

Photo: The main runway at North Witham on the evening of June 5, 2019. (All images Nigel Price unless noted)

 

The main runway at North Witham on the evening of June 5, 2019. (All images Nigel Price unless noted)

Britain at War made a special visit to the former RAF North Witham airfield in Lincolnshire on the evening of June 5, to pay tribute to some of the very first Allied forces to set foot in Normandy on D-Day. The airfield, now called Twyford Wood and is owned/managed by the Forestry Commission, was home to the US Ninth Army Air Force Troop Carrier Group’s pathfinders as Station 479. The first of 20 Douglas C-47 Skytrain aircraft took off from North Witham at 9.54pm in the evening of June 5, 1944 bound for Normandy. Once over the target area at around midnight, they dropped special forces troops from the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions who set up beacons for the main airborne forces to follow.

RAF North Witham opened in late 1943, and was built in the standard bomber pattern, with three concrete runways. The station closed in 1960, and was sold to the Forestry Commission.

A highly-detailed information board charting the airfield’s history can be found at the entrance to the former RAF North Witham.

A memorial bench at the end of the former runway has an inscription dedicated to the servicemen that took part in D-Day.

A view of the main runway on the evening of June 5, 2019.

Artwork of the first C-47 to take off from RAF North Witham on June 5, 1944. (Key-Pete West)

One of the taxiways is now a footpath.

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