RAF Digby

RAF Digby is about 15 miles south of Lincoln and 8 miles north of Sleaford.

Although nominally an RAF station, over the last thirty years it has been used by the Army, Navy, Air Force and more recently, by United States military personnel. Home to two Signals Units, Joint Service Signals Wing (see 399 Signals Unit), 591 Signals Unit and the Aerial Erector School With no airfield its main function now is a communications base.


In 1942 it was used by the Royal Canadian Air Force but previous alumni include Douglas Bader and Guy Gibson. It remembers this era with a Supermarine Spitfire replica as a gate guardian.

There is a bunker dating back to the Second World War when RAF Digby was a sector operations HQ, which has been restored and is now a museum.

Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr., who wrote "the most inspirational poem of aviation literature, High Flight" was stationed with Number 412 RCAF Fighter Squadron at Wellingore, a satellite of Digby. It is said that it was inspired by being able to test pilot a new Spitfire V; however, Magee's logbook indicates that he flew his inspirational flight in a standard Spitfire MKI on August 18, 1941, while at No. 53 OTU.

The station is the oldest RAF station, being named RAF Scopwick on March 31, 1918, the day before the official founding of the RAF and the naming of other stations. Its name was changed because of the similar name of another RAF station, RAF Shotwick (now RAF Sealand). For radio communications reasons both stations' names were changed.

Around 1951, when this writer was a pupil at the 2-class primary school just off the camp, RAF Digby was used for RAF Initial Flying Training, with students flying Tiger Moths. The Station Commander had the use of the Station's sole Chipmunk.


More recently, the station has hosted a new annual event open to the public. Party In The Park - established by the RAF itself in 2004 - is now a regular fixture in late July or early August. In 2007 the event fell on Saturday 4 August. The event has its own website for online ticket sales, commencing in early April 7.

The station gymnasium is around the size of a football pitch being all undersprung and with a 200 m running track around the outside. There is also an outdoor astroturf pitch. The station has football, hockey, rugby and cricket teams all willing to host visiting sides. Students at the aerial erector school include some entrants to the civilian electricity supply and broadcasting industries.

Reference Source

  • Bruce Barrymore Halpenny Action Stations: Wartime Military Airfields of Lincolnshire and the East Midlands v. 2 (ISBN 978-0850594843)

Further reading

John P. Rennison. Digby Diary: A History of RAF Digby in Lincolnshire, 1917 - 1953. (2003)

See also

External links

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