RAF Acaster Malbis – Acaster Malbis – August 2012

RAF Acaster Malbis, situated between the villages of Acaster Malbis and Acaster Selby, was commissioned in 1942. Originally it was a grass airfield used by the No 601 Squaron Auxiliary Air Force from 6 January 1942 until April of that year. They flew American Bell P39 Airacobra fighter planes. From 6 April 1942 until the beginning of 1943 No 15 Pilots Advanced Flying Unit was established here to train recently qualified pilots to convert to twin-engine aeroplanes using the Airspeed Oxford aircraft.

On 25 January 1943 the airfield was reconstructed into a full size ‘Class A’ bomber station, with three concrete runways, steel hangars and new administration buildings. Initially the airfield was used as a relief landing ground for heavy bombers stationed at Rufforth and Marston Moor. From November 1944, No 4 Aircrew School took over for pilots, navigators, and air gunners to complete their ground training whilst waiting for a posting to a squadron. In 1945 there were between 200 and 300 RAF personnel living on the camp.

After the end of the war, RAF Acaster Malbis was home to No 91 MU (Maintenance Unit) who were responsible for the storage and disposal of vast amounts of ammunition. This function was not complete until well into the 1950s. RAF Acaster Malbis was decommissioned in 1963 and the land sold by public auction. It resumed operations as a private airfield in the mid-1970s until the mid 1980s. Large parts of the runways have since been dug up and the buildings have fallen into disuse with many being demolished, although one hangar and the control tower still remain.


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