Officer's Mess, RAF Manby, Lincolnshire, May 2018

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HughieD

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1. The History
RAF Manby opened in 1938 and became the first Lincolnshire airfield with paved runways. During World War II it played host to a variety of squadrons, disciplined in both ground and air operations. Manby's first fully-fledged defensive squadron, No.2782 Defence Squadron, manned a variety of defences including machine guns, 20mm cannon and BOFOR guns. Manby was home to No.1 Air Armaments Training School, who remained at Manby for the duration of the war, utilising a huge variation of aircraft. In July 1944, the school was upgraded to 'Empire' status and with the increased workload that bought, Manby was subject to a major expansion.

After the war Manby become home to the RAF Flying College which, like the No.1 AAS that preceded it, operated a variation of aircraft. In 1954 a Manby-based English Electric Canberra (WH699) become the first aircraft to fly over the North Pole. After being renamed the RAF College of Air Warfare, Manby received a contingent of new Jet Provosts, replacing the propeller driven Percival Provosts. Around this time, Manby was also home the 'Macaws' display team who operated the schools Jet Provost aircraft. In 1972, with the closure of RAF Strubby down the road, Manby received the Hawker Siddeley Dominies that had been flying from there but despite this, rumours that Manby was next to be closed started to circulate.

Two years later Manby was indeed closed, at the end of March 1974. Many of the housing sections of the base came under control of RAF Binbrook while the main bulk of the technical site was sold to Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) who still own premises today. Today the majority of buildings form part of the Manby Business Park and the hangers are in use for storage, however the former Officers Mess sits abandoned and forlorn.

2. The Explore
As soon as I saw the main building’s façade, knew I wanted to come and see this place. Relatively easy access and a relaxed mooch. It’s pretty trashed inside and the local yobs have done their thing but the frontage is alone justification for a visit. The roof is still in relatively good nick. The place is saveable if someone with a bit of money to put into the place could be found. Sadly this seems really unlikely and the place looks set to continue in the long decline its been suffering.

3. The Pictures

Down the road we go:

42514987511_dbeb4d1b83_b.jpgimg7736 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And here it is!

42463079292_3782b14892_b.jpgimg7737 by HughieDW, on Flickr

What a façade:

42513963071_9810f2e048_b.jpgimg7684 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40705894870_c4d90de602_b.jpgimg7682 by HughieDW, on Flickr

27643265657_9053f60ecd_b.jpgimg7685 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Love the stone-balladed balconies:

40705735330_b52a3eea8a_b.jpgimg7686 by HughieDW, on Flickr

28640388128_fc05dba7e7_b.jpgimg7687 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40705603080_3478f81472_b.jpgimg7689 by HughieDW, on Flickr

28640218768_be03ee3ff6_b.jpgimg7693 by HughieDW, on Flickr

42461803112_2e7207fa88_b.jpgimg7694 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Time to pop inside. The wood panelled entrance hall:

27643522057_b2e8dec5a6_b.jpgimg7715 by HughieDW, on Flickr
42462330742_746dec85c1_b.jpgimg7716 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And on to the main hall:

41790744534_fbc64a03ed_b.jpgimg7696 by HughieDW, on Flickr

42462400392_0257d77c77_b.jpgimg7713 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The kitchen area:

27642886767_8a7d7d064a_b.jpgimg7695 by HughieDW, on Flickr
40706482970_85ae16eaed_b.jpgimg7697 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The former bar:

40706180410_1a42df7f73_b.jpgimg7711 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The stage:

41791521884_a9f75d4293_b.jpgimg7710 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Not sure the pool table should be this way up:

27643580807_75673298ca_b.jpgimg7712 by HughieDW, on Flickr

That wall-paper:

40706441840_e8888307d0_b.jpgimg7701 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This room’s seen better days:

41612108965_69987397bc_b.jpgimg7706 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Up-the-stairs Mr:

42463432412_e3d1276b73_b.jpgimg7726 by HughieDW, on Flickr
28673441428_27f08a966d_b.jpgimg7717 by HughieDW, on Flickr

42515270491_6ea073f35f_b.jpgimg7727 by HughieDW, on Flickr

42494801472_309f20fe9d_b.jpgimg7720 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40738438170_0db12e9855_b.jpgimg7721 by HughieDW, on Flickr

41824267914_7fdf8235e6_b.jpgimg7722 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And on to the side buildings briefly:

42463215592_e068a86b8e_b.jpgimg7734 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40707109340_fb90fdca4e_b.jpgimg7735 by HughieDW, on Flickr
 

RedX_unleashed

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Great shot's Hugie, took me back a bit. I grew up very close to here in the nearby Town of Louth. Although RAF Manby was closed by this point there was still a fair amount of activity overhead, mainly thanks to the A10's heading to the nearby bombing range of Donna Nook. Thanks for sharing these :)
 

Hugh Jorgan

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That's a shame the building is going to ruin. It could be saved. In picture 7713 I assume the veranda area was for the band/orchestra.
 

Mikeymutt

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Nice report mate.it just gets worse this place.but you are right it's worth it for the externals
 

HughieD

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Nice report mate.it just gets worse this place.but you are right it's worth it for the externals

Cheers Mikey. Yup. The chavs have been in en mass and smashed the place up. Real shame. Saw some pix from seven years ago and it was pretty much untouched.
 

HughieD

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UPDATE- the main building has now been very badly fire-damaged as of October 2018 which spells the end for the possibility of this place getting restored etc
 

Dirus_Strictus

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In picture 7713 I assume the veranda area was for the band/orchestra.

Musicians have indeed played on the balcony, but this was not the norm. This area has atrocious acoustics and the bands were normally situated at one end of the dance floor. The balcony was really an area set aside where the CO of the Base could meet with his senior quests and the local big wigs - away from the erks down below! Spent some time there in the mid to late 60's.
 

ReeceReid

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What’s the location exactly for this place please? Went last weekend couldn’t find it but found a different building instead lol. Thanks
 

J_a_t_33

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What’s the location exactly for this place please? Went last weekend couldn’t find it but found a different building instead lol. Thanks
Hey dude,

It's not common practice to ask for specific location details openly on the forum.

Best of doing some digging, scouring Google Earth etc.

Dropping a pm to the author of a report may get you a result, but not so many people are happy to share exact location details.

Good luck with your search.
 

John_D

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My late father was based at Manby at the beginning of WWII, before he was posted to North Africa, in charge of ground crew working on Spitfires and Hurricanes in Egypt. Around 1991 I took him back there and we wandered around the buildings in the original post, which were then open and not derelict, bought back lots of memories for him :cool:.
 

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