RAF Woolfax Lodge, Rutland, September 2014

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HughieD

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After my recent shufty round the control tower at RAF Coleby Grange near Lincoln my appetite for some more airfield action was duly whetted. Cue a visit to RAF Woolfox. Here's a bit of history.

RAF Woolfox Lodge is a former RAF aerodrome that lies to the east of the A1 road and just inside the northern boundary of Rutland. The airfield itself is split between the parishes of Empingham and Greetham. It was opened in 1940 before finally closing in 1965. Initially opened as a reserve landing ground for RAF Cottesmore it then became a satellite to RAF North Luffenham in Autumn 1941 until 'full station status' was granted in June 1943. In its wartime heyday it boasted three tarmac runways and one Type B1 and four T2 aircraft hangars. There was also temporary accommodation for 1,149 male and 252 female personnel. Initially it played host to Avro Manchesters before Lancasters arrived in April 1942. In 1944 the base had Stirling Shorts stationed there.

Used in later years as a relief landing ground, Woolfax's runways later deteriorated to such an extent that the airfield was closed to flying in spring of 1954. In 1960 a Bloodhound surface-to-air missile site under No. 62 Squadron was positioned in a secure area adjacent to the A1 road near the former technical site.

Today there is still a lot to see. The Bloodhound area still has a number of buildings left but is securely fenced off and effectively out-of-bounds. The rest of the original airfield is more accessible and has been turned over to agriculture. The lay-by on the southern carriage way of the A1 is perhaps the best point of access as the buildings of most interest can be found at the northern tip of the airfield just south of Woolfax woods. Two of the three runways remain in tact.

The most impressive building is the Night Watch Tower which is in extremely good condition. Surrounding it are a number of other interesting World War II buildings.

OK. On with the pix:

The first building you come to after leaving Woolfax Woods is the AML Bombing Teacher/Turret Trainer Building:

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img6218 by HughieDW, on Flickr

A short distance away is the a chimney stack still standing proud...the building having long perished:

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img6275 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And then on to an old farm house that was used as the Armoury and Station HQ:

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img6227 by HughieDW, on Flickr

In there was the remains of a very old car:

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img6231 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Then on to the main reason for coming. The fab Night Watch Tower:

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img6247 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Inside we go:

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img6239
by HughieDW, on Flickr

Downstairs the original paint scheme can be seen:

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img6242 by HughieDW, on Flickr

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img6241 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This was quite poignant:

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img6235 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The main room upstairs has been blocked up:

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img6244 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Downstairs though the original window-frames survive:

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img6251 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Apparently after the war the tower was used as a game-keeper's house, hence the non-regulation RAF fireplace:

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img6248 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Another quick external of the tower:

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img6260 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Before we head into the crew briefing building:

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img6266 by HughieDW, on Flickr

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img6265 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Then back off into the woods. Here there are also remnants of other airfield buildings. Not too sure what this is:

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img6278 by HughieDW, on Flickr

But apparently this is a documents safe, the building once accommodating it now ironically perished.

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img6279 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And finally the concrete base of one of the airfield's four T2 Hangers.

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img6277 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Thanks for looking!
 
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Pilot

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I suspect that many of us old airmen find these sites poignant. How lovely, though, that someone thought to leave a remembrance cross there. Woolfax Lodge would have had its share of lost crews. Thank you for this report.
 

No-One

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Hello Everyone,

Myself and a friend also did this base but going back a few years ago now, if i can i will try and find my pictures :)
 

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