The Wartime Memories Project - RAF Snaith

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Situated seven miles south-west of Goole, RAF Snaith (Pollington) was built in 1940. The airfield was assigned to No. 1 Group and No. 150 Squadron were the first to arrive in flyings Wellingtons in July 1941. In October 1942 the station was handed over to No. 4 Group. No. 51 Squadron arrived and flew from Snaith right up until the end of the war flying 264 raids and losing 148 aircraft. The last No. 4 Group bombing operation took place on April 25, 1945. A total of 205 bombers were lost from Snaith.

The airfield closed in the 1950's and in the 1970s, the M62 motorway link between the Midlands and the Humber bridge sliced through the northern part of the flying field south of Snaith itself. Much still remains including the MT sheds and the Sergeants' Mess still complete with its brick fireplace.

Squadrons stationed at Snaith

  • No 150 Squadron July 1941 to Oct 1942
  • No. 51 Squadron Oct 1942 to May 1945
  • No 578 Squadron Jan 1944 to Feb 1944

The Wartime Memories Project would like to hear from anyone who was stationed at Snaith during the war years, or anyone who lived nearby. We would love to hear your recollections of life on the base and the surrounding area.

Please contact us:

Click to send an email.
Click here to complete the online form.

We have a good clear photograph of a group of smiling, flying officers in uniform in front of a building. In it is my uncle, Flt. Lt B.A. MacDonald who is named on the Snaith portion of this great website. My uncle Bert was RCAF but with the RAF at Snaith, when on Oct. 24th, 1942, he writes to say he'll be moving on to join his Squadron. I see on your site that the date is exactly when 150 Squadron. was giving over Snaith to Squadron 151. Bert's Wellington crash is described on "Dave's wrecks"

Thanks for a wonderful site.

Flying Officer (RCAF)  S.E. Stone

Flying Officer (RCAF) S.E. Stone was a bomb aimer with 51 Squadron, based at Snaith.

Bob Stone.

I am trying to contact former members of 578 sqdn who served with my uncle Leonard Morgan from cardiff in or prior to 1944

Paul Cotter

Does anyone have any information on Shed 3 at RAF Snaith as I am investagating a haunting there of a second world war pilot or serviceman who smokes a pipe. He walks out the shed toward the the runway and is seen and also smelt there not him his pipe. I know this a strange one but I think it is rather sad that he is still there doing his rounds if you have or know anybody who knows anything would you please let me know. Thanks.

I met Derick Hawthorne on a 4 Group Battle Course at the beginning of 1943, when we discovered we lived not far apart, he in Prestwich and I in Middleton. Derick was a navigator and went on to 77 Squadron flying Halifax Mk2s from Elvington.

I was a pilot flying Halifax Mk2s from 51 Squadron at Snaith. We were both shot down on Krefeld on 21/22 June 1943, but of course we did not know that at the time. Derick baled out and a slack parachute harness gave him quite a severe jerk in the abdomen. He was sheltered by nuns in a convent in Holland and then taken to Brussels.

I lost the two engines the port side immediately after the bombing run, and had no hydraulics to raise the bomb doors. With the rudders also damaged it was difficult to hold height and course and we lost height down to 4,000 feet. I turned into Belgium and baled out my crew. When I thought all had gone, the rear gunner reported that he could not get out of the turret. ( He did not tell me he was wounded in the back and shoulder and I only found this out after the war.)

I told him I would attempt a landing, but he got out at 1,000 feet. I landed in a forest and was knocked out, but the aircraft did not burn. When I recovered I set fire to the Halifax and headed towards France. Five weeks later I found myself back in Brussels being introduced to an Evasion organisation. On my first interrogation, I gave my number rank and name, but refused any further service details, which upset my interrogator. I was asked to wait in another room and I immediately noticed a photo of Derick, wearing pyjamas and sitting up in bed, but looking very ill. I said, "I know that man. His name is Derick Hawthorne," and I was immediately accepted as genuine airman. For the next few nights I was moved to the tiny apartment of a Swiss Nurse, and there I found that Derick had arrived at her flat and had suffered a haemorrhage of the stomach. Nurse Collet refused to surrender him to the Germans and she nursed him until he could be moved on. She organised blood transfusions from friends in a local hospital and fed him on ice cream, still available in wartime Belgium.

Unknown to Nurse Collet she was a collecting point for an organisation infiltrated by the Gestapo. From her flat I was moved by the Belgian Gestapo Agent, Prosper de Zitter, who posed as a Captain in the British Secret Service. At the next address I found Derick. Later I was moved to Paris where I was handed over to the Gestapo and placed in Fresnes Gaol. Derick, a few days later, was arrested in Brussels and spent some time in St Giles Prison.

When I was moved to Dulag Luft interrogation centre the first person I saw was Derick. I next saw him when I got to Stalag IV-B. We have remained friends for 61 years.

Fred Heathfield


Inside the J-Type Hanger

The Memorial Monument at Snaith

Is this the fire tender shed adjacent to the J-type hangar?

The Seargents Mess

The Seargents Mess

The Seargents Mess

Service 25th April 2004

Lancaster fly past 25th April 2004

RAF vets at the Lancaster flyover, 25th April 2004

The Halifax memorial j-type hangar.jpg

The Halifax Memorial and J-type hangar
waafs guard hut sentry box

WAAF's guard hut and a sentry box
officers quarters

Officers quarters. Feb 2005

Peter Scott.

150 Squadrons ops board. 150 Squadron "shared" Snaith with 51 Squadron. This board is preserved at Doncasters Aeroventure. Photo by Noel J Ryan. Old Airfields

If you have any Photographs you would like to share please get in touch.

List of those who served.

  • Colin M Allen. Rear gnr. 51 Sqd.
  • Sgt W.H.Allworth. Read his story
  • Wing Commander R C Ayling C.O. of 51 Squadron.
  • Wing Commander E F E Barnard C.O. of 51 Squadron.
  • Sgt Harry Barron W/Op 51 Sqd. Read his story
  • “Jock” Baxter. rear gunner 51 Squadron.
  • Sgt J R A "Bobby" Cooke. pilot 51 Sqd.
  • Alun Emlyn-Jones. bomb aimer 51 Squadron.
  • Sergeant J.W. Frith. 578 SquadronRead his story
  • Wing Commander A D Frank DSO DFC C.O. of 51 Squadron.
  • Bob Gray. pilot 51 Squadron.
  • Sgt C.F.Glover. Air Gnr Read his story
  • Flight Sergeant L. Haley. 578 SquadronRead his story
  • Fred Heathfield. pilot. 51 Squadron.
  • Wing Commander H A R Holford C.O. of 51 Squadron.
  • Sgt L.W.Hunt. Pilot.(d. 15th January 1942) Read his story
  • Sgt T.W.Irving. Nav. (d. 15th January 1942) Read his story
  • Wing Commander D Iveson DSO DFC C.O. of 51 Squadron.
  • A E Jukes. Air gnr 51 Sqd.
  • Wing Commander C W M Ling C.O. of 51 Squadron.
  • Flight Sergeant L.C. Kelly 578 SquadronRead his story
  • Flying Officer L.G. Matthews 578 SquadronRead his story
  • Sgt H "Perks" Perkins. flt eng. 51 Sqd.
  • Flt. Lt B. A. MacDonald Read his Story
  • Sgt F.G.Maple. W/Op (d. 15th January 1942) Read his story
  • Leonard Morgan Read his Story
  • F/O Tony Negrich RCAF. Nav. 51 Sqd.
  • Corporal John Richardson Osborne
  • WAAF Barbara Ridsdale. 51 Sqd.
  • Wing Commander A V Sawyer DFC. C.O. of 51 Squadron.
  • Flight Sergeant S. Sparks. 578 SquadronRead his story
  • Flying Officer S.E. Stone. bomb aimer. RCAF 51 Sqd. Read his Story
  • W/O Wendell C Waye. bomb aimer 51 Sqd.
  • Wing Commander D S S Wilkerson C.O. of 51 Squadron.
  • Sergeant M.F. Williams 578 SquadronRead his story
  • D C Woods. Pilot. 51 Sqd.
  • Sergeant F.E. Woods 578 SquadronRead his story

If you have any names to add to this list, or any recollections or photos of those listed, please get in touch.

If you have a story which you would like to share, or a website dedicated to an airfield or aircrew, please get in touch.

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