Waterbeach Barracks Denny End Road Waterbeach
Wartime control tower at Waterbeach. Photo WMHM
Map of airfield. Photo WMHM
In September 1945, after the end of WW2, the Station was transferred to No 47 Group Transport Command and two squadrons operated Liberators on trunk-
In March 1950 runway re-
In 1963 the station was transferred to RAF Maintenance Command and became the base of the Airfield Construction Depot (5001 and 5003 Squadrons). The airfield was on care and maintenance, although occasionally it was used for manoeuvres and training. In 1966 the Airfield Construction Branch was disbanded and its role was taken over by the Army.
On 15 May 1966 the station was officially handed over to the Airfield Construction Branch of the Royal Engineers. In March the following year 39 Engineer Regiment (Airfields) was formed. At the time it consisted of two construction squadrons and two independent specialist plant and construction troops, along with a Regimental Headquarters. The Regiment was based in Waterbeach until July 2012, when it went north to Kinloss in Scotland.
The wartime airfield at RAF Witchford, 1.8 miles south west of Ely, and 7.5 miles north of Waterbeach, is still remembered in the name of the Lancaster Way Industrial Estate.
RAF Witchford and RAF Mepal were substations of RAF Waterbeach under the RAF’s Base Station system, in which bomber stations were grouped in threes to achieve optimum use of aircraft, equipment, and facilities.
Waterbeach Barracks in 2019. Drone picture courtesy of Geoff Soden
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RAF Waterbeach station was built for No. 3 Group, Bomber Command, between 1940 and 1941, on farmland and orchards of Winfold Farm, a large agricultural concern between Denny Abbey and Waterbeach village. Waterbeach was one of 29 wartime airfields in Cambridgeshire.
Three concrete runways were built in 1940, between 1200 and 1460 metres long, with a perimeter taxiway and hardstandings, as well as two J-
33 Base was formed at Waterbeach in August 1943, and it was responsible for the nearby airfields at Witchford and Mepal until 1945. Operational losses from RAF Waterbeach during WW2 were 122 bombers (33 Wellingtons, 8 Stirlings and 81 Lancasters).