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RAF Binbrook after it had just closed.
By Bruce Barrymore Halpenny
Sadly, the wartime airfields that gave Lincolnshire its rightful name of Bomber County are now no more.
The once proud wartime airfields are now either overgrown and house just crumbling remains of buildings that once pulsated life, that sadly for so many aircrew was their last place on earth; or, they have been bulldozed away into the mists of time to become Ghost Airfields, each with its own Ghosts of War.
When I started researching the history of the wartime airfields for articles that I did in the Sixties and Seventies, there were, contrary to popular belief, no records, and what scant few that were available were neither use nor ornament. Instead I collected a vast number of names and contacts; and these became my files and starting points for all my military books.
As I started researching the history of the airfields, it soon became that, the more I amassed my information, the more I came across interesting and unusual accounts that were related to me by different people, at different times and generally from people that were not connected or knew each other.
'The Canteen Ghost'
The main exclusive interviews being with both aircrew and ground crew, and all others working or who had worked on the airfields; that included the NAAFI staff; and my readers are well aware of the very interesting story that I called 'The Canteen Ghost' that is in Ghost Stations™ 1. This was an exclusive interview with Mollie Tilley who was the canteen manageress. Mollie shed a tear or two over her friendly ghost; and, on reading the story it is easy to understand why.
Nothing grows around the Memorial at Sibsey
I have amassed my factual information over a great many years; and with factual information came unusual accounts that were related to me by aircrews and ground crews and such imminent people like Lord Ancaster and Lord Balfour. Lord Ancaster a very, very drear friend who was well known to many Lincolnshire people.
There are hundreds of chilling mysteries and ghostly incidents that surround the old wartime airfields of Lincolnshire. I became, due to my research and interest in this matter, the first and only one to examine and record airfield supernatural activity and thus became the expert in this field. Occurrences that happened before my research were not explained, and no attempt was made to find out the reason behind or explanation for what can only be described as, paranormal activity.
Science I believe at this moment in time, does not have the tools, or the people with the right mentality for that matter, to fully research this subject. Lord Balfour had a strong belief in the paranormal activities of the airfields and urged me to study and investigate this area of the airfield histories, and I do quote him in one of my books. Both he and I had encountered things that could not be explained in our careers in the Royal Air Force.
As my files grew ever more in size and my knowledge of the airfields increased, I set about unraveling the mysteries that were locked into these airfields that I now knew so well and have since tried to find an explanation or reason for the paranormal activities connected to them.
More often than not there is a link to a particular incident or event and it is as though a culmination of elements have helped to create the restless Spirits that are trapped in a type of Time Warp.
The remains of RAF Kelstern.
No two events are quite the same and to try and group these paranormal events and restless Spirits together or place them in groups to explain them; is impossible for each has to be researched individually and taken on its own merits, for the events or circumstances that created the restless Spirit are unique.
The mode of war for the Royal Air Force was unique, for the aircrews were never given a chance to adjust. One minute the bomber crews are in the Mess at their Lincolnshire airfield, the next they are over hostile territory. Not only that, they had to depend on so many other factors to stay alive and get safely back, for on entering the aircraft they were now in the hands of not only their fellow crew, but also the aircraft itself. You now depended on so many other factors to stay alive and get safely back to Lincolnshire. Lady Luck sure had to be on board.
When you are passing one of Lincolnshire’s many airfields, just remember that it could well be holding more than just memories and is a Ghost Airfield in the truest sense. Pausing on the perimeter track, it is not hard to imagine the aircraft as they taxi out from their dispersal and, with a gentle breeze one might even seem to hear that familiar roar of Merlin Engines.
last updated: 27/10/2009 at 14:01