Text & Pictures: Serge Van Heertum (other as mentioned) sbap 2015


Newark Air Museum is located on the former Royal Air Force station at Winthorpe, near Newark-on-Trent in Nottinghamshire, UK.
In 1964, 200 acres (0.81 km2) of the former airfield were purchased by the Newark and Nottinghamshire Agricultural Society, who have since held the Newark and Nottinghamshire County Show. A limited company called Newark (Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire) Air Museum was formed in 1968. The museum officially opened on 14 April 1973.
Newark Air Museum is now one of the largest independent aviation museums in the UK and is home to a rich collection of around 80 airframes (including some cockpit section), from the beautiful Hawker Hunter F1 to the menacing Warsaw Pact Flogger's.

History of RAF Winthorpe

Local legend has it that Winthorpe airfield was built in error and was never used operationally because the main runway was aligned such that a fully laden bomber taking off for a mission would pass over the town and more importantly Winthorpe Airfield showing a plane's path over Newark and the Ransome and Marles ball bearing factory.the Ransome and Marles ball bearing factory. This would lead to a fairly high risk of an own goal' doing something that Gering failed to do, that is destroy bearing production and the factory skilled workforce. History supports this theory.
It was built in 1940 as a satellite field for RAF Swinderby and later Syerston. It has the distinction of being one of the few airfields in the area to be attacked, a parachute mine falling on the November 14, 1940. This was seen coming down by some of the ground personnel. Thinking it was a parachutist they began firing. When they realized that it was a parachute mine they ran for their lives. It landed on the south side of the airfield leaving a large hole and fortunately no loss of life or aircraft. The airfield was then used as a base for a Heavy (bomber) Conversion Unit, i.e. training. During a brief period around D-Day it was used as a storage site for gliders and then reverted to its HCU role until the end of the war. So whilst there is no official admission of a mistake, it does indeed seem that the airfield was not used for operational flying.
Flying ceased in 1945 and the airfield became inactive in 1959.

Some important dates :

September 1940 - RAF Station Winthorpe, N 51 Base, was opened as a satellite station for RAF Swinderby. Early operations were mainly centered on the Polish squadrons 300 and 301, who usually flew Fairey Battles, operating from Winthorpe when Swinderby was water logged.

June 23, 1941 - A 301 squadron Wellington returning from Bremen crashed in a barley field at Roewood Farm, Winkburn near Southwell, Nottinghamshire. Two aircrew were killed and were buried in the Polish cemetery at Newark. Farmers Mr. and Mrs. Broadberry pulled the remainder of the crew from the burning aircraft. They were awarded British Empire Medals.

November 1941 - Control of Winthorpe was passed on to RAF Ossington and was used for a period as a Relief Landing Ground by N 14 Pilots Advanced Flying Unit (PAFU) who had arrived at Ossington in January 1942.

February 7, 1942 - Control of the station passed to RAF Syerston. During this period the airfield's concrete runways were laid, albeit in a poorly thought out way, due to close proximity of the Ransome and Marles ball bearing factory, located just about a mile away from the main runway.

October 7, 1942 - N 1661 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU) was formed as part of N 5 Group, under the command of Squadron Leader John Nettleton VC. N 1661 took over from N's 9, 44 and 49 Squadron Bomber Conversion Flights, operating initially with A and B Flights at Waddington and C Flight at Scampton. The unit's task was to convert crews from N 5 Group's Operational Training Unit (OTU) squadrons onto flying Manchester and Lancaster, turning them out ready for operational duty.

December 29, 1942 - All three flights were noted as being ready for transfer to RAF Winthorpe. HCU courses were split into two sections for crews to receive flying and ground training on alternate days. Courses were normally set at six weeks, typically first half on Manchester and second half on Lancaster. Other aircraft operated by HCU included Halifaxe and Stirling.

March 15, 1943 - N 51 Conversion Base was born with Swinderby as the Base Station and Winthorpe and Wigsley as sub stations. The Conversion Units located within the base were, N 1660 at Swinderby, N 1654 at Wigsley and N 1661 at Winthorpe.

November 3, 1944 - Control of N 51 Base was transferred to the newly formed N 7 Group, and the station was numbered N 75 Base, although training was still to N 5 Group's standards and format. Later that month Lancaster started to replace Stirling. Two aircraft, a Spitfire and a Hurricane, arrived on the station for Fighter Affiliation Training although not fully effective until early 1945.

January 31, 1945 - The base was selected to investigate improvements to bombing techniques. A Bombing Officer was appointed to each flight and an all-round effort from Flying Staff, Armament and Electrical Officers helped with the eventual achievement of worthwhile improvements.

February 4, 1945 - Last of the 42 Stirlings left the base. N 1661 HCU has now 32 Lancaster's on hand.
Short Striling N 1661 HCU at Winthorpe in March 1944 with a 619 sqn crew on training.
This crew was shotdown in operation on Lancaster PG-C on June 22nd, 1944 at Postel in Belgium. (Courtesy Mrs Jane Knox)
More informations on www.knoxetal.com/raf/raf.asp
Avro Lancaster replaced the Stirling (Courtesy IWM)

May 24, 1945 - Communication from HQ Bomber Command advising the date of disbanding N 1661 HCU as August 24, 1945. All flight training ceased. Most of the Lancaster aircraft started to be dispatched to other units and shut down moved on as planned with the target date of October 10, 1945. Sections of the station started to close, with N 1site being first, followed by N 4. By September 26, 1945 N 1661 HCU had closed ahead of schedule. Control of the station was passed on to Transport Command.

October 20, 1945 - The station became again a satellite station to RAF Syerston N 4 Group Transport Command. Halifax, Dakota, Oxford and Horsa gliders used Winthorpe as a dropping zone until July 1947.

July 1947 - Winthorpe becomes part of the Maintenance Command and in February 1953 the Central Servicing Development Establishment arrived from RAF Wittering, but without aircraft.

1956 - Winthorpe transferred to Home Command. An event marked by a marching out ceremony. The station was allocated to the USAF as a hospital, although it was never occupied and eventually reverted back under M.O.D. control.

June 30, 1959 - Winthorpe becomes inactive. Although the accommodation quarters from the station continued in RAF use until the 1960's they were eventually incorporated into the village of Coddington.

1964 - Two hundred acres of the former Winthorpe RAF Station were purchased by the Newark and Nottinghamshire Agricultural Society.

1965 - The present showground site was formally established and started its operations.

July 8, 1967 - With the approval of the Agricultural Society the museum's first aircraft was flown into the showground in the shape of the former RAF Cranwell trainer Percival Prentice.

1968 - Newark (Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire) Air Museum formally incorporated as a limited company and registered as a charity. The museum officially opened to the public on April 14, 1973.

September 24, 2000 - Newark Air Museum formally dedicated the RAF Winthorpe Memorial on the 60th Anniversary of the RAF Station. The memorial features part of a propeller hub of a MK 111 Short Stirling, EF186 from N 1661 HCU, which was based at RAF Winthorpe. The aircraft crashed out of control at Breeder Hills near Grantham, Lincolnshire on December 4, 1944, after entering cumulus nimbus cloud while practicing recovery from unusual flight altitudes. The Stirling was carrying a crew of nine and there were no survivors.

Hall 1

This hall has a selection of very early flying machines and a nice collection of post war jets, including Sea Venom, Seahawk, SAAB Draken and Westland Whirlwind, Bell Sioux and Bristol Sycamore helicopters. There is also a nice collection of Bomber Command gun turrets and part of a Lancaster fuselage at the back of the hall.

General view Hall 1 Aircraft recognition office
Mignet HM.14 "Pou du ciel"  BAPC.43 Eiper Quicksilver MX  G-MJDW
Ward Gnome Taylor Monoplane  G-APRT
Avro Anson C.19  VL348 Pulse jet engine of a V1 flying bomb
De Havilland Venom NF.3  WX905
Jet Provost cockpit trainer... ...and the instructor control panel
De Havilland DH.115 Vampire T.11  XD593 Hunting Percival P.56 Provost T.1  WV606
Volmer VJ-24W  G-MBBZ Westlant Whirlwind HAS.7  XM685
Saab 91.B Safir  56321 Percival P.40 Prentice  VR249
Upkeep Mine Link trainer
Lancaster and turret corner Lancaster Mk.I fuselage section W4964  WS-J
Lancaster Mid-Upper turret Boulton Paul turret type A Mk.VIII
Armstrong Whitworth turret (Anson Mk.I) Armstrong Whitworth turret fitted with 0.303 browning gun.
Was placed on the roof of a building at RAF Tollerton.

Mc Donnell Douglas F-4M Phontom II flight simulator transferred from RAF Wattisham
De Havilland DH.112 Sea Venom FAW.22  WW217
Armstrong Whitworth (Hawker) Sea Hawk FB.3  WM913 Firestreak air-to-air missile
Insigna of the FAA 899 squadron
Bensen B-8M Gyrocopter  G-ASNY and
Bristol Sycamore 3  WT933 in the background
Zurowski ZP.1 Homebuilt Helicopter
Westland Sioux AH.1  XT200 Saro Skeeter AOP.12  XL764

Triumph S.V.twin 500cc

Projector Fortress Mk.8/1 from Vickers
Rolls Royce Derwent Mk.9 Bristol-Siddely / Rolls Royce Stentor engine (Blue Steel missile)
Super Tiger Cub 440  G-MBUE Saab S-35XD Draken  AR-107
Sud Aviation SA.341 Gazelle  XW276 Clutton Fred Series 2  G-BJAD
De Havilland DH.82A Tiger Moth  G-MAZY The ludic left side of the G-MAZY
Lee Richards Annular Biplane replica Replica built in 1965 for the movie "Those magnificent men in their flying machines"

Hall 2

The larger and newer of the two halls is home to a beautiful collection of preserved jets, including a very rare Camberra B1 that was used in the de-icing trials. A beautiful Hunter F1, Sea Harrier FA2, SAAB Viggen, Folland Gnat, HP Jetstream, Westland Wessex, Scottish Aviation Bulldog and Jet Provost are among the other habitants.


Luscombe P3 Rattler Strike  G-BKPG

During RB108 engine trials (Courtesy NAM)

VZ608 began its life as a standard FR.9 and served with 208 Sqn before going back to Glosters for duty as a test-bed. During 1951 it was transferred to Rolls Royce at Hucknall, where it was assigned for testing the RB108 lift jet engine for the Short SC.1 programme.
The RB108 was installed behind the cockpit, replacing the main fuel tank, and trials began in 1955. Although the aircraft had underwing fuel tanks, it was limited to 30 minutes flying. The orientation of the engine could be altered in flight to simulate vertical flight, with a replica of the Short SC.1 air scoop fitted, to accurately simulate the SC.1 aerodynamics.
After the successful trials, VZ608 was put on the fire dump at Hucknall, but was rescued in February 1970 and moved to the Newark Air Museum where it is today.
Westland Wessex HC Mk.2  XV728 Folland Gnat T.1  XR534
Hawker siddeley Dominie T.1  XS726 English Electric Canberra B(I).8 Model  WV787
Scottish Aviation Bulldog T.1  XX634 Cockpit simulator from Blackburn Beverley C.1
Hunting Percival (BAC) Jet Provost T3A  XM383 Bristol Siddeley Viper 8 (Mk.102)
Gnat procedure trainer and Jet Provost T.3 cockpit section (XN573) Vickers Varsity T.1  WF369
Original engine covers opening...
Scottich Aviation Jetstream  XX492 Close up on Turbomeca Astazou 940 Hp engine
Hawker Siddely P.1216 project Test set for Ferranti Airpass AI-23 fire control radar (Lightning)
De Havilland Canada Chipmunk T.10  WB624 Saab AJSH 37 Viggen  373918
Supermarine Swift FR.5  WK277 Fairey Fireflash air-to-air missile
Close up on the nose of this rare fighter Armstrong Whitworth Meteor NF.12  WS692
Hawker Hunter F.1  WT651 Rolls Royce Avon 210
British Aerospace Sea Harrier FRS.2 / FA.2  ZA176 Rolls Royce Pegasus Mk106
Gloster Javelin FAW.8  HX992
Aviasud Sirocco 377GB  G-MNRT Surveillance drone CSV.30
Tasuma CVS.30 Cranfield Aerospace, Dera & Tasuma Observer UAV concept
Some models exhibition to relate the history RAF squadron relics

Engine section

This little hangar proposes a panel of very interesting engines like the two Gipsy Six engines of the mythic De Havilland Comet.


Bristol Centaurus 661 Rolls Royce RB.109 Tyne
Bristol Hercules 100 Bristol Hercules Mk XVI
Alvis Leonides LE.24.HM Armstrong Siddely Cheetah Mk.II
Junkers Jumo 211J Daimler Benz DB 601
Ceskomoravska Kolben Danek Praga "E" De Havilland Goblin
Rolls Royce RB.41 Nene Rolls Royce Avon RA.29/1 Mk.525
Rolls Royce RB.53 Dart 102 Bristol / Rolls Royce Olympus
Napier Gazelle 503 Bristol.Siddeley / Rolls Royce Viper 11 (200)
Rolls Royce RB.53 Dart 101 Avco-Lycoming T-55-L-712
De Havilland Gipsy Six De Havilland Gipsy Queen 175
TSR.2 wing section (left) and engine bay door (right)

External displays

The area in front of the caf is home to various British aircraft such as English Electric Canberra, Gloster Meteor, Handley Page Hastings, Avro Shackelton, English Electric Lightning, SEPECAT Jaguar and the iconic Avro Vulcan. Further airframes are displayed around the two halls, including a pair of Polish & Soviet Floggers, F-100D Super Sabre and Fleet Air Arm Buccaneer S1, Sea Vixen and Fairey Gannet.

The flight arrival of the XM594...10 minutes flying time...

Just after the landing a serious snow storm... (Courtesy NAM)

XM594 in operation (Archives RAF)
One of the museum master piece...

Blue Steel Nuclear Missile (up) and Yellow Sun H bomb (down) without the tail fin
Air intakes Cockpit close up

The XM594 pilot office

The crew access door
Avro Vulcan B.2  XM594
Cessna 310  G-APNJ Socata MS.880B  Rallye Club  G-BFTZ
De Havilland Dove Series 1  G-AHRI English Electric Canberra PR.7  WH791
Gloster Meteor T.7  VZ634 English Electric Canberra PR.9 Cockpit section  XH177
English Electric Canberra T.17 cockpit section  WH863 English Electric Canberra T.19  WH904
Avro Shackleton Mk.3 Phase 3  WR977
Handley Page Hastings T.5  TG517
Dassault Mystere IV.A N83 North American F.100D Super Sabre 54-223
Practice bombs on trolley Mc Donnell Douglas F-4J nose section
Sepecat Jaguar T2A  XX829 De Havilland Heron Series 1.B  G-ANXB
Armstrong Whitworth Meteor NF.14  WS739 English Electric Lightning T.5  XS417
Lockheed T.33A Shooting Star  19036
Blackburn Buccaneer S.1  XN964
De Havilland Sea Vixen FAW.2  XJ560
Fairey Gannet AEW.3  XP226 Hawker Hunter T.7  XL618
Mikoyan-Gurevich Mig-27 "Flogger"  61912507006 Mikoyan-Gurevich Mig-23M "Flogger"  024003607
Type 86 Radar cabin Thunderbird Sam Misile
ZPU-4 Soviet anti-aircraft gun

Restaurations and projects

As every museum, the management and volunteers are busy with some restorations and projects like a North American T-6 Harvard originating from the Dutch Air Force (Wings are probably from an Italian aircraft), a Slingsby glider, an Auster AOP.9, a real interesting General Aircraft ST12 Monospar, the first Mooney M20.A delivered in the UK directly from the US and finally a must for British aviation, the Avro Ashton WB491. Also, some goodwill people are proceeding to the clean up or the paint refresh of some aircraft always needed to keep this unique collection in the best possible state.
In one word, this aviation museum located on a historic place is certainly a must-see attraction for the aviation enthusiast.

North American T.6 Harvard 42-12417 Ex RCAF  FE930
Note the discovered markings...former B-163 of the KLU

Mooney M20.A  G-APVV the first Mooney delivered in the UK

Auster AOP.9 project  (XR268)

In 1929, the Monospar Company Ltd was formed to pursue new techniques of designing cantilever wings, based on the work of Swiss engineer Helmuth J. Stieger, who headed the company. Helmuth John Stieger was born in Zurich in 1902 and educated at the Swiss Federal Polytechnic then the Imperial College of Science in London. While working as a designer for William Beardmore and Company, he formed his own ideas about wing design and evolved an improved method of building and stressing wings for which he was later granted a British Patent in December 1927. The principle behind this Patent No. 306,220 was that the wing needed only one spar with torsion loads resisted by a clever system of strong compression struts with triangulated bracing in the form of thin wires. The design was revolutionary and very light for its strength.
Based on this design, The Monospar Company designed a twin-engined low-wing aircraft designated the Monospar ST-3 that was built and flown in 1931 by the Gloster Aircraft Company at Brockworth, Gloucestershire. After successful testing of the Monospar ST-3, a new company General Aircraft Ltd was formed to produce aircraft that used the new Monospar wing designs.
The first production design was the Monospar ST-4, a twin-engined low-wing monoplane with a fixed tailwheel landing gear and folding wings for ground storage. Powered by two Pobjoy radial engines, the first aircraft (G-ABUZ) first flew in May 1932, and was followed by five production aircraft. The Monospar ST-4 Mk.II, an improved variant with minor differences, followed with a production run of 30. In 1933, the Monospar ST-6 appeared a similar aircraft to the ST-4 with manually retractable landing gear and room for an extra passenger. The Monospar ST-6 was only the second British aircraft to fly with a retractable landing gear (the first, the Airspeed Courier, was flown a few weeks earlier). Another Monospar ST-6 was built, and two ST-4 Mk.IIs were converted. GAL then produced a developed version, the Monospar ST-10, externally the same but powered by two Pobjoy Niagara engines, an improved fuel system, and aerodynamic refinements. The Monospar ST-12 had a fixed landing gear and was equipped with two de Havilland Gipsy Major Engines. A total of ten ST-12 were built.

On duty... (Courtesy Air Britain)

Monospar ST-12 in restauration

The Avro 689 Tudor 9 was based on the Avro 689 Tudor II piston-engined airliner using experience on work on the Rolls-Royce Nene jet-powered experimental variant the Tudor 8. The Avro Type 689 Tudor 9 later renamed the Avro 706 Ashton was a four-jet-engined research aeroplane powered by Rolls-Royce Nene engines paired in wing nacelles.
Six were built using the Tudor airframe, beginning with the conversion of Tudor I initially powered by Nene 5 engines. The Ashtons that followed incorporated the upgraded Nene 6 and featured an enlarged, "square-shaped" tail fin and tricycle landing gear replacing the original "taildragger" configuration. The engines were tightly grouped in two nacelles that were faired neatly into the wing but also extended below in streamlined pods. The four-engine arrangement compensated for the low thrust of the early jet engines and greatly reduced asymmetric affects in an "engine-out" scenario.
The crew was composed of a pilot, co-pilot, navigator, flight engineer and radio operator clustered together in the cockpit and front compartment of the Ashton. A larger complement could be carried in the spacious fuselage when warranted.

The nose section of this amazing jet aircraft The WB491 today
The Ashton prototype WB490 (Coll SBAP) The WB491 during his RAF career (Archives RAF)
The nose The pressurisation bulk
SBAP and Silver Wing Magazine would like to thanks Mr Howard Heeley for the visit planning. Many thanks also to Mr Mike Smith and Mr Keith Griffiths for their warm welcome during our rest in this splendid and real interesting museum...If you are in the Lincolnshire, spent a visit...it's a must!
For more informations click on the museum logo

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