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RAF ACKLINGTON

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  HMP ACKLINGTON, HM PRISON ACKLINGTON, FIGHTER ARMAMENTS TRIALS SCHOOL, ACKLINGTON AIRFIELD
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A military airfield, opened in 1938, used in World War II and closed in 1972. It was intended as a training base for Number 2 Air Observer School. It was originally partly equipped with reused Royal Navy Air Service seaplane sheds, and timber hutted accommodation. During the early part of the Second World War, the airfield was assigned to 13 Group Fighter Command, as a a main "Sector" airfield. In 1940, fighters from Acklington were prominent in their sector of the Battle of Britain, including their part in repelling a major Luftwaffe bombing raid on the North- East on 15th August 1940, made from bases in Norway and Denmark in the aftermath of "Adlertag". The airfield's main function by 1944 was as a forward airfield for nightfighters, as part of 12 Group. It had a landing surface of tarmac and asphalt with punched plank hardstandings. At least part of the crew accommodation was permanent, the full personnel complement being 1324 Royal Air Force and 393 Women's Auxiliary Air Force. There were 2 Type F hangars, 1 Bellman type hangar and 16 Blister hangars. In 1943 Mosquito aircraft were flown from Acklington. From 1946 to the late 1950s or into the 1960s, the airfield was used as a base for aircraft flying to practise air-to-air firing off the coast of Northumberland, and known as the Fighter Armaments Trials School, before reverting to a front-line airbase. By 1972, the site was taken up by 2 prisons (HM Prison Castington, HM Prison Acklington - see NU 20 SW 14) and opencast mine workings, which have presumably destroyed much of the former airfield.

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