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RAF USWORTH

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The site of a former military airfield used in both World Wars and later as a civil airport. The military airfield opned in 1916 and was then known as Hylton. Its main role in World War One was as the base for a No 36 Home Defence Squadron, charged with intercepting Zeppelin raids on the north-east coast. The airfield was abandoned in 1919. It was recativated and rebuilt from 1930-1932, and was then known as RAF Usworth. The flying field was situated to the south of the B1289 road with ancilliary buildings north of the road. A Lamella aircraft hangar was erected on the southern site along with a number of offices, an armoury and technical buildings. Firing butts were situated by the railway line. Two concrete runways were added in 1939. During the initial phases of World War Two the airfield was a fighter station. The World War Two airfield included Blister and Callender aircraft hangars and airfield defence sites. During the middle part of the war the airfield was primarily used by 55 and 62 Operational Training Units; the former training a number of foreign and Commonwealth airmen. However the airfield was not well suited to these activities and from 1943 it was mainly used for ground based training purposes. After the war the aifield was used at first as a glider training school and then the Basic Air Navigation School. In 1962 the military left and the site became a civil airport (Sunderland Airport). The runways were relaid and the Lamella hangar rennovated. The airfield closed in 1984-85. The airfield became a car factory, the Lamellar hangar, which is a listed building, is extant. From 1977 the site was home to the North East Aircraft Museum; it was relocated to the site north of Washington Road when the flying field bcame a factory. The museum has a historic aircraft collection.

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