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RAF Middleton St. George
A crew of No. 78 Squadron RAF watch as engine adjustments are made to an Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bomber, Z6743, before they take off for a raid from Middleton St George.
|Operator||Royal Air Force |
Royal Canadian Air Force
|Location||Middleton St. George|
RAF Middleton St. George was a Royal Air Force (RAF) Bomber Command station during World War II. It was located in County Durham, five miles east of Darlington, England. The stations' motto was Shield and Deter.
Second World War
The airfield began its life as Royal Air Force Goosepool, and in 1941 became RAF Middleton St. George when the aerodrome opened under the auspices of Bomber Command. Whilst the nearest settlement was Middleton St George, the station acquired the Goosepool after the nearby farm. In 1943 it was allocated to No. 6 Group, Royal Canadian Air Force. A sub-station was located at RAF Croft, Yorkshire. Squadrons based here include: 76 Squadron, which flew Handley Page Halifaxes, 78 Squadron, which flew Armstrong Whitworth Whitleys, 419 Squadron RCAF, which flew Vickers Wellingtons, Halifaxes, and Avro Lancasters, 420 Squadron RCAF, which flew Wellingtons, and 428 Squadron RCAF, which flew Wellingtons, Halifaxes, and Lancasters.
After the war, the aerodrome served various squadrons and units including No. 13 Operational Training Unit (OTU), No. 2 Air Navigation School, No. 4 Flying Training School, and squadrons that used Gloster Meteors, Hawker Hunters, Gloster Javelins and English Electric Lightnings. In 1947, the airfield became a satellite station of RAF Leeming, North Yorkshire.
In 1962 Flight Officer Jean Oakes became the first woman to fly at over 1,000 mph. The London Times of 14 September 1962 reported that from RAF Middleton St George, she took over the controls from Flight Lieutenant John Smith and flew up and down the north east coast at about 1.6 mach.
The RAF left the station in 1964, but the aerodrome was reopened in 1966 as a civil airport. The airfield was named Teesside International Airport in the 1960s, and was renamed Durham Tees Valley Airport in 2004. In the late 1980s the entire Married Quarter estate was sold to a Roger Byron-Collins company and was renamed The Virginia Estate.
From 1968 to 1979, some of the former station buildings housed Middleton St George College of Education, a teacher training college.
The officers' mess at the base was converted into the St George Hotel, complete with the RAF Middleton St George museum.
With the gradual reduction to just 2 scheduled services and some sporadic summer holiday charter flights to & from the airport for several years, falling passenger numbers and the later introduction of a £6 per head / per flight levy, the spectre of total closure loomed large, despite high levels of anecdotal local support for the airport, allied to a generally held inability to understand why the owners, (whose original remit at purchase, was to revitalise the airport, but in reality did very little) to bring about any useful air services that the large potential catchment area of the original 5 owning local boroughs would use. With ongoing site redevelopment plans established and pushed forward by the owners, the potential sale of the airport to a new Combined Local Authority was announced in 2017.
In 2018, just days prior to the announcement of that sales completion, the St George Hotel closed its doors for the last time, and the future for what was the old Officers Mess building is now uncertain. The small museum room within the Hotel has been relocated. With the sale, work began to raise the profile and to attract more services, both scheduled carriers and charters, and the selection of an established ground services agent that already operates a North East regional Airport has been seen as a positive step. In 2019, the newly elected Mayor of the Tees Valley Combined Authority announced the hugely desired return of the Airports' original name of Teesside International, from the controversial and unpopular name of DTVA made in 2004.
Units and aircraft
|No. 33 Squadron RAF||1958–1962||Gloster Javelin||FAW.7 and FAW.9 from 1960||Twin-engined jet fighter/interceptor.|
|No. 76 Squadron RAF||1941–1942||Handley Page Halifax||Mks.I and II||Four-engined piston heavy bomber.|
|No. 78 Squadron RAF||1941||Armstrong Whitworth Whitley||Mk.V||Twin-engined medium bomber.|
|1942||Handley Page Halifax||Mk.II||Four-engined piston heavy bomber.|
|No. 92 Squadron RAF||1957
|Hawker Hunter||F.6||Single-engined jet fighter/fighter-bomber.|
|No. 264 Squadron RAF||1957||Gloster Meteor||NF.14||Twin-engined jet night-fighter.|
|No. 419 Squadron RCAF||1942–1944||Handley Page Halifax||Mk.II||Four-engined piston heavy bomber.|
|1944–1945||Avro Lancaster||Mk.X||Four-engined piston heavy bomber.|
|No. 420 Squadron RCAF||1942–1943||Vickers Wellington||Mks.III and later X before move to North Africa||Twin-engined medium bomber.|
|No. 428 Squadron RCAF||1943–1944||Handley Page Halifax||Mks.V and II||Four-engined piston heavy bomber.|
|1944–1945||Avro Lancaster||Mk.X||Four-engined piston heavy bomber.|
- 1947-1948 No. 13 Operational Training Unit RAF de Havilland Mosquito Mk.T3 & Mk 6.
- 1951-1953 No. 205 Advanced Flying School RAF Gloster Meteor Mk7 & Mk 8.
- 1963-1964 No. 226 Operational Conversion Unit RAF English Electric Lightning
- Pine, L.G. (1983). A dictionary of mottoes (1 ed.). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 212. ISBN 0-7100-9339-X.
- Halpenny 1982, p. 147.
- "Stations-M". www.rafweb.org. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
- Halpenny 1982, p. 54.
- Delve 2006, p. 197.
- Halpenny 1982, pp. 149–150.
- Coupland, Peter (1997). Straight and True. Barnsley: Pen and Sword. p. 61. ISBN 0-85052-569-1.
- Halpenny 1982, pp. 150–151.
- Lloyd, Chris (24 January 2015). "Getting airborne at Middleton St George 50 years ago". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
- Reunion website
- "A Brief History of Middleton St George from 1800" (PDF). Middleton-st-george.org. p. 11. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
- Teesside Live Website | [url=https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/everything-must-go-entire-contents-15542008
- Darlington & Stockton Times | [url=https://www.darlingtonandstocktontimes.co.uk/news/17309426.mayor-confirms-he-will-change-durham-tees-valley-airport-name-to-teesside-international/
- Jefford 1988, p. 36.
- Jefford 1988, p. 48.
- Jefford 1988, p. 52.
- Jefford 1988, p. 80.
- Jefford 1988, p. 91.
- Wilson, Keith (2015). RAF in camera 1950s. Barnsley: Pen & Sword. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-4738-2795-0.
- "Middleton St. George (Durham Tees Valley) - Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust UK". www.abct.org.uk. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
- Delve, Ken (2006). The Military Airfields of Britain, Northern England: Co. Durham, Cumbria, Isle of Man, Lancashire, Merseyside, Manchester, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Yorkshire. Marlborough: Crowood Press. ISBN 1-86126-809-2.
- Halley, James J. (1988). The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1918-1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
- Halpenny, Brue Barrymore (1982). Action Stations 4; Military Airfields of Yorkshire. Cambridge: Patrick Stephens ltd. ISBN 0-85059-532-0.
- Jefford MBE, Wg Cdr C G (1988). RAF Squadrons. A comprehensive record of the movement and equipment of all RAF squadrons and their antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury: Airlife. ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
- Moyes, Philip J.R. (1976). Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd. ISBN 0-354-01027-1.
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