View Full Version : Croft
A very brief visit to Croft on the way home last Saturday - 26th July 2008. Although I called at the airfield there wasn't time to fully explore the area so I'm unsure just what is left in terms of buildings, David?
The memorial which can be found on the A167 at Dalton on Tees.
Behind this is an information board.
I like these! Behind the memorial shooting into the sun, the "airman" is looking towards the airfield watching for his comrades perhaps!
A return visit needed methinks.
I'm obliged to David Thompson for sending me this, and other photos, of the memorial plaque on the wall of the racing circuit HQ, on the former airfield.
No problem Noel . The entrance to the racing circuit is at MR 93/293069 and is well signed off a minor road south of Dalton On Tees . Follow the private road which leads to the circuit HQ and the plaque is on the wall near the entrance , although slightly faded now . On the way in you will drive over a section of the old runway which is still used by resident light aircraft . Their hangar is close by . The airmans statue is at the south end of Dalton and worth a visit . I'm told there is a plaque in the church at Croft but I have never called to see it .
Croft is actually in North Yorkshire...as can be seen by the address of Croft Circuit which now occupies the former airfield site - Croft Circuit, West Lane, Dalton On Tees, North Yorkshire, DL2 2PL
Six miles south of Darlington, to the west of the LNER main line, a suitable area of meadowland was requisitioned in 1940 as a satellite landing ground for the No. 4 Group bomber station at Middleton St George. The remote location was in an area known as the Walmires with the nearest sizeable village Dalton on the A167 road.
In 1941 Airfield construction commenced with hard runways, perimeter track and aircraft standings. The final runway lengths were to 2,000 yards for the 09-27 and 1,400 yards for the secondaries aligned 03-21 and 15-33. Hardstandings were 36 pans of which three were lost during runway extensions and replaced by three, loop type. Hangars were the usual two Type T2 and a single Bl. Dispersed accommodation provided for a maximum 2,460 males and 323 females.
In October RAF Croft opened and No 78 Squadron was removed from Middleton St George to Croft, with Whitleys, flying their first mission from the station on the night of October 22/23
In June 1942 No 78 squadron returned to Middleton St George and RAF Croft was upgraded to Class A standard with extensions to the runways which had deteriorated with use. In September No 419 Squadron with Wellingtons was moved in from Topcliffe but they stayed only until November when they too moved to Middleton St George. However from a nucleus from No. 419 Squadron No 427 squadron was formed on November
Croft was one of the northern airfields designated to be used by an all-Canadian No 6 group and on January 1st 1943 No 427 squadron was assigned to No. 6 (RCAF) Group. In May No 427 squadron moved to Leeming and No 1664 Heavy Conversion Unit was formed at the station staying at Croft until December when it was transferred to Dishforth to make way for Nos 431 and 434 Squadrons which arrived from Tholthorpe both operating with Halifax Vs.
During late 1944 both squadrons converted to Lancasters and maintained their operations as part of Bomber Command until the end of the European war. After VE-Day the Croft Lancasters were briefly employed in ferrying released POWs back to the UK before returning to Canada taking their Lancaster Xs with them in June.
In the immediate post-war period Croft (renamed Neasham) continued to serve as the Middleton St George satellite and was available for `circuits and bumps' by No 13 OTU's Mosquitos. However when the OTU left the parent station RAF Croft was closed to flying and after a period under a holding party, Croft was finally abandoned by the RAF.
In 1947 John Neasham acquired the lease to the land and formed Darlington and District Aero Club. However, the club folded after only 5 years and the airfield fell into disuse. Meanwhile the Darlington & District Motor Club held Motor Race Meetings on various layouts utilising the runways and perimeter roads.
In 1962 Bruce Ropner and fellow enthusiasts bought half the venue at public auction and by
1964 a track track circuit was completed, opening on August 3 : The first meeting attracted a crowd of between 30,000 and 50,000 people.
Between 1995 and 1997 an international class motor race track was built on the site of the airfield at a reputed cost of some two million pounds.
Some photos I took at Croft on 1 April 2013
1 - Runway 02/20, looking south
2 - Taxiway looking west from the runway 20 threshold
3 - Latrine Block
4 - Blast Shelter
5 - Unknown building adjacent to the remains of a BFI
6 - Unknown building on a dispersed living or communal site
There was once a discussion about the tower / motor racing control building at this site - whether it was the original or not. I remember contributing to it but it seems to have disappeared. m I'm sure there were a lot more posts in this thread.
There was other discussion and pix concerning Croft. Perhaps there is another thread with Croft in the title?
Just checked - I remember my control tower entry mentioned the book 'Pilgrimages of Grace' by AAB Todd - the definitive book on Croft. That and related info has disappeared completely from the forum.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.2.1 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.