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Thread: Cottam

  1. #1
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    Default Cottam

    COTTAM pic

    Was there ever a worse airfield than this or does Cottam hold that dubious record? Why, for a station that opened early in the war, did it have concrete laid straightaway and not function for a while with grass first like Swinderby/Syerston etc?
    Surely local conditions couldn't have been that bad? Did the RAF snub it for another reason? In 39-40, when the aerodrome siting board had the pick of sites throughout the country without having to compete with other interests eg army, agriculture did it pick one in the Wolds? Discuss. Photo from Mar 94.

    I tried to find this place a few years previously, on a rather murky day but didn't waste a frame on what could have been the wrong location, so I was quite pleased to find some cropmarks this time!

  2. #2

    Default Re: COTTAM pic

    Cottam was first used as a crude grass dispersal satellite by the Whitley squadrons at Driffield - 77 and 102 - between Sep 39 and Aug 40. Following the devastating raid on Driffield, it was used between August and October 1940 by the Battles of the 4 Group Target Towing Flight, but was then vacated during the winter months, possibly because of its exposed position. By the following spring, the Driffield was expressing himself as dissatisfied with Cottam as a satellite, but May and September 1941, the 4 GTTF was again housed here. By this stage of the war, grass satellites were judged as less than ideal for the operation of heavy bombers so the construction of concrete runways began here in February 1942. At about the same time, however, Bomber Command was reviewing its airfield requirements in the area and it was ultimately decided that Leconfield and Lissett should be developed as the substations for Driffield, leaving Cottam available for other uses. Once the runways were complete, the airfield was offerred to Coastal Command for use by 2 O.T.U. at Catfoss, but although this arrangement appeared satisfactory at first, there was some concern about clashes with aircraft using the coastal ranges at Filey. Subsequently it was offerred to Flying Training Command but was rejected because of its very limited living accommodation. Since the R.A.F. appeared to have no reason to use it, the station was temporarily loaned to the War Office to house 600 Army personnel and when these departed in March 1944, the runways were used by a 26 Group Radio Vehicle storage unit as part of the preparation for the invasion. Very occasionally, a bomber in distress would make an emergency landing here, one being a Halifax at the end of a very long range SOE operation and another an 8th Air Force B24. Finally, it was decided to house 244 Maintenance Unit here for the storage of bombs and this appears to have been the last role undertaken by an airfield with an unprecedentedly chequered career.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: COTTAM pic

    RAF Cottam is still in use by the RAF. In the simulators at the RAF ATC school at Shawbury use Cottam as its simualted airfield.

  4. #4
    Administrator NJR's Avatar
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    Default RAF Cottam

    This airfield, located north of RAF Driffield, was intended as a satelite for that airfield. Due to problems with weather it was unsuitable for use and never had any flying units based there, it was used for storage however.

    Surviving dispersed site buildings





    Main runway remains







    Standby set house





    I'm hoping Ossie, or anyone, has some aerial pictures, the airfield layout can still be made out from the air as the flash earth link below shows

    http://www.flashearth.com/?lat=54.06478&lon=-0.485026&z=15.1&r=0&src=msl

    NJR

  5. #5
    SuperMod Peter Kirk's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF Cottam

    All that effort to build it and no takers. What a waste.

  6. #6
    Senior Member PETERTHEEATER's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF Cottam

    NJR, re your Image #2; is that a one of the tanks from a Bulk Aviation Petrol installation?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: RAF Cottam

    Cottam is still in use by the RAF. The simulators at Shawbury for the traineee controllers are all based on this airfield, they even use the callsign Cottam.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Smoggieboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cottam

    The name Cottam is used, as is its actual position in the real world, but all maps and images are that of Cottesmore. Which is a bit weird after I worked at Cottesmore for 3 years and CATCS sims for 6 years !!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Cottam

    My understanding is that under new guidelines all disused airfields can be considered as Brown Field land and therefore can be built upon. If this is the case then why not build on RAF Cottam better that than RAF Driffield, and for every Swinderby (okay, too late), Newton, Upwood, etc there are other nearby sites (that technically have all but disappeared) that can be sacrificed.

    I remember Cottam as a complete site, and like Driffield, her runways were sacrificed in order to build the access roads to the Humber Bridge.

  10. #10
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    Default Cottam

    Photograph of Cottam's now-demolished watch office, taken on September 12 1973. I confess this is not my photograph, it's scanned from the late Barry Abraham's book Post-War Yorkshire Airfields, published in 2002.

    IMG.jpg

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