Wartime bell back at RAF North Cotes after more than 20 years
By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: March 04, 2014
A BELL which tolled at RAF North Coates during the Second World War has been returned to its rightful home after more than 20 years.
When the camp church was demolished back in 1990, the bell was placed on a pile of scrap, which was taken away by a farmer from North Somercotes.
He kept the bell – which is inscribed with the date 1936 – on his farm until offering it to the museum at North Coates Flying Club last month.
Club secretary Brian Stafford said: "It's what was known as a 'scramble bell', which was supplied by the Air Ministry for scrambling aircraft.
"It would have acted as a kind of call to arms for the servicemen based at North Coates.
"The bell was located in the gable end of the church until it was demolished when the RAF pulled out of the base.
"We're very pleased to have such an important part of the airfield's history on display in our museum."
The bronze bell, which still rings, will be placed on a purpose-built display in the club's museum, which has been developed over the past five years.
As well as fossils and fragments of crockery used on the site during the First World War, the museum contains an escape kit from a Beaufighter pilot who was stationed at North Coates, as well as various aircraft parts, an air traffic control radio, landing lights and an air raid warning.
Club director Tony Barnes-Smith added: "It's very important to us to keep the history of RAF North Coates alive.
"By collecting as much memorabilia from the site as we can and keeping it in one place we are preserving its legacy for further generations.
"This bell is a significant part of the site's history and it's incredible that it was put in the scrap and has come back to us more than 20 years later."
As reported, club members are currently in the process of renovating one of the 48 Bloodhound missiles which were based at the airfield during the Cold War.
It was rescued from a children's playground in the Isle of Wight at the end of last year.
If you have any memorabilia from the RAF North Coates that you would like to donate to the museum, call Brian on 01472 871558 or visit www.northcoatesflyingclub.com