Airfield history commemorated

The Cramlington Airfield plaque is unveiled at Northumberlandia.
The Cramlington Airfield plaque is unveiled at Northumberlandia.

A plaque has been unveiled at Northumberlandia to commemorate the former First World War airfield at Cramlington.

Donated by the Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust, it stands next to a history board detailing the background of the airfield, installed by Cramlington Town Council.

The airfield first opened in December 1915. It was where properly organised fighter operations began in Britain for the first Royal Flying Corps unit of its kind created solely for home defence duties.

No 36 Squadron formed on February 1, 1916, and the squadron HQ moved to Newcastle in October of that year, but fighters subsequently had Cramlington available to them as a night landing ground for the rest of the war.

Along with its home defence connections, Cramlington also played a major early part in developing anti-submarine patrol operations.

Cramlington Town Council chairman John Collins said: “Cramlington airfield played an important role in the pioneering days of the Royal Flying Corps and this memorial is a fitting tribute to all the personnel who served there over the years.”

Duncan Hutt, of Northumberland Wildlife Trust, added: “We are pleased to accommodate the memorial and history board which acknowledge the history of the area.”

Among those at the unveiling were 242 Cramlington Squadron RAF Air Cadets and, from RAF Boulmer, Wing Commander Darren Bassett, Officer Commanding Support Wing, and the Station Warrant Officer David Barr.