People have told me of some of the dispersed hutted accommodation being used for habitation in 1947, after the airfield and the dispersed sites had been returned to the individual landowners. The first official use seems to have been by the Ministry of Food as a storage depot.
Certainly, Latvian soldiers were billeted on Main site in the period 1946-50.
Mr & Mrs Les Levi, I Wheatrigg Avenue, Milfield, told how they first squatted in a hut close to the cottage at Redscar Bridge and that after some time, Glendale District Council reconnected a water supply about 200 yards away and they would fill a 45 gallon drum each day and transport it by wheelbarrow back the 200 yards.
When the buildings became available on Main site they were one of the first families to move in and lived there for about 4 years before moving into No. I Wheatrigg Avenue. They both said that it was one of the happiest times of their lives and that it was a really happy community.
Mrs Levi, a native of Wooler, had joined the W.A.A.F. in 1943 and was posted to Royal Air Force Milfield, but was living at home in Wooler and cycling each day to the Officers Mess, to carry out her duties as a waitress and regularly baby sat for the Station Commander, Group Captain Addam's daughter Dawn Addams.
The conversion of eleven huts on the old W.A.A.F. site No.2 had taken place, I think, in 1948 and a further fourteen at a later date at a cost per hut converted of approximately
£149 and £I59 respectively.
In May 1950 the Ministry of Health approved the conversion of huts for a further fifty six dwellings - two one-bedroom, forty three two-bedroom and eleven three-bedroom houses. The expenditure was £10,340.18.6d. The rents to be 6 shillings, 7 shillings & nine pence and 9 shillings & three pence respectively and included rates. For an extra 6 pence per week hot water could be provided.
The old W.A.A.F. site dining room was approved for use as a school and the picket hut at the entrance to the site for use as an Infant Welfare Centre and this continued in use for four years.
The water and sewage systems were renovated and repainted and the sewage farm manned by one attendant who's wages were in part paid for by a water charge of one shilling and sixpence per 1000 gallons.
At this time approval was given for the construction of eight permanent houses to be built in Milfield village.
Mr David Phillips, Tarmac's agent for Milfield, who also manages two other Tarmac Companies sites, for the excavation of aggregate and sand in the county, gave me the basic details of the times and work that goes on at the Milfield site - work that will probably continue for some years and in the process change the once-active airfield back into the rural plain of earlier times.
Early excavation by Moffats Sand & Gravel Co started in the SW corner of the airfield and continued there by Cheviot Gravels Co. Many ponds were started and then left. This haphazard working has left, as evidence, varying finished levels in that area.
Tarmac started working the site in the August of 1976 and have conducted a rolling programme, following extensive preparation in the removal of the top soil or overburden, about two feet in depth, and transporting to a standing area. Excavation of the gravel then sand continues down to a depth of approximately 60 feet which has resulted in a level and easier surface to farm and a much more pleasing green area to look at and in keeping with the sweep of the surrounding countryside.
Maxway Food Products Limited, a modern food processing factory was established in new premises on the NW boundary of the old airfield site in September 1991. The company process chicken meat to high standards to outlets throughout Europe, anticipating and meeting the standards required by E.C. trade bodies. It's founder Mr E.L.McLintic has a long association with the old airfield, arriving as a serving Officer in the Army in late 1946, to see the last of the Royal Air Force "off the premises" and was one of the founder members of the Borders Gliding Club. He has a strong historical bond with the airfield at its peak and has been known to quote to his staff from his copy of the stations operational record book of the days events of 50 plus years ago. I have managed to portray that insight as tyrannical, but mean to convey that both his company and Tarmac's staff perform very much in Milfield's best tradition that of a happy local team and more local people are aware of that period because of his real interest-
Air Anglia, a company no longer in existence, flew two or three flights out of Milfield, using the Fokker Friendship, late in 1977 and again in 1978, as a feeder for major airlines and to test the water with regard to commuter flights to European centres but no development of service followed.
I am indebted to Colin Golding, who as C.F.I. (Chief Flying Instructor), reigned longer than most C.FT's at civilian gliding clubs do, and therefore, was the best person to pass on the history of the club. Colin says -
For those other anoraks amongst us, Allan Edwards has allowed me to run off a list of the aircraft that were in use at Milfield and that he observed on a cycle ride around the perimeter of the airfield, on 01.12.45. Thank the Lord he had a mind for history and has been able to pass many items of those times on to me, to use or to keep, and they have given me a greater feel, for the atmosphere of Royal Air Force Milfield through its comparatively short operational period in the 2nd World War.
While paper records exist, to think that miles of camera gun film was shot, but none of it retained, with Royal Air Force Milfield`s recorded history, is a great shame. I`m just so very grateful, that my questions were answered by those few, that experienced it at the time. It is hard to convey the urgency of the moment, the dedication of the individuals and the sophistication that the training machine, ultimately became, towards the end of the Second World War. The additions to "Milfield not just an airfield……" on this web site, have, I hope, conveyed some of that spirit.
The club was officially formed by Articles of Association on 23 November 1970. the subscribers being :
|Edward McLintic||Company Director|
|George Wright||Headmaster of Ford School|
|Sydney Bowtie||Estate Manager|
|William Whaellams||Business Manager|
|James Hogarth||Farm Worker|
|Gordon Beal||Farm Manager|
|Walter Appleby||Company Director|
|Thomas Turnbull||Garage Owner|
Colin Golding returned as C.F.I. on a temporary basis when the club experienced problems and required a frill rated instructor at the start of the gliding season.
While at Milfield, the Borders Club operated by auto-tow, a motor car with a length of piano wire attached to the glider. Which means that the height gained on the launch could only ever be as high as the wire was long or even less and could be about half the length of the runway avai ilable length. Nevertheless, several claims for Silver height, distance and duration, that is a gam of height of 1,000 metres, a distance of 50 kins and a duration of 5 hours, some Gold height flights to 3,000 metres and some flights to 4,000 metres plus were made.
When the club moved to Galewood,the mode of launch was by aerotow, using the Super Cub aircraft to tow the glider. This enabled the tow to be extended to the best area of lift, either thermal or Wave. set off by the Cheviot Hills. This gave rise to many more claims for Gold height, distance 300 kins, Diamond height 5,000 metres, 500 kins Gold distance, free flight and 300 kins declared goal. As pilots only claim these height, distance and duration flights once, if they are verified by, the barograph carried, sealed within the glider, these same pilots often fly these record heights. distance and duration more than once, long may they continue.
A very active saw mill operates on the old Sick Quarters, of which little remains.
Owns an area of land just off the old airfield site, to the south west, at a junction of the British Gas National Transmission System. Fed from the British Gas Terminal at St. Fergus, north of Peterhead, Grampian. Two major pipelines run from this site to feed the system and a planning application to build a gas compressor station at this unobtrusive site is pending.
|01.09.42||P/O J.Methun||Hurricane V6840||Killed, crashed in forced landing at Brunton|
|23.09.42||Sgt Hartley||Hurricane R4115||Killed, crashed in forced landing at Sleinsfield, Ford|
|23.09.42||Sgt Neat||Master T8431||Killed in flying accident|
|07.11.42||F/L Mortimer||Master T8431||Died in Newcastle Hospital from injuries in the above crash|
|15.11.42||F/Sgt McDermat||Battle L5671||Missing believed killed|
|15.11.42||La/c Kyle||Battle L5671||Missing believed killed|
|14.01.43||F/Sgt Maynard.R.C.A.F.||Hurricane P3411||Killed, dived into the ground, near Acklington|
|14.01.43||Sgt Hobbs||Hurricane AG181||Killed, crashed on the approach to land at Milfield following an engine fire|
|08.02.43||Sgt Dixon||Hurricane V6989||Killed, dived into the ground at Till Bridge. Chillingham|
|20.02.43||F/L Von Shalk||Master T8553||Crew Killed, crashed while low flying at Ancroft|
|20.02.42||Sgt Gledall||Master T8553||As above|
|27.03.43||Sgt Macfadzen||Hurricane W9184||Killed, in forced landing near Chathill|
|27.03.43||Sgt Cullener||Hurricane W9121||Killed, crashed on approach to Brunton, Night flying|
|27.04.43||F/O Thompson||Hurricane P3454||Both killed, aircraft collided with|
|27.04.43||F/Sgt Davies||Hurricane V7136||V7136 near Belford|
|05.05.43||F/Sgt DeFreitas||Hurricane R4188||Killed, crashed in forced landing near Cornhill|
|24.05.43||F/L M.C.Knight||Typhoon R8709||Killed, crashed on take off, following an engine failure|
|02.06.43||Sgt Dawson||Hurricane V6860||K.i.f.a.|
|13.06.43||Sgt Jones||Typhoon R7580||K.i.f.a.|
|14.06.43||Sgt Kemp||Hurricane AF956||Killed, engine failure after take off.|
|24.06.43||Sgt T Inglis||Killed, crashed at Witches Knowe. Berwick|
|29.06.43||W/O2 D.M.Flack||Hurricane P3715||Killed, crashed at Monsen Hill. Belford|
|05.07.43||P/O Ellis||Hurricane V7180||Severely injured, died in Newcastle Hospital|
|14.07.43||F/Sgt Humphrey||Hurricane P 3475||Killed, aircraft crashed near Elwick. Belford|
|26.07.43||Sgt Taverner||Hurricane V7170||Killed, crashed on take off|
|07.08.43||F/Sgt O,Keeffe||Hurricane P3620||Killed in collision with P3104 over Fenwick,P3104 landed at Milfield|
|05.09.43||P/O McDougal||Hurricane V6610||K.i.f.a.|
|06.10.43||F/Sgt Holden||Hurricane||Killed, crashed into the sea off Beadnell|
|29.11.43||Sgt A.V.Jones||Hurricane Z7083||Killed, spun in off steep turn, see earlier page|
|14.01.43||F/O Look-Yan||Hurricane Z3076||Killed, crashed at Roseden, see earlier page|
|09.03.44||F/L M. Bouquen. Belg||Spitfire P8549||Killed, aircraft blew up while dive bombing at Goswick range, see earlier page|
|12.04.44||Lt Serapiglia. U.S.A.||P47D Thunderbolt 42-25530||Killed, collision with Eshott Spitfire who`s pilot also died, see earlier page|
|02.05.44||F/L Wilkinson||Killed, dived into the sea, 4 miles off the coast at Hutton Cranswick while on operation "Driver"|
|24.06.44||Lt Cmdr D.R.B.Cosh.R.C.N.V.R.||Spitfire EN794||Killed, while air to ground firing at Goswick range|
|30.09.44||F/O A.B.E.Rutherford||Typhoon EJ955||Killed, while air to ground firing at Goswick range|
|01.01.45||P/O N.L.GordanR.C.A.F||Typhoon RB343||Killed, engine failure on take off, ferry flight to Brunton|
|13.01.45||F/L R.W.Hall||Typhoon RB210||Killed, Station Nav Inst on weather check flight, a Tiger Moth from Brunton found the wreckage at Wandy Law.Bamburgh|
|01.03.45||P/O R.F.D.Smith||Typhoon MP187||Killed, lost control having been engaged in mock combat, breach of flying discipline|
|04.03.45||F/O P.N.Bernhart. Nor||Tempest NV924||Killed, flew into the ground on coming out of low cloud. Radio also u/s|
|07.03.45||P/O G.A.Sullivan||TyphoonEK364||Killed, undercarriage unlocked in the dive, aircraft crashed at Ilderton|
|09.04.45||F/L I.W.Smith R.C.A.F.||Tempest EJ845||Killed, at Brunton,aircraft swung on take off, hit windsock|
|13.04.45||F/O G.W.R.Ford||Tempest EJ542||Killed, flew into hillside in mist, see earlier page|
|12.05.45||F/L F.W.Mossing. R.C.A.F.||Tempest EJ685||Killed, collided with NV759. F/Sgt C.W.Powell survived and was re-flighted to course 6a. F/L F.W.Mossing, an instructor, was posted in 04.05.45. died eight days later.|
|18.05.45||W/O B.S.Pollard||Tempest NV643||Killed, stalled and crashed at Coldingham|
|20.07.45||F/Sgt F.R.Jeyes||Typhoon MN975||Killed, engine failure while low flying aircraft crashed at Cornhill Farm. Coldstream|
|30.10.45||Sgt A. Greenwood||Typhoon SW573||Killed, lost control in low cloud, crashed at Lowick|
|27.11.45||F/O R.G.Marshal||Tempest NV709||K.i.f.a.|
|29.01.46||F/L W.Parker||Tempest EJ859||Killed, following a slow roll the aircraft dived into the ground at Felkington Farm|
In Kirknewton churchyard, in a service plot, are buried twelve pilots who were killed while operating out of Royal Air Force Milfield . At some time in the 1950`s they had been brought to this one area of the churchyard from their original graves in various other parts of the churchyard. As far as is possible to ascertain, the missing headstone at plot No 1294 is no mystery.
Oberfeldwebel Fritz Kalbfleisch Pilot. Oberfeldwebel Karl Lahr Navigator Unteroffizer Walter Frank Radio Operator Oberfeldwebel Friedrich Freyh Air Gunner, now know to be the crew of Dornier 217E-4 Wk No 5432 U5+DL of 3/KG 2, one of 25 German bomber aircraft attacking targets in the North East on the night of 25 March 43 at 00.05 this aircraft crashed at Trowup Burn, south of Madamlaw, Cheviot killing all crew members, who were buried at Kirknewton Church, later all four were disinterred and re-buried at plots in the German War Graves, Cannock Chase.
Also at sometime in the 1950's four German Air Force aircrew who were buried in Kirknewton were removed by the War Graves Commission for burial elsewhere. They had been killed when their aircraft flew into the Cheviot in March 1943. They were..
Oberfeldwebel Fritz Kalbfleisch Pilot. Oberfeldwebel Karl Lahr Navigator Unteroffizer Walter Frank Radio Operator Oberfeldwebel Friedrich Freyh Air Gunner, now know to be the crew of Dornier 217E-4 Wk No 5432 U5+DL of 3/KG 2, one of 25 German bomber aircraft attacking targets in the North East on the night of 25 March 43, at 00.05 this aircraft crashed at Trowup Burn, south of Madamlaw, Cheviot killing all crew members who were buried at Kirknewton Church, later all four were disinterred and re-buried at plots in the German War Graves Cemetary, Cannock Chase.