Finmere Airfield

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Site:- 5 miles west of Buckingham

The Watch Tower was sited almost in the centre of the landing ground, between runways 100/280 and 170/350. The other runway, adjacent to the Bicester road, was 050/230 (These figures denoted the compass bearing). Adjacent to, but East of, the Watch Tower were the Flight and Aircrew offices. The Bomb Dump was sited south of the Perimeter Track in trees towards Barton Hartshorn and North-West of where "B1" Hanger (pattern 11776/42) stood. The only other Hanger at Finmere was a Type "T2" (pattern 8259/40) and now in industrial use. The accomodation quarters were on the Eastern side of the Flying ground and in the area of Tingewick Wood.

Quarters for Officers and Sergeants were of 'Laing' or "Nissen" huts, whilst the Airmen were accommodated in "Nissen" huts and their ablutions in brick buildings.

Finmere was used 13 OTU of Bicester from late 1940 who at that time were using Blenheim two-engine bombers

In August 1942 Finmere became a satelite of Bicester and 13 OTU (Operational Training Unit) and on completion of their training were posted to Operational Squadrons in No 2 Group which were operating with Blenheim Bombers. These included 18 Sqdn. at Wattisham; 21 Sqdn. at Walton; 82 Sqdn at Bodney; 105 Sqdn. at Horsham St. Faith; 107 Sqdn. at Great Massingham; 110 Sqdn. at Wattisham and 114 Sqdn. at West Raynham.

In February 1943 Blenheims of 307 FTU (Ferry Training Unit) spent a brief period at Finmere, Bicester having runway troubles, and from January to September 1943 No 1473 Flight using Whitley bombers from Upper Heyford was stationed at Finmere. Whilst at Finmere this Flight were transferring to Wellington Bomber which was then becoming the standard aircraft in use with OTU's

As more Squadrons converted to the larger four-engine aircraft another stage of Aircrew training was introduced, the Heavy Conversion Units.

In March 1943 307 FTU began to re-arm with the American Boston III two-engine Bomber and to train crews to fly them to North Africa and on 18th March 1943 moved to Finmere. At this time 13 OTU was still flying Blenheims but when 307 FTU went to Turweston for three weeks in May of 1943 they became updated with the two American aircraft, Mitchell IIs and Boston IIIs. 307 returned to Finmers and ferried Bostons to North Africa until the completion of the task in October 1943, on which they left Finmere and moved to Melton Mowbray.

In November 13 OTU transferred to the control of 9 Group but continued training at Finmere with Mitchells and Bostons.

In January 1944 13 OTU and Finmere obtained their first Mosquito aircraft and the remaining Blenheims were withdrawn; so now Finmere was the OTU which supplied Bostons, Mitchells, and Mosquitos for No. 2 Group.

In October 1944 OTU took over Harwell airfield and transferred its Mosquitos there, leaving the Bostons and Mitchells at Finmere.

In March of 1945 the Mosquitos were again flying from Finmere, those of 60 OTU at Hampstead Norris. 2 Group then took over 60 OTU and it was then integrated into 13 OTU. The last Boston flew at Finmere on 19 March 1945, the Michell ceasing on the 18th May.

13 OTU continued with Mosquito training for a few weeks for the Far East, but in late July of 1945 finally left their Wartime home and moved to Middleton St George.

Page updated Sep 18 by SKF