Back to Trail One - Silloth to Carlisle

RAF Great Orton

The airfield (known locally as Wiggonby airfield) was opened in June 1943, but did not become operational until that October. Great Orton served as a satellite airfield for nearby RAF Silloth. Although larger than Silloth (it was to be capable of handling bombers) it had far fewer facilities. It was used by Welingtons of No.6 Operational Training Unit and Hurricanes of No.55 Operational Training Unit. Two air-sea rescue squadrons (281/282 ASR) flying Vickers Warwicks also operated from the base. When World War II ended the airfield became a bomb storage facility, named 249 Maintenance Unit.

Both the RAF station and the Maintenance Unit closed in August 1952.

Today the airfield is known as Watchtree Nature Reserve.


Image credit – Solway Aviation Museum collection

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