Finmere Airfield Raf home of no. 13 otu

Finmere Airfield RAF Home of No. 13 O.T.U.

Finmere airfield was built by the Air Ministry in 1941-42, it was commissioned by the RAF in July 1942 as a satellite to nearby RAF Bicester, which was an all-grass airfield and proved unserviceable during wet winter periods. No. 13 Operational Training Unit RAF moved to Finmere, bringing with them Bristol Blenheim Mk1 (short-nose) and Mk4 (long-nose) bombers.[4] By the time of the arrival in 1943 of the similarly equipped No. 307 Ferry Training Unit RAF (FTU), formed at RAF Bicester in late 1942 to train pilots to ferry aircraft to northwest Africa, No. 13 OTU had moved onto the American A-20 Boston and North American B-25 Mitchell, much heavier aeroplanes with tricycle undercarriage. In early 1944 training increased on these types of aircraft for the Second Tactical Airforce (2nd TAF) part of joint operations for operation Overlord. Among the numerous crews were many Dutch airman who would eventually operate with 320 Squadron. Sadly there were a number of local crashes during training including one not far from the field at Gawcott, and another at Steeple Claydon, on both occasions the crew of four on each aircraft where sadly killed. The arrival of these aircraft meant that Finmere quickly eclipsed its parent station at Bicester in terms of operational importance, as they could not land at Bicester. The arrival of No. 307 FTU also aided its pilots' conversion to the more modern types, as they had the opportunity to fly them back-to-back with their own Blenheims. There were also occasional visits from Supermarine Spitfires and Hawker Tempest from the Fighter Affiliation Flight at Bicester, training bomber crews in retaliation and avoidance of enemy fighters. 1944 saw No. 13 OTU convert to the de Havilland Mosquito: over the next years, Again there were a number of fatal crashes including an aircraft that crashed in the village of Twyford and another at Marsh Gibbon. Finmere became a major centre for Mosquito aircrew training with almost fifty airframes available, turning out thirty trained crews per month for the war in the Far East. This was pre-empted by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Society's Historical record of Finmere Airfield. Site Investigations and Archaeology recorded in date order.

5th October 2013

RAF Finmere former Bomb store investigation.

2nd April 1992 (General Dynamics EF-111A Crash at Finmere)

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