WOODHALL SPA

Woodhall's Officers' Mess was the Petwood Hotel, pictured here. (Bourn's equivalent was a prefab, and not considered a good swap.)

The Pathfinder Year - 97 Squadron at Bourn
The Move to Bourn

97 Squadron joined 8 Group in April 1943. The Air Staff had decided that the PFF must be strengthened and on April 15 the stations at Oakington, Bourn and Gransden Lodge were transferred to 8 Group. 2 days later, 97 Squadron moved from Woodhall Spa (5 Group) to Bourn.

The entries below in the ORB detail how the squadron arrived at Bourn.


Operational Records Book - April 1943
15.4.43        Bomber Command has ordered the move of this squadron from Woodhall to RAF Station Bourn (satellite to Oakington) with effect from 17 April.  The squadron is to move all personnel, aircraft, MT and technical equipment on charge, complete to establishment WAR/BC/249A under arrangements made by HQ 5 Group in conjunction with No 8 (Path Finder Force) Group.  The advance party by rail under P/O Pratt, moved off today, also all stores and equipment were loaded onto transport and sent by road to Bourn.  The officer i/c reported by phone that everything was in order on arrival at Bourn.

16.4.43        No flying.  Some equipment still being transported to Bourn.

17.4.43        The main party, under the command of F/L Holden, moved off by rail to Bourn.  W/C G.D.Jones DFC, Squadron Commander, travelled by road, also did F/L L.G.Hind, Sqaudron adjutant, and P/O Henry, i/c secret and confidential documents.

18.4.43        The airborne party under the command of S/L Burns DFC, consisting of 15 Lancaster aircraft and crews, arrived at Bourn airfield today, having flown from Woodhall in formation.

19.4.43        One more aircraft arrived today from Woodhall.

20.4.43        The rear party arrived by road today under the command of P/O Hodkinson.  Also S/L Nind reported to the Squadron Commander after completing the final handover at Woodhall.  The move is now complete except for one Lancaster  under  major repair and the groundcrew.



F/L Walter Bonar Kirkwood-Hackett known as Ben, outside the Hotel - probably at the rear, overlooking the gardens.