RAF MIDDLETON ST. GEORGE
Address: 54.512780, -1.423086
Site Type: Airfield
Do you have any relatives that flew a plan during the war? Ask your family!
There were a number of airfields commissioned by the government in anticipation for the Second World War. You might know the government anticipated something happening before 1939, though it was hard to know what exactly. The Nazis, and especially their air force the Luftwaffe, threatened British supremacy in Europe. We made several attempts to appease them, but sadly the need for Britain to arm itself had come. One such need was airfields, and one was built near Middlesbrough called RAF Middleton St George after the nearby village.
During the war, it was used by both the British RAF and the Royal Canadian Air Force. Primarily, Bomber Command utilised the landing strip for its Whitley, Wellington, and well known Lancaster bombers. Planes flew to assist soldiers at the Normandy Landings, as well as carpet bombing in Nazi occupied territory. This is very controversial, as whole cities were flattened by such campaigns, and is important to remember this is one of the first times weapons were knowing going to hurt normal people. Ask your teachers or parents about Bomber Command and maybe your grandparents what it was like during the war!
After the war, the airfield remained and became a training school, with lots of different planes being used to train up new pilots in the RAF.
In 1962, a pilot named Jean Oakes became the first woman to fly over 1,000mph, and flew from Teesside!
It was in 1964 that the RAF relieved control of the airfield and was reopened in 1966 as Teesside International Airport. Since then, it has been used by flyers across the north to reach areas like Amsterdam, London and beyond.
The airfield in 1946. The Darlington to Middlesbrough railway line can be seen just under it.
Look closely at the 1948 map... Can't find the airfield? That's because it was kept secret from maps until long after the war!