RAF Wainfleet control tower for sale

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Media captionThe control tower at RAF Wainfleet was built in the 1970s

A control tower at a former RAF bombing range used during the Cold War is expected to sell for at least £300,000 when it is sold at auction.

The tower, built in about 1975, has been empty since RAF Wainfleet in Lincolnshire closed in 2009.

The estate agents said the tower could be turned into a home - if buyers are not worried about the chance of unexploded bombs being nearby.

The range opened to aircraft in 1938 and was used throughout World War Two.

Before then, it had been used by Army artillery regiments as far back as 1890.

Image copyright Bagshaws Residential
Image caption The tower has a seven-sided observation level with tall windows and access to a surrounding balcony
Image copyright Bagshaws Residential
Image caption It is close to the coast and has views of the countryside

Wendy Pitcher, who owns the tower and the surrounding land together with Will Roughton, said: "It's just so unusual, a magnificent building, I think, and every time we come up I wonder why we are selling it."

It has been claimed that RAF Wainfleet was used by the 617 Squadron, known as the Dambusters, to test the bouncing bomb ahead of the raids on German dams in World War Two.

This is not true, according to both the official 617 Squadron historian and Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire.

However, the squadron did use the Wainfleet range to drop 11.5 pound practice bombs at a height of 60ft to get the feel of targeting at such a low altitude.

They aimed between two scaffolding poles into the mud, as training leading up to the dams raid.

The tower is being auctioned together with five ancillary buildings on 26 November, at Derbyshire County Cricket Club.

RAF Wainfleet

Image copyright Lincolnshire Archives
Image caption Targets like this ship were used during the Cold War
  • RAF Wainfleet was a Royal Air Force weapons range situated south of Skegness on the Wash, a few miles from Gibraltar Point
  • The range opened to aircraft in 1938 but had been previously used by Army artillery regiments as far back as 1890
  • As part of the bombing ranges expansion programme in Lincolnshire, Wainfleet was constructed to help train crews who would eventually fly from the county's bomber bases in World War Two, as part of 5 Group. Many of Lincolnshire's famous squadrons carried out live attacks against training targets on its beaches
  • After the war Wainfleet passed over to 1 Group control and remained the main range for use by such iconic aircraft as the Vulcan and the Buccaneer
  • Many NATO aircraft, including US fighters and bombers, also visited Wainfleet as part of major multi-national exercises through the Cold War period
  • Leading up to the closure of the range on 2 December 2009, there was a final Tornado bombing competition on 12 November between IX Sqn and 617 Sqn. The Tirpitz raid took place 65 years ago to that very date and involved those two squadrons

Source: David Harrigan MBE, Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire, Lincolnshire Archives

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