Cottam Airfield

For local stories, memories and Information of the RAF bases and their crews.

Cottam Airfield

Postby merlin1957 » Sun Jun 22, 2003 12:35 am

I would appreciate any information or history on the disused airfield at Cottam.
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Postby Eddie Fell » Wed Jul 02, 2003 5:41 pm

Don't know if you have had responses direct but here is some info.

Cottam was originally built as a satellite for Driffield and opened in 1939. It was in an appalling location with bad access and wind effects. It had 3 runways and 1 hanger with 27 dispersed hardstandings but was rejected and only used on rare occasions. The main users were 91 Maintenance Unit (under 42 Group)who used used the runways and hardstandings as a bomb dump. There is no record of any flying unit being based there. It closed at the end of the war.

Hope this helps

Eddie
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Postby jonshell » Thu Jul 10, 2003 10:18 pm

Hi,

I am currently researching my Grandfathers RAF service during WW2 and have recently found out that he was posted to 244 MU originally in Aberdeenshire but from Sept 44 based at Cottam. I would be really grateful if you or anyone else could give me any info on what went on there etc.. I believe it was an Air Ammunition Park at this time. My Grandfather passed away suddenly whilst based here in Nov 44, one day after his 41st birthday. His last days were spent at the emergency hospital Driffield. My father (now 73) would dearly love to know what work my grandfather was doing (he was just an ordinary erk) and what the place may have looked like. Just recently I took my father over to RAF Driffield for a look around thinking that this was where his father had been stationed. It was a bit of a surprise when we finally got his service records and found out he was at Cottam instead. Is there anything left of this station? Does anyone have any photos or maps I could maybe borrow to scan? Would any airmen from Cottam have worked at Driffield maybe in the bomb dump?

Any help, however small, would be greatly appreciated.

Jon
Jon
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Postby Eddie Fell » Sat Jul 12, 2003 5:25 pm

Cottam is virtually unrecognisable as an airfield. During the 70's & 80's the control tower and runways were removed. There is every chance your grandfather would have visited Driifeld on occassions if only to deliver bombs. Beyond that I can be of no further assistance.

Eddie
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Postby jonshell » Sat Jul 12, 2003 11:33 pm

Thanks Eddy, at least I have an idea now where he was and what he was doing.

Regards Jon

Jon
Jon
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Postby ADZAM » Mon Apr 18, 2005 8:18 am

quote:
Originally posted by merlin1957
I would appreciate any information or history on the disused airfield at Cottam.

Cottam airbase was built in 1943,as far as I can recall for the US airforce.I can remember standing outside one of the huge hangars.There was nobody in sight,thus not being utilised at that time.On the eastern side of the Driffield-scarborough road there was the accommodation complex and below that a newly built sewage works.After the invasion of Normandy in June 1944,the huts were used to accommodate German prisoners of war.I remember passing a group of them marching under armed guard to Driffield Station en route to Canada.You could smell them long before passing them.This would have been late in 1944.
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Postby Ray Dawson » Sun Apr 23, 2006 10:43 am

I was posted to Cottam in about May/June 1949 from the 91 MU HQ at RAF Acaster Malbis. Cottam was a sub unit. Other sub units were Marston Moor, Bowes Moor, Scorton, Escrick and Riccall.

Cottam was being used for the storage, sorting and disposal of bombs and ammunition. I was sent there with my newly reconditioned Bedford QL lorry. This was taken off me and I was assigned to the Fire Section which was led by Cpl Cliff Egan, a very nice bloke, (he was from Kirby Moorside).

As we were short of drivers the off duty fire tender driver was generally asked to take one of the Austin 6 wheeler bomb tenders and deliver/collect bombs from Driffield Station. There were five of these vehicles and we had a"Lorraine" crane and one of the bigger "Thorney Coles". This was a continuous daily occurrence (apart from Sundays for the whole time I was there. At other times we drove the station Morris ambulance to Driffield with the sick parade or dentistry patients and also the ration wagon. We received most of our stores, food etc. from RAF Driffield. A liberty wagon, an Austin 2 tonner took station personnel to Bridlington on a couple of nights each week, always driven by a corporal.

It was a lovely place in the summer but very cold in the winter with quite a lot of snow. Two of my more vivid recollections are towing a 22,000 lb bomb case on a bespoke trailer and nearly overturning it on the runway when turning, (the MT corporal went ballistic; and having to move a crystallising 4,000 pounder from one part of the airfield to a more remote location so that it could be boiled out. I left the scene at high speed as soon as it cleared the tailboard of the bomb tender.

There was about 50 erks on the site, one or sometimes two Flight Lieutenants an SWO and and Equipment X sergeant. There was a sick bay run by a medical orderly, who was a mate of mine and came from Rochdale. I went home with him once. We also had a small NAAFI.

I was demobbed from there in May 1950 and didn't go back until I was passing on the way to Scarborough in the early 1980s. Most of the site had gone but I drove up the hill and found that work was in train to remove the runways. I suppose there is no trace now.

I subsequently went back to Acaster Malbis during the same trip and found the geater part of the old RAF buildings intact. I remember the CO at the time I was on 91 MU was Group Captain Thomas Inglis Illyffe. He was a very nice bloke as well.
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Postby jonshell » Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:44 pm

Hi Ray,
I've just come across your post regarding RAF Cottam. I had already posted a note on here regarding my Grandfather who was at Cottam from July to November 1944.

I read your post with great interest as you filled in a few gaps about what the station consisted of and what was done there. Because my Grandad passed away whilst at Cottam my father (who was 15 at the time) never had the opportunity to ask him what he did there. So we can only guess. He wasn't a driver so i presume he handled the bombs and other ordanance.

I know he was attached to 244 MU and had travelled to Cottam with them from RAF Connel Ferry in Scotland (Air Ammunition Park). This was a small airfield near to RAF Oban where the flying boats were stationed. He was an Aircraft Charge hand GD and had been at RAF Fraserburgh, RAF Benson and RAF Oban (all Coastal Command stations, the first 2 being photo recce).

I think he was on 302 Ferry Training Unit at Oban and somehow ended up at Connel Ferry. Would you have any further info on the station? Any photos or maps/plans of the station. If so i would be most interested in obtaining copies as i am trying to complete a service history booklet for my Dad (77 - a similar age to yourself i suspect). My Dad did his National service in the RAF fom 1947 - 49 in Iraq. I also served in the RAF from 1980 - 89. Any help greatly appreciated.

Regards Jon

Jon
Jon
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Postby EddieFell » Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:07 pm

Hi Jon

I rather suspect that the rank is Aircraft Hand General Duties (ACH/GD) rather than chargehand.

Cheers

Eddie
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Postby jonshell » Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:31 pm

Thanks Eddie. I must admit that he had a varied service career considering he was only in the mob from 1941 to 1944. He started off as a "Gunner" in a defence squadron (pre RAF Regiment). When the Regiment was formed he was remustered to ACH/GD and posted to no 8 OTU RAF Fraserburgh (Coastal Command). This was the training base for the PRU Squadrons. No 8 OTUs move to Dyce coincided with my Grandad going to RAF Benson (also PRU).

I don't know what he did but maybe it involved general aircraft handling and the removal and installation of cameras? His next move was to RAF Oban at the time that no 302 Ferry Training Unit was formed (too much of a coincidence). 302 FTU was actually based at Ganavan Sands just up the coast from Oban itself. After a while he moved to 244MU at Connel Ferry (Air Ammunition Park)then on to Cottam in July 44. The station ORB has an entry for his death in November 44.

Jon
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