8 thoughts on “Thornabys Aviation History featuring RAF Thornaby

  1. I remember going to Thornaby Aerodrome one Winter’s day around 1954 with my friend David Elliott of Portrack to see his elder brother who was doing National Service. As far as I remember, we just walked in and met his brother in the NAAFI canteen. Can you imagine that today? a 15 year old and a 12 year old kid wandering round a defence installation.

    On the way back I saw a Meteor 8 fighter taxiing out to the runway, cleared of snow, although the rest of the airfield was snow covered. As it moved round the turn of the taxi way it was possible to see right into the back of the two jet engines. I was expecting, having read so much about jet engines, that they would be glowing red hot. No such luck. Just black. With the passage of years I now why I was so disappointed.


  2. It was around the time this photo was taken I went to the airfield with my uncle. He was a pilot during the war and was awarded the DFM. During my visit he was able to show me the inside of a Lancaster bomber and I sat in the pilots seat and the forward gunners seat. It is a memory I will never forget.


  3. From 1951 to 1954 I flew from time to time with 608 (Auxiliary) Sdn at Thornaby, when I was on a Ground Tour as Adj of No. 3608 (Fighter Control) Unit R.Aux.A.F. (also on the Station). In the early days, they let me fly their Vampires (and the Station Harvard and Tiger Moth), but later I was medically put under a height limitation of 10,000 ft, so from then on it was just the Harvard and TM.

    They were a great crowd, almost all ex-war pilots, and the atmosphere in our little Mess on Saturday nights might have been any weekend between 39-45, as they brought their WAGs in with them.! The years just rolled away.

    Happy Days – I shall always remember them.


  4. My home town I and my friends spend lots of time getting close to the airfield from numerous places watching the aircraft taking off and landing also we could get close to the abutment where they tested the guns great days the sun always seemed to shine this was in the fifties we would have been ten or so when we started going. Also the air displays were great.


    • Stuart,
      My memories are as clear as yours when we recall (pre-WWII for me) scenes of this still active airfield. As a lad of less than teen years I went to the perimeter of the airfield from Hartburn quite often to watch those future air-aces practicing their circuits and bumps in-biplanes. The only single-winged aircraft I recall seeing was the Westland Lysander.


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