Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre
Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, East Kirkby
East Kirkby
East Kirkby is a village and civil parish in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. It lies on the A155 south-east of Horncastle....

, Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire is a county in the east of England. It borders Norfolk to the south east, Cambridgeshire to the south, Rutland to the south west, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to the west, South Yorkshire to the north west, and the East Riding of Yorkshire to the north. It also borders...

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, was founded in 1988 by Lincolnshire farmers Fred and Harold Panton, as a memorial to their brother Pilot Officer
Pilot Officer
Pilot officer is the lowest commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many other Commonwealth countries. It ranks immediately below flying officer...

 Christopher Panton, who along with 55,000 other aircrew
Aircrew are the personnel who operate an aircraft while in flight. The composition of the crew depends on the type of aircraft as well as the purpose of the flight.-Civilian:*Aviator** Pilot-in-command** First officer** Second officer** Third officer...

 of RAF Bomber Command
RAF Bomber Command
RAF Bomber Command controlled the RAF's bomber forces from 1936 to 1968. During World War II the command destroyed a significant proportion of Nazi Germany's industries and many German cities, and in the 1960s stood at the peak of its postwar military power with the V bombers and a supplemental...

 lost his life during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Christopher was killed in a 433 Sqn (Canadian) Lancaster from RAF Skipton-on-Swale
RAF Skipton-on-Swale
RAF Skipton-on-Swale was a Royal Air Force air station operated by RAF Bomber Command during the Second World War. The station was located at Skipton-on-Swale four miles west of Thirsk , North Yorkshire, England. The village of Sandhutton is located just to the east...

, having been shot down over Nuremberg
The Nuremberg Raid (book)
The Nuremberg Raid is a book by the British military historian Martin Middlebrook describing the RAF Bomber Command attack on the German city of Nuremberg on the night of 30–31 March 1944....

 on March 30/31 1944 (over 500 aircrew were shot down that night by nightfighters - more aircrew than the whole of the Battle of Britain
Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain is the name given to the World War II air campaign waged by the German Air Force against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940...


The centre is sited on part of the old Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

An airbase is a military airfield that provides basing and support of military aircraft....

 RAF East Kirkby
RAF East Kirkby
RAF East Kirkby is a former Royal Air Force base near the village of East Kirkby, south of Horncastle in Lincolnshire, just off the A155. The Greenwich meridian through the base.-History:...

 and at the entrance to the site there is a memorial to the crews of No. 57
No. 57 Squadron RAF
-History:57 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps was formed on 8 June 1916 at Copmanthorpe, Yorkshire. In December 1916 the squadron was posted to France equipped with the FE2d. The squadron re-equipped with Airco DH4s in May 1917 and commenced long range bombing and reconnaissance operations near...

 and No. 630
No. 630 Squadron RAF
No. 630 Squadron RAF was a heavy bomber squadron of the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.-History:The squadron was formed at RAF East Kirkby, near Spilsby in Lincolnshire on 15 November 1943 from 'B' Flight of No. 57 Squadron RAF, equipped with Lancaster Mk.I bombers as part of No. 5...

 squadrons, who were based there during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...


The Panton brothers acquired the land in 1981, and in 1983 bought the gate guardian
Gate guardian
A gate guardian or gate guard is a withdrawn piece of equipment, often an aircraft, armoured vehicle, artillery piece or locomotive, mounted on a plinth and used as a static display near to and forming a symbolic display of "guarding" the main entrance to somewhere, especially a military base...

Avro Lancaster
The Avro Lancaster is a British four-engined Second World War heavy bomber made initially by Avro for the Royal Air Force . It first saw active service in 1942, and together with the Handley Page Halifax it was one of the main heavy bombers of the RAF, the RCAF, and squadrons from other...

 bomber from RAF Scampton
RAF Scampton
Royal Air Force Station Scampton is a Royal Air Force station situated north of Lincoln in England, near the village of Scampton, on the site of an old First World War landing field.-First World War:...

 . It was not until 1987 that the bomber was delivered to site, and the museum was opened the following year. Serial number NX611 the plane was christened Just Jane after the war-time comic strip character
Jane (comic strip)
Jane was a comic strip created and drawn by Norman Pett exclusively for the British tabloid The Daily Mirror from 5 December 1932 to 10 October 1959.-Characters and story:...

, and is regularly taxied along the Concrete apron.

The Centre also has a Spitfire
Supermarine Spitfire
The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries throughout the Second World War. The Spitfire continued to be used as a front line fighter and in secondary roles into the 1950s...

 and a large number of other exhibits, making it an important aviation
Aviation is the design, development, production, operation, and use of aircraft, especially heavier-than-air aircraft. Aviation is derived from avis, the Latin word for bird.-History:...

 heritage centre.

The airfield was originally built in 1943 as a Bomber Command Station and though much of the runway is still intact today it is used by local farmers as hard standing. The airfield was featured in a 1980s BBC series about WWII airfields, and in 2001 Just Jane was filmed taxiing at high speed for a BBC wartime drama entitled Night Flight. The control tower has been recorded as being haunted.

The Prime Meridian
Prime Meridian
The Prime Meridian is the meridian at which the longitude is defined to be 0°.The Prime Meridian and its opposite the 180th meridian , which the International Date Line generally follows, form a great circle that divides the Earth into the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.An international...

passes through the site. Its position is marked by an inscribed monument.

External links

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