Doncaster’s metropolitan borough of Finningley includes a village and civil parish named Finningley. The area is historically in Nottinghamshire, about six miles from the centre of Doncaster.
A major feature of Finningley is its airport, formerly the RAF. In the Cold War, the station housed a Vulcan bomber force, and for 35 years, hosted a regular air show, the country’s largest one-day show by the 1990s. The end of the Cold War led to the closure of the airfield in April 1996 and the end of the air show.
There was an Air Force station at Finningley, in the Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England, known as Royal Air Force Finningley. Historically, the station was situated on the border of Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire’s West Riding.
1996 marked the end of RAF Finningley’s active service. In 2005, Doncaster Sheffield Airport opened as an international airport on the former airfield.
Despite its short involvement in RAF Bomber Command’s offensive, Finningley played a vital role in providing operational training for bomber crews. This site, farmland in a wooded area four miles southeast of Doncaster, was acquired in 1935 as part of an early pre-war expansion scheme.
It’s a quarter mile south of Doncaster-Lincoln railway line, and it’s about the same distance east of Finningley village. Located between Mare Flats Plantation and the A1 ‘Great North Road’, the flying field covered approximately 250 acres. On the south side of the bombing circle were erected four Type C hangars, with the fifth directly behind the southernmost hangar. Near the hangars, the administration and technical site buildings were located.
Finningley was transferred to No. 1 Group early in 1942, and with no longer a need for Hampdens or Manchesters, No. 25 OTU concentrated on Wellingtons, nine of which were lost when Bomber Command called on the station to take part in operations. After the dissolution of 25 Field OTU in February 1943, No. 18 Field OTU began utilizing RAF Bircotes and RAF Worksop as satellites, and in March 1942, No. 18 OTU moved from RAF Bramcote. Due to plans to lay hard runways at Finningley, the Wellington aircraft were relocated to these satellites in November.
During winter 1943-44, these main trenches were laid as follows: 03-21 the main trench was 2,000 yards (1,830 m), 07-25 the main trench was 4,200 feet (1,280 m) and 12–30 the main trench was 4,200 ft. Between Finningley village and Bawtry, there are two original clusters of concrete perimeter tracks and pan-type hardstandings connected to them from 1941 to 1942. A single loop-type standing was added, bringing the total to 36. An additional 459 women and 1,592 men could be accommodated in additional domestic accommodation. Finningley Big Wood was home to the bomb store.
Finningley | Bawtry | Hyde Park | Cusworth | Wheatley | Sprotbrough | Edlington | Austerfield | Armthorpe | Conisbrough