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Our History

Enstone Aerodrome was opened in September 1942 as a satellite airfield for No 21 OTU, based at Moreton-in-Marsh, and was used by Vickers Wellingtons of the OTU until April 1944. The airfield eventually closed in 1947 following the departure, in December 1946, of a detachment of Harvards and Oxfords of 17 FTS.

The Wellingtons were apparently partnered by a secretive unit about which very little is known. This unit comprised six Avro Lancasters which, in addition to being painted gloss black all over, had no squadron markings or serial numbers. They were kept away from the OTU and, unless flying, out of sight of all other personnel. They were heavily modified, with their bomb doors removed, and there is no official record of them being at Enstone. It has been rumoured that they were being used for experiments in carrying the British atomic bomb, which was in an advanced stage of development. However, such was the secrecy surrounding the British development (and its inevitable overshadowing by the atomic bombs dropped on Japan by the Americans), that until quite some time later very few people knew of this country’s involvement in such a programme.

The airfield is now used for much more peaceful pursuits and, as well as being Oxfordshire Sportflying’s base, is also home to other clubs and flying schools offering training in light aircraft and microlights. A number of privately owned aircraft are also based at Enstone.

The original Watch Tower, which can be seen in the photograph above, was for many years used as a clubhouse by the Enstone Eagles Gliding Club, now sadly disbanded.