Thorpe Camp Visitor Centre

Thorpe Camp Visitor Centre
Tattershall Thorpe - Near Coningsby



Hon. Secretary



All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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RAF Woodhall Spa became operational in February 1942 as a heavy bomber airfield within 5 Group. It was a satellite of RAF Coningsby and from January 1944 a substation of No.54 Base (Coningsby, Metheringham and Woodhall Spa). 97 Squadron transferred from Coningsby on 1 March 1942. As the second unit to be equipped with the Lancaster, the squadron was heavily involved with early operations with this aircraft, including the low level mission to bomb the MAN diesel engine factory in Augsburg on 17 April 1942. The squadron moved to Bourn, Cambridgeshire, in 1943 leaving three crews as a nucleus for . . . 619 Squadron, which formed here on 18 April 1943. They moved to RAF Coningsby on 1 January 1944 to be replaced at Woodhall Spa by . . . 617 Squadron, "The Dambusters", with 34 Lancasters and two Mosquitoes, the latter being used for low-level target marking. 617 Squadron operated from the airfield until the end of hostilities, pioneering the use of ultra-heavy bombs - the 12,000lb Tallboy and 22,000lb Grand Slam - both of which were used on special targets in operations from the airfield. Low level target marking, developed by 617 Squadron, was so successful that 627 Squadron, a Mosquito unit in No 8 (PFF) Group, was "loaned" to 5 Group to operate in this role. The squadron arrivied at Woodhall Spa on 14 April 1944 and stayed until the end of the war.
With the end of the war in Europe the airfield was used as an assembly and kitting-out point for ground personnel for Tiger Force, the planned heavy bomber force for the Far East. After VJ Day Tiger Force was dispersed, and with 627 Squadron disbanded and with 617 Squadron moving to RAF Waddington, the airfield was closed. In the years that followed the site was used by 92 MSU for the storage of bombs. From the late 1950's to 1965 Woodhall Spa became a base for Bloodhound SAM missiles. With the rest of the airfield sold off for agriculture or mineral extraction, the former missile site has remained under the control of RAF Coningsby and is now used for the servicing of Tornado engines. Compared with the areas of Britain that suffered the worst of Hitler's blitz, Lincolnshire could be looked upon as a quiet backwater. This was not the case and almost every family in the county was affected in one way or another by the effects of WWII. Lincolnshire suffered air raids on 300 days of the war, 408 persons were killed and 1233 injured. With the development of the bomber offensive and, in 1940, the threat of invasion, everyone became part of the fight on the Home Front and various aspects of that part of WWII are being developed in our displays.

Venue Type:

Museum, Heritage site

Opening hours

Thorpe Camp Visitor Centre is open every Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays from Easter to the end of September and on Wednesdays during July & August from 1:00pm to 5 pm.

Admission charges

Adult £3 and Children under 12 free with Adult. Special events and weekends - £5 per adult per day

Getting there

B1192 Coningsby to Woodhall Spa road

Additional info

Organised groups at other times by prior arrangement with the secretary. Phone the secretary on 07963513287 or e-mail
The NAAFI has been refurbished. As well as providing light refreshments, there is now a much improved display of books, videos and souvenirs.

On arrival you will first see the Memorial Garden dedicated in 2002 to all those who lost their lives while serving at RAF Woodhall Spa. Each of the four Squadrons serving here has its own small garden and plaque bearing the Coat of Arms. The South Hall of the Visitor Centre houses displays covering the airfield itself, and separate areas for each of the squadrons which operated from RAF Woodhall Spa during WWII.

Other displays include:

* 'Nan One' - a typical wartime Observer Corps Post, manned continuously by volunteer members of the corps from 3 September 1939 to VE Day, 8 May 1945.

* An Anderson Shelter - issued by the government in preparation for what was to be a bomber war. Ideally, they were to be buried at least three feet in the garden and covered with the excavated soil.

* A.R.P Warden's Post - formed in the mid-1930s the A.R.P. (Air Raid Precautions), renamed the Civil Defence in September 1941, was the organisation responsible for dealing with enemy bombing raids on civilian areas. Wardens posts were established in all towns and villages.

* Auxiliary Patrol Hideout - an underground bunker to be occupied by Britain's top secret Resistance Movement. Formed in 1940, at the height of the invasion threat, these small bands of highly trained operatives - selected for their local knowledge - would operate from their hideouts to harass the enemy.

* Wartime Kitchen - a display put together by the local Womens Institute for fiftieth Anniversary of VE Day.

* Bomb Damaged Front Room - with a Morrison shelter, an "under the table" refuge from enemy bombs.

Collection details

Aviation, Social History, Weapons and War

Key artists and exhibits

  • Anderson shelter
  • Morrison shelter
  • A.R.P.
  • Wartime domestic scenes
  • Ferranti Bloodhound
  • Memorial garden
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Heritage Open Days

  • 13 September 2014 1-5pm
  • 14 September 2014 12:30-5pm

The Thorpe Camp Preservation Group established the Visitor Centre in 1988 to commemorate those Airmen who flew from the airfield and civilian life in Lincolnshire during World War II.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Thorpe Camp Visitor Centre
B1192 Woddhall Spa to Coningsby road
Tattershall Thorpe

Services and facilities


Admission to the Museum is free both days


Getting there

B1192 Coningsby to Woodhall Spa road