Finningley ARS, RAF Finninley, & RAF Sandtoft
The Amateur Radio club take our name from RAF Finningley, as our founder members were all serving airmen from the RAFARS club at the base, upon announcement of the bases closure, the Amateurs there found a new club location, on the edge of the former RAF Sandtoft base, and relocated. Sadly very few of the original members are still with us, but we continue to remember our roots.
On site we have a memorial dedicated to the service men & women from RAF Sandtoft. The memorial has been on site for a number of years now, and it had fell in to a state of disrepair, in 2018 the club members, with the help of some friends, and local sponsors, helped to build the fabulous new stone memorial.
Also we have a Rememberance book dedicated to the service men & women from RAF Sandtoft. This was compiled by our friend, Pat Horton in 2016. A lot of reaserch and work went in to producing the excellent insight to Sandtoft’s past for everyone to see.
Anyone is welcome to come and view the Memorial, also a Rememberance Book on any of our club meetings, or if needed we can open for you, just get in touch with us.
In 1998/99 the club built the first Memorial on site, along with a Service of Dedication. It was well attended, and everyone received a leaflet outlining the mornings proceedings, click here to view a PDF copy.
The base was built in 1915, and managed to stay operational until 1996. In this period the base played various roles, most notably being Finningley’s Avro Vulcan Bombers, including was aircraft XH558. On 1 July 1960 XH558 was the first Vulcan B.2 to enter RAF service and was immediately transferred to No. 230 Operational Conversion Unit at RAF Finningley.
In March 2011 XH558 returned to Finningley. XH558 still resides there now, she remains in operating condition but without a permit to fly. Unfortunately, the three expert companies who were supporting the Vulcan in remaining airborne – BAE Systems, Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group and Rolls-Royce, collectively known as the ‘technical authorities’ – decided to cease their support at the end of the 2015. Without their support, under Civil Aviation Authority regulations, XH558 is prohibited from flying.
In 1994 the Ministry of Defence announced the imminent closure of RAF Finningley, as part of the Front Line First defence cuts. It closed in 1996 and three years later Peel Holdings, a property and transport company in the UK bought the land and transformed it into Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield.
RAF Sandtoft opened in February 1944 as a satellite airfield to RAF Lindholme, which was 3 miles to the west.
No. 1 Group, RAF Bomber Command based a number of aircraft here from the RAF 1667 Heavy Conversion Unit, including Handley Page Halifaxes, and Avro Lancasters.
In November 1944 the airfield transferred to No. 7 Group Bomber Command. The RAF station closed in November 1945.
After the Second World War, the airfield was placed on care and maintenance and remained inactive until allocated to the United States Air Force in April 1953, but the station was never occupied by the USAF, and it was returned to Ministry of Defence control in September 1955 for disposal.
Today many of the original buildings still exist. However, much of the old RAF Station has been converted to commercial use and a section of perimeter track is maintained and used by a flying club. Ourselves and the Sandtoft Transport Museum also use sections of the old station.