RFC/RAF Bellasize, Yorkshire
Visit Date(s): 22/01/11
The small grass airfield of Bellasize was only a very temporary affair. Facilities were sparse and in WW1, probably amounted to no more than a few tents with perhaps the odd local farm building impressed into service - little is known of the airfield during the Great War period. During WW2, a few temporary brick and concrete structures appeared to the north of the site. The runway surface was grass, aligned NW/SE, with a length of 670 yards (612 m). The whole airfield covered an area 33 acres (13.3 ha).
Originally opened in April 1916 under the tenure of the RFC, Bellasize was probably home to 33 (Home Defence) Sqn (BE2c) and 76 (Home Defence) Sqn (BE2c) whose task was to help protect the Humber Estuary and the approaches to the industrial north. The River Humber was a favourite route, probably due to ease of navigation, by Zeppelin crews heading inland. The airfield was designated as Class 1. As such, it is likely that it was equipped in some way for night operations, which probably amounted to a searchlight as an aid to flying. The Station closed in June 1919.
The land was again requisitioned by the Air Ministry and reopened in November 1939, this time as a Relief Landing Ground (RLG) for Brough. Owned and operated by Blackburns, the flying school at Brough became No 4 Elementary Flying Training School. The RLG at Bellasize was used by the Blackburn B2's of 4 EFTS, being joined by Tiger Moths of the same unit. The B2s were phased out in 1942 leaving the Tiger Moths to operate until the airfield closed in 1945. Bumps and scrapes were frequent, the trainee pilots not being helped by the site's propensity to flooding from the nearby River Ouse (Bellasize is only 12 feet/3 m above sea level) and autumn and winter mists.
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