Remembering when Frognall buzzed with war planes

The site of the First World War airfield in Frognall. Photo: Dorothea Price EMN-140923-101551001
The site of the First World War airfield in Frognall. Photo: Dorothea Price EMN-140923-101551001

The sleepy streets of Frognall, near Deeping St James, became a hive of activity when an airfield was created during the First World War.

Residents of Frognall and the Deepings have researched the history of the landing strip, known as Market Deeping Airfield, as part of the First World War commemoration project.

They discovered the class 2 airfield was officially listed as a 75 acre field, one-and-a-half miles away from St James Deeping railway station. It was one of 38 such strips in Lincolnshire.

According to The Airfields of Lincolnshire Since 1912, by Ron Blake, Bill Taylor and Mike Hodgson, the airfield comprised a wooden hut with a supply of petrol, landing equipment and spares. It was the responsibility of the Royal Defence Corps based at Willow Lodge Farm in 
Frognall.

The airfield was the main refuelling base for No. 38 Squadron, based in Melton Mowbray, whose task was to patrol the east coast of England to stop German Zeppelins reaching industrial sites in the Midlands.

Frognall catered for a range of aircraft and pilots from all over the world. Posters were put up around the village so residents could tell the difference between enemy aircraft and our own. It was a spectacle in the village and residents would often give pilots a drink when they landed.

The airstrip was returned to farmland in 1919.

If you have any memories of it, contact Judy Stevens on 07852 649464.