The Haunting of RAF Scampton
There have been many reporting’s of paranormal phenomena around the base. Reporting’s of 40’s music being heard from within the walls when no one has been on the premises, sightings of pilots and the deep sounds of aircraft taking off and landing are but some of the claims. The appearance of the buildings only adds to the ghostly feel of the place. The base gives a feeling that it has stood still in time with its dull buildings, corrugated iron shelters and pre war style design.
Perhaps the most well known story is that of the ‘Dambusters’ black Labrador, ‘Nigger.’ He was hit by a car and killed and his grave can still be seen on the grounds today. There have been numerous sightings of ‘Nigger’ including one by five people working at the base who reported seeing a black dog run silently past them to the officers mess without even looking at them. The ground was covered in snow, yet the dog never left any paw prints.
In the late 1980’s, the ‘Red Arrows’ were said to be jinxed and cursed due to a rather unlucky string of accidents. In 1987 two Hawk Jets touched wings over Welton and both crashed to the ground. Three months later, Flight Lieutenant MacLachlan was killed after attempting to perform a roll which went badly wrong. After this, the Arrows were banned for a few months and then reinstated. Only a month after, the curse struck again as a Pilot was forced to eject his plane after it caught fire. There have been numerous incidents since then and some would wonder if the recent fatalities are a result of the ongoing curse.
I had often listened to my Grandads rather sceptical view on whether pop music could be called music and how people who experience anything paranormal were usually thoroughly drunk. For me, my Grandads scepticism made the story he told me more believable than any other. After all, why would someone who poked fun at ghost stories create one themselves?
Many years after it had happened, the family were telling stories of their ghostly experiences and he told us of his. About twenty years ago, he was driving past RAF Scampton, a route he would often take at night on his way home from work. It was an icy cold night, so he was driving slowly on the slippery road when a ghostly white figure walked out in front of him. There was not enough time for him to stop and he flinched as he drove straight into the man. Once the car had stopped, he looked back confused after there was no thud from hitting the man, only to see him still stood there, now turned round facing the car, waving and with a smile on his face. My Grandad described how the man was wearing an RAF uniform with his jacket over one shoulder. How strange, seen as it was a cold winter’s night. After staring back at the figure in the mirror for what felt like forever, but was in fact a couple of minutes, the figure walked across the rest of the road and disappeared.
My Grandad promised he was not drunk and still didn’t believe this was proof that the paranormal exists. He always believed there was an explanation for these strange occurrences, although he could never explain this.
On visiting the base myself, I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. The place certainly has an eerie feel and at times I felt the hairs go up on my neck, but I put that down to the spooky image of the place.
The History of RAF Scampton
The airfield was originally opened in 1916 as a home defence flight station named Brattleby.
RAF Scampton was then opened in 1936 on the same site. It is best known for the setting of the formation of the Dambusters. The Dambusters only got their name after they were sent to carry out operation Chastise, the attack on the Ruhr Valley Dams in Germany in 1943.
At the start of World War two, the RAF base was transferred to Bomber command and certain squadrons specialised in areas such as low level mine laying and bombing the opponents ships etc. A total of 266 aircraft were lost from Scampton during the war. Fifteen were Manchesters, 155 were Hampdens, and 95 were Lancasters.
In 1954, the airfield was used for the location of the film ‘The Dambusters,’which told the story of the 617 squadron. It retells their mission to use the bouncing bomb, which would be dropped at low level over water and bounce over the torpedo nets, finally sinking under the water to create maximum damage when they exploded.
The pilots would use Lincoln Cathedral and the surrounding roads to help them locate the airfield which made the trainee’s job much easier.
The final Vulcan flight from RAF Scampton was in 1982.
Today, it is the base for the famous ‘Red Arrows’ which are the Royal Air Force’s Aerobatic Team. It has its own museum and guided tours are available around the old hangers and runways which are packed full of history stretching over two wars.