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. 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 and Rememberance Book on any of our club meetings, or if needed we can open for you, just get in touch with us.

In 2018 the FARS Members, and friends re-built the WW2 Memorial, which had fallen in to a state of disrepair over 20 years.

With the club funding the project, and a few local sponsors, we were able to erect a lasting memorial dedicated to the service men and women of WW2.

Late summer 2018 saw us clear up the old memorial, and measure up the base for the new stone ware.

We got the new memorial completed just in time to hold a small Remembrance Service, on Sunday 11th November 2018.

RAF Finningley

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

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 a Transport Museum also use sections of the old station.

Royal Air Force Amateur Radio Society

In 1935 a group of RAF amateurs stationed at the Electrical and Wireless School at Cranwell began regular meetings to discuss their technical problems. It was decided to form a society and in 1936 the Cranwell Amateur Radio Transmitting Society (CARTS) was founded under the leadership of Wally Dunn G2LR. CARTS membership grew rapidly and a headquarters station was established with the callsign G8FC.

In 1937 the CARTS journal ‘QRV’ was inaugurated to keep members at home, and overseas in the picture. In 1938 membership increased rapidly and it was recognised that a Royal Air Force Society was needed and so RAFARS was founded based at RAF Cranwell. The Society went into suspense during World War II and activities were subsequently resumed in 1947.