Telling the story of an important wartime base

The front cover of RAF Acklington: Guardian of the Northern Skies, which has been written by Malcolm Fife and published by Fonthill Media.
The front cover of RAF Acklington: Guardian of the Northern Skies, which has been written by Malcolm Fife and published by Fonthill Media.

A history buff has released a comprehensive book about one of northern England’s most important fighter fields during the Second World War.

RAF Acklington: Guardian of the Northern Skies has been written by professional photographer Malcolm Fife.

The book is based on original and unpublished records and documentation and features many photographs never before seen in print. There is also an appendix with detailed list of all units based at RAF Acklington.

At the beginning of the Second World War, RAF Acklington was the most important fighter station in north-east England.

It started life in 1938 as a training base for RAF aircrews, but with the outbreak of hostilities against Germany, it was given the role of protecting the skies over Newcastle and its industrial heartland.

Its Spitfires and Hurricanes were soon in action against Luftwaffe bombers and many of the earliest raids of the war took place over this part of Britain. Due to the importance of this region with its major ports and industries, it continued to attract the attention of enemy bombers long after the Battle of Britain had been won.

By late 1940, most attacks took place after dark and RAF Acklington became the host for night-fighter squadrons.

Unlike many military airfields, it did not close when hostilities ceased. Initially, it reverted to its training role, but in 1957 it again became the base for fighter aircraft.

The airfield spent its last years as 6 Flying Training School but due to defence cuts, it became surplus to requirements and closed in the 1970s.

Published by Fonthill Media, the book (ISBN 978-1-78155-622-1) is £18.99, paperback.