Former RAF Burn Airfield
The airfield was built as a Class A airfield in the winter of 1941-1942 with a runway that was running parallel to the old London-North Eastern Railway main line (London-Edinburgh), only 300 meters to the east. According to local stories pilots would hope to coincide the timely appearance of an express train from the north with them revving their engines for take-off on runway 19. While the train would overtake at the start of their run, it would be thoroughly outpaced once the aircraft went airborne at the other end of the runway. Such take-offs were usually accompanied by loud blasts on the steam whistle and the waving of arms from the cab and carriage windows.
During the 155 raids 578 Sqn mounted from Burn, it had 40 aircraft missing in action. Over the 14 months as an active unit, 578 Sqn earned one Victoria Cross, 143 Distinguished Flying Crosses and 82 Distinguished Flying Medals, in addition to the unit being known for its consistent bombing accuracy. Combined, this resulted in the granting of a squadron crest by His Majesty King George VI in February 1945 with the motto `Accuracy’. Also, the squadron’s ground crews outstanding service on Bristol Hercules XVI engines resulted in an award by the Bristol Aeroplane Company. The award, a shield, is now on display at the Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington near York. Two of their Halifaxes passed the century mark on operations, flying 104 and 105 operations respectively, but both aircraft survived the war only to be scrapped. In total, 219 airmen flew from RAF Burn and never returned from their mission.