RAF Harlaxton in the First and Second World War

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

  • war/1 WWI - Harlaxton Park maps, plans, photographs and miscellaneous
  • war/2 WWII - RAF Harlaxton

Administrative / Biographical History

With the outbreak of World War I, stately homes across Britain were placed at the disposal of the country by their owners as part of the war effort. Harlaxton Manor's contribution was immense and relates specifically to two newly formed units in the British Army – the Machine Gun Corps and the Royal Flying Corps.

RAF Harlaxton was re-activated in World War II operating as a Relief Landing Station from 1942 to 1945 and remains some of the buildings can still see in the woods behind the Manor. Meanwhile the Manor, like so many country houses across England, became home to a new generation of soldiers. By 1944, Harlaxton, together with all the other country houses around Grantham was home to the 1st Airborne Division.

In September 1944 the Division went into action alongside the American 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions as part of Operation Market Garden, the largest airborne assault ever attempted. The objective of the 1st Airborne Division, and the soldiers billeted at Harlaxton Manor was the bridge at Arnhem, known to history as 'a bridge too far'. The 1st Airborne Division was effectively destroyed as a fighting force at the Battle of Arnhem.

The Divisions' Provost Company returned and took up residence at Harlaxton Manor until late 1945. They created the Pegasus monument that commemorates the Division in what is now called the Pegasus Courtyard.

Arrangement

Chronologically by World War I and II within the box

Conditions Governing Access

By appointment

Archivist's Note

Added by Linda Dawes, College Librarian, April 2017

Conditions Governing Use

With copyright holder

Accruals

Ongoing

Related Material

Bibliography

Bujak, E. (2015) Reckless fellows : the gentlemen of the Royal Flying Corps. London: I B Taurus.