Inside the abandoned RAF base that played a crucial role in the fight against the Nazis during World War II

British pilots used RAF Church Fenton in North Yorkshire to defend some of England’s largest cities from German bombers in the early stages of World War II.

Inside the abandoned RAF base used to defend Britain against the Nazis in Yorkshire
Inside the abandoned RAF base once used to defend Britain against the Nazis

An abandoned RAF base has rotted away after its crucial role in World War II when it was used to defend Britain from the Nazis.

Gruesome photos show rotting walls, crumbling floors and vandalism at RAF Church Fenton in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire.

Intrepid pilots once used the base, which was built in 1937, to help defend some of England’s largest cities during the war.

Part of the site continued to be used decades after the fighting, but much of it has been left to decay for years, reports Yorkshire Live.

During World War II, the airfield was home to various aircraft, from Hurricanes, Mosquitoes, Blenheims and Beaufighters to Typhoons and Mustangs.

It also housed a fast but flimsy wooden plane called the de Havilland Mosquito that only saw service for a few months before falling out of use.

RAF Church Fenton as seen by explorer Daniel Sims before it was demolished


Jam Press/Bearded Reality)

The base was tasked with defending some of the large industrial cities in the north of England from German bombers at the start of the war.

Some of Britain’s first night fighters flew from the Yorkshire base and some paid the ultimate price to protect the nation.

The site was also home to a significant number of squadrons, including the 1st RAF “Eagle” Squadron of American volunteers, the 1st All-Canadian RAF Squadron, and the 1st All-Polish RAF Squadron.

The images show what the base looked like after years of deterioration


Jam Press/Bearded Reality)

Photographer Bearded Reality captured a series of images showing what remains of the base some eight decades later.

The images offer a glimpse of what life would have been like for those who spent time there over the years.

In a YouTube video, he shows some of the rooms that were covered in graffiti and taken over by nature, including a former bar and kitchen area.

In some, floors had collapsed and debris hung from the ceilings.


Jam Press/Bearded Reality)

Debris hung from the ceilings while part of the floor collapsed.

After the war ended, RAF Church Fenton was used as a front line battle station in the defense of the North of England until the late 1940s.

Since then it has been falling apart and has simply been left out in the open.

Initially, the station continued to be used after the war, and its role changed to pilot training in 1960.

It was used as a front line home defense station until 1959 and was later converted into a pilot training school.


Jam Press/Bearded Reality)

But it was finally closed for good in 2013, by which time several of its buildings had already fallen into disuse.

The video shows Daniel and his companions running at different points after hearing other people in the building.

At the end of the video, Daniel tells viewers: “That was RAF Fenton, also known as Leeds East Airport. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get into the tower because security was posted right next to us.

“The place is creepy but amazing exploration.”

RAF buildings housed major squadrons


Jam Press/Bearded Reality)

After posting the video on YouTube, some viewers asked Daniel for more information about the site, but he told them that the buildings he visited were gone.

One wrote: “Great abandoned place in Leeds, I’ll go there to paint.”

Daniel replied, “Unfortunately the place is gone, but it was a super cool place.”

Another added: “Sad to see, I flew here a couple of times as an air cadet.”

Daniel replied, “Oh that’s amazing, thanks for sharing and yes it’s a shame he’s gone.”

Someone else said, “I’m so glad I subscribed to this channel.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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