For this market trader insurance blog I have chosen to write about Wellesbourne Airfield Market including a bit of history. Situated in the heart of rural Warwickshire five miles from the historic town of Stratford upon Avon, Wellesbourne Airfield originated in 1941 when the government purchased 200 acres of land from the Littler family to set up an airfield to accommodate ‘RAF Wellesbourne Mountford’, home of No. 22 Operational Training Unit until the close of the war in 1945. No. 22 OTU was equipped with Vickers Wellington bombers supplemented by Avro Anson navigational trainers.
On 14th April 1941 No. 22 OTU was formed. This was devoted to the training of UK and Commonwealth aircrews, pilots, navigators, bomb-aimers, wireless operators and air gunners. At its peak in March 1944 RAF Wellesbourne was turning out 113 aircrews a month. The airfield was attacked from the air four times during May 1941. In the first raid 11 bombs fell, slightly damaging the fire tender building, three bombs fell near No. 1 Dispersal in the second attack and during the third a dozen bombs were dropped in the North-East corner of the airfield damaging two Wellingtons and an Anson.
As training intensified, flying accidents were very frequent, with much loss of life and aircraft, in 1942 Wellesbourne aircraft were used in the 1,000 bomber raids on Germany, again with many casualties. On the first bomber raid on Cologne on the night of 30th May 1942. Wellesbourne managed to put up 35 Wellingtons crewed by pupils and instructors. From this raid Wellesbourne lost 4 aircraft with their crews all killed. On 1st June 1942 the second 1,000 bomber raid was on Essen, Wellesbourne managed 34 aircraft and all returned safely to base. On the 25th June 1943, the 3rd bomber raid was on Bremen and the airfield managed 31 aircraft, 2 failing to return and their crews killed. On completion of these operations Wellesbourne returned to its training role.
During the war period Wellesbourne lost 96 Wellingtons in operational and training accidents. 80 airmen were injured and 315 killed. These comprised of 243 Canadians, 59 RAF, 9 New Zealand, 2 Belgian, 1 Australian and 1 WAAF. On 25th July 1945 22 OTU was closed after having trained over 9000 airmen.
In February 1984, Avro Vulcan XM655 arrived on Runway 36 from RAF Waddington. The aircraft is parked in the north-west corner and is now looked after by the Vulcan XM655 Maintenance and Preservation Society. The aircraft is able to perform taxi runs for the public.
Wellesbourne Airfield Market has been in existence since 1975 and is one of the largest open markets in the British Isles with over 500 stalls. The market is open every Saturday throughout the year and all four summer Bank Holiday Mondays.
The market did however have some bad press recently however, when a massive police operation in conjunction with Warwickshire Trading Standards, HM Revenue & Customs and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) achieved the ‘greatest overall single recovery of counterfeit goods at any UK market’ totalling nearly three million pounds in retail value.
It must be said that only four people were arrested and the majority of the goods seized were recovered from later searches in premises across the midlands. By far and away the vast majority of traders on the market run legitimate businesses and are all welcome to try out CompareCrazy for their market trader insurance! CompareCrazy.com. The business insurance comparison site!
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