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As we commemorate 70 years since the end of World War II and remember the lives lost in that conflict, I thought I would share some of the ghost stories that have strong connections to that time. With the horror of war and the suddenness of many deaths, it is far from surprising that some have been unable to rest and still haunt the places and equipment that they were familiar with in life. Here are just a few of the ghosts of World War II.
Aircraft in particular seem to be a great source of hauntings – whether because this was where lives were lost or perhaps because of the pride that many airmen felt towards their planes.
The last remaining Avro Lincoln Bomber is located in the Cosford Aerospace Museum near Albrighton, Shropshire. The cockpit of the plane is often seen to contain the ghost of a pilot while one night a tape recorded was left in the plane and recorded the sounds of a busy airport despite there being no-one in the hanger at the time.The air over Bardnoldswick near the Rolls Royce Bankfield factory was, during January 2004, the scene of a number of sightings of a silent grey aircraft that looked very much like a Lancaster Bomber. The sightings occurred over the course of the month and in a number of locations in that area of Lancashire. Similar sightings are often reported over the skies of Derbyshire.
Biggin Hill has regular sightings of the phantom Spitfire that appears over the village and nearby airport with January being the time of year most likely to see it. Airmen have also been seen around the village dressed in trench coats who stop and ask people for directions before disappearing.
Airfields and military bases were often the last glimpse of home for departing soldiers and therefore it unsurprising that some chose to haunt these places, rather than the point they departed life.
The Antsy Aerodrome in Warwickshire is now partly used by Rolls Royce to manufacture jet engine airplanes. In 1996, a report was lodged that a man was working a photocopier in the building when a figure in a WWII pilot’s uniform walked past him. The figure walked straight through a closed set of doors and disappeared in the middle of the field outside. Some rumours said that the man was Polish pilot who committed suicide at the base.
The former site of RAF Bassingbourne has paranormal reports dating back to the 1960s. The first reports were about a phantom aircrew that were seen around the base, which was used by the USAAF during the war. More recently, a man who lived on a part of the former airfield reported seeing a pair of legs in a dress uniform in his house and heard the sounds of an airplane starting up.
Binbrooke RAF Base is home to the ghost of an Australian worker who was said to have killed himself trying to sabotage a Lancaster bomber and is referred to as Clubfoot. He is seen walking the perimeter road. An NCO is also seen checking out the former base, said to be one Sergeant Sinclair who was responsible for the loading of bombs onto aircraft and who was killed when some were loaded incorrectly and he tried to flag down the plane. He is seen running down the runway, waving his arms.
Bircham Newton is now owned by the Construction Industry Training Board and is as busy with WWII ghosts as it was with living servicemen in the day. There is a car filled with drunk pilots who crashed into a hanger, killing all the occupants whose ghostly re-enactment happens at irregular times. Another group of ghosts are said to be the crew of a bomber than crashed into the landing strip who return for a game of racquet, the sound of their ball echoing around the building.
RAF Bletchley is home to a ghostly woman in a green apron who appears where the sick quarters were once found before disappearing through a door. In 2008, visitors to the site heard disembodied voices giving out instructions about filing in the log sheets.
This is just a little taste of the many hauntings associated with World War II airfields and aircraft in the UK alone.
For a bigger list, please see http://www.paranormaldatabase.com/aviation/pages/avdata.php