In the run up to release of THE WOMAN IN BLACK: ANGEL OF DEATH we're taking a look at the haunted history of Britain's abandoned WWII airfields...
In the UK between 1939 and 1945, hundreds of airforce bases were hastily built to help house the vast numbers of military aircraft flying from Britain to mainland Europe. Following the war, and with no use left for them, these airfields were left to become derelict and overgrown. In the years since however, accounts of strange goings-on began to surface from airfields across the country, and stories of odd noises, ghostly aircraft and phantom-like presences began to be told by terrified witnesses…
Have a look below at the most hair-raising of these stories-
This airfield is known for being a cold, bleak place where ice and fogs are not uncommon. During WWII, these elements were the cause of numerous accidents and deaths.
Just before the end of the war, in January 1945, Corporal Hilary became lost while driving a van across the airfield, due to a thick fog which had descended to cover everything in sight. Upon exiting the van to try and locate her position, Hilary witnessed something to make her heart pause; three aircrew, in full flying kit, emerging from the mist, lit by the headlight beams of Hilary’s van. Though stunned Hilary managed to ask the crew for directions, but the three continued on without a word, disappearing back into the fog.
Later that day Corporal Hilary discovered that all flights had been called off due to the mist, and no aircrew were on the grounds. So was it a phantom crew Hilary saw?
The site of numerous WWII plane crashes, over the years RAF East Kirkby has become known for such supernatural phenomena as phantom pilots, ghostly footsteps, and- perhaps most notable- a haunted control tower.
Inside this tower, a number of staff have experienced the unsettling feeling of being ‘watched’, and the dull murmur of voices has been heard when nobody else is around. There is also a common account of phones which ring through the night from inside, even though the control tower phones- old-fashioned rotary dials- are unplugged. And finally, at night passers-by have noted mysterious green lights coming from inside the tower.
According to reports, the chilling phantom of an airman can been seen walking the perimeter of Binbrook airfield in Lincolnshire. It has been surmised that this is the ghost of Australian armourer Sgt. Sinclair- nicknamed Clubfoot- who died while trying to sabotage a colleague’s Lancaster bomber. Apparently the colleague in question had injured Clubfoot previously, and Clubby wanted to gain revenge. In addition to limping around the airfield perimeter, Clubfoot has been seen waving wildly in the air and trying to flag down passing vehicles.
Numerous staff from a factory situated on this old airfield claim to have had repeated sightings of a headless airman in full flying gear. One witness alleges he was so terrified by the sight, the front of his hair turned white.
A phantom Spitfire is said to haunt the skies of Biggin Hill, with many people claiming to have seen it flying overhead. Look out after the New Year in particular, as January is apparently the most popular month for it to be sighted.
Trench coat-wearing airmen have also been reported in the village, where they are said to stop people to ask for directions before disappearing into the night.
Eager for more info on Britain’s haunted wartime airfields? Check out The Woman in Black: Angel of Death when it hits screens on 1/1/15 (US release: 2/1/15)
Also, why not pick up a copy of Helen Dunmore’s WWII-set The Greatcoat?