Betchton at War
In 1939, the Royal Air Force opened RAF Cranage near Byley, just north of Middlewich, as a training and aircraft maintenance unit. In 1940 when bombing attacks by the Luftwaffe were regular occurrences, the station took on an operational role, housing 96 Squadron which was equipped with Hawker Hurricanes. The squadron had a night air-
Inevitably, the Byley station itself became a target. The RAF could ill afford to lose it to an enemy raid, as it was the only night fighter station in the north-
Listed as operational throughout 1941 and 1942, the site was decommissioned in 1943 and the land had returned to open fields by 1946. Nothing remains today of the decoy airfield, although part of the control bunker remains as shown in the photographs on the right. The site is on private property and cannot be accessed via any public right of way.
The decoy was manned by four RAF personnel. In May 2015, the last survivor of the four, Aircraftman 1st Class Jack Bowser passed away. Some of AC1 Bowser’s personal history and mementos can be found here.
The images on this page are copyright © Mr. Steven Houchin and are reproduced by his kind permission.