During the Second World War Ratcliffe College was in a pivotal position to watch the goings on of aerial movements in the country. Adjacent to the school grounds, (and now part of them) was Ratcliffe Aerodrome. For the duration of the war it was seconded to the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) and re-named No.6 Ferry Pool. This meant that it was
one of the major hubs in the country for aircraft movement between factories and air bases, and during hostilities it alone accounted for in excess of 50,000 flights. One of the notable pilots from the ATA to be posted here early on in the war was Mary Wilkins-Ellis. Flying all manner of aircraft, with little more than a pocket book of basic flying parameters for each type, Mary and her compatriots would be kept very busy ensuring that fighter and bomber stations were kept supplied with fresh aircraft. So the boys of the College would have had aircraft flying directly overhead all day, every day. With the intensity of the air war during the summer and autumn of 1940, Ratcliffe would have certainly seen its fair share of Spitfires and Hurricanes during the weeks that would soon become known as The Battle of Britain, and would forever have its place in history.
This year, 2015, sees the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Whilst our project is nowhere near its completion, this historic anniversary is one we shall be celebrating at Ratcliffe. We also hope that the rejuvenated interest triggered by the nationwide celebrations might bring new interest to our project from as yet unknown sources.
For more information on the History of Ratcliffe Aerodrome please visit the Ratcliffe CCF website
Ratcliffe College celebrates Battle of Britain links by building a life-size Spitfire