Alistair Maclean's Web Site
RAF Donna Nook

Lincolnshire Range

High up on the Lincolnshire coast were a couple of small bases; North Coates once fielded much of the Bloodhound surface to air missile defence the RAF possessed, fields of missiles; and just to it's south and actually on the beach was RAF Donna Nook, a live weapons range. In the late 80's the range was viewable from a public footpath that lead between the sea wall defences & dunes, and the beach itself. Sitting on the footpath meant you were about 600 feet from the targets and had an unobstructed view of what might happen in battle. I visited the location several times, only taking photo's on one occasion, but in a short period of time we got quite a bit of business. The Donna Nook ranges, are still open, but I note that now the dunes are considered a national wild life preserve, so I guess access to the range itself may be limited.

In 1988 and 1989 the primary users of the range (numerically at least) were the A-10's from RAF Bentwaters, down the Suffolk coast, and RAF Alconbury. The pilots of these attack aircraft would spend quite a bit of time raking the sand with cannon fire. One of the days I was there, approximately 12 A-10's were in-circuit and bombing and strafing the range.

At the time I worked down at the Theddlethorpe Gas Plant, and would see a lot of inbound traffic. The range worked 5 days a week, and then once a year, for about a week, very large ordinance was dropped. From the Gas Plant the effect of 1000 lb bombs being dropped over 10 miles away was quite unnerving.


A-10's staffing and dropping 25lb practice bombs.

Cannon fire

Cannon fire

25lb practice bomb

Cannon fire

25lb practice bomb


2 Jag's in the circuit. One in normal gray/green camoflague, the other in a light gray that had a slight salmon tint to it. On the far side of the circuit, the gray/green aircraft was always visible, the light gray aircraft was never visible.

must pan.


RAF Upper Heyford based F-111F's would use the range. They never stuck around, running in low and fast and going on to another range.

25lb bomb

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