The holiday launchpad we now know as
began life as ‘RAF Station Goosepool’ in 1938. As hostilities
commenced and escalated in the following years, the airfield was upgraded and
renamed RAF Middleton St.George in January 1941. It was the most northerly
bomber station in the Durham Tees Valley Airport British Isles.
Raids on the Tirpitz, as well as attacks on the likes of
and Hamburg, Berlin (and many more besides), were launched from the site during WWII –
resulting in the loss of more than 1,000 airmen who were based there.
After the war, the bombers left and the fighter planes took possession of RAF
Middleton. However, in 1964, budget cuts led to its abandonment. Dresden
Cleveland County Council then stepped in, keen to make a commercial go of a civil airport. It was then (in 1966) that it became known as ‘
over the next four decades it slowly but steadily grew in size and importance. Teesside International Airport
A change of ownership in the early 21st century saw a name change to ‘
’ (in 2004)
– and, it has to be said, a
dramatic dip in its fortunes followed. Redevelopment plans failed to reach
fruition as passenger numbers began to fall – in fact, from a peak of 900,000
passengers passing through the airport in 2006, the annual footfall now stands
at less than a quarter of this figure. Durham Tees Valley Airport
It is difficult to see how the venue can survive as a commercial concern.
Would you like to write for the the North-East History Tour?
See here for further info.