The Station

The oldest RAF station, opened on 28 March 1918, is located near the village of Scopwick and is an important signals site for all three services. Home to Joint and RAF units, the Station is part of UK StratCom, and is commanded by a RAF Wing Commander.

Icarus reborn

Who's based here



Digby was originally called RAF Scopwick and was established in 1918. It has been home to a number of units, including Nos. 2 and 3 Flying Training Schools. Frank Whittle, Guy Gibson and Douglas Bader were all stationed here.

In 1941, the Station welcomed a number of Royal Canadian Air Force Squadrons, a relationship that endured until the end of WWII. Pilot Officer John Magee RCAF who wrote the famous aviation poem ‘High Flight’ was based here. The role of the Station changed again in 1955 with the arrival of No. 399 Signals Unit. This was later joined by 591 Signals Unit and the Aerial Erectors School.

No. 399 Signals Unit changed its name to the Joint Service Signal Unit in 1998, reflecting its tri-service composition. In 2005 the Unit became the Joint Service Signals Wing (JSSW) Digby.  On 1st August 2008 the Unit changed its name back to the Joint Service Signal Unit (D). The Station has a rich RAF heritage with former Station Commanders including ACM Sir Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris, MRAF Lord Tedder and ACM Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory.

Currently, the Station is home to Joint and RAF units, and is commanded by a RAF Wing Commander.

Key dates

1917   The airfield site was already being used by trainee pilots from HMS Daedalus (RAF Cranwell).

1918   Airfield formally purchased.

1924   Wing Commander (later MRAF Lord) Tedder arrived as Station Commander.

1936   Dambuster Guy Gibson learned to fly at the station.

1940   Became an important fighter station during the Battle of Britain.

1941   Pilot John Magee, poet of 'High Flight', was killed while flying from the station.