James our landlord has chatted with a few regulars here at the Three Greyhounds Inn and done a little research and has come up with a commemorative Ale to recognise the great history of the local area around our pub.
“Byley Bomber” is a great 3.8% abv session Ale which will feature as a guest ale for many years to come. It celebrates firstly RAF Cranage which was a Royal Air Force station during the Second World War. The airfield was located just to the North of Middlewich.
The site at Cranage was chosen for use as a training base and aircraft maintenance unit in August 1939. Originally just a grass airfield, three runways were later built from American metal plank. The airfield unusually had eight blister hangars for maintenance use.
The first flying unit was No. 2 School of Air Navigation which was formed on 21 October 1940. It operated the twin-engined Avro Anson for training navigators. In 1942 the unit was renamed the Central Navigation School and the strength was increased to 58 Ansons, they were joined two years later by a number of Vickers Wellingtons in the same role. It is the Wellington bomber that is celebrated on the badge and names the beer.
A Vickers-Armstrong shadow factory assembling Wellingtons, was situated at Byley but close to the Cranage airfield. The completed aircraft would be towed from the factory to the airfield for their first flight and onward delivery.
The beer badge also reflects the formation of 96 Squadron in December 1940 at RAF Cranage, which was equipped with Hawker Hurricanes. This unit operated in the night air-defence role, mainly in the protection of the industrial and port areas of Liverpool.
The only flying unit on the airfield after the war was No. 190 Gliding School which was formed in May 1945 and operated from the site for two years. With their departure, flying ceased at Cranage. The airfield was used for storage and maintenance until it closed in 1958.
Great history indeed and what a great beer too!!