Return to raf raynham august 2012(picture heavy)

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urban phantom

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Hi all this is a return visit to see the hospital and officers mess sorry about the long history but this base has seen a lot of history

Built between 1938 and 1939, RAF West Raynham was an expansion scheme airfield. The grass landing area was aligned roughly north-east to south-west. The main camp, with housing and headquarters was located immediately west of the landing area. To the south-east were bomb stores.[1] The airfield was originally equipped with a Watch Office with Tower (Fort Type), of pattern 207/36 (made from concrete), although the tower was later removed and new Control Room built to pattern 4698/43. Later in the war the station was provided with a "Control Tower for Very Heavy Bomber Stations" to pattern 294/45, one of only four such towers to be built.[2]
101 Squadron – a detachment of Bristol Blenheim which was part of 2 Group – was moved to West Raynham in May 1939. The only squadron based at RAF West Raynham, 101 Squadron were held in reserve by 2 Group until they were used as target tugs in February 1940. In 1940, RAF West Raynham also acted as a temporary base for 18 and 139 squadrons after they suffered losses in the Blitzkrieg.[1]
RAF Great Massingham was founded in 1940, just 2 miles (3.2 km) from RAF West Raynham to act as a satellite base. It was originally intended to support West Raynham and provide it with extra space for its Blenheims, but eventually expanded to accommodate a squadron of its own.[3]
On 4 July 1940, 101 Squadron saw action for the first time. Individual aircraft attacked oil tanks in German ports. This went on for over a year, and during this time the squadron lost 15 Blenheims across 610 missions. No. 101 Squadron was transferred to 3 Group and consequently left West Raynham. They were replaced at West Raynham by 114 Squadron, another detachment of Blenheims. They were stationed at West Rayham for over a year before they were despatched to North Africa as part of "Operation Torch". The squadron converted to Blenheim Mk Vs in August 1942, in preparation for combat in Africa. No. 18 Squadron also went to RAF West Raynham to be refitted with Mk Vs. At this time, squadrons 180 and 342 were formed at West Raynham. The 180 Squadron was equipped with North American B-25 Mitchells and based at RAF Great Massingham which was associated with RAF West Raynham. Squadron 342 was provided with Douglas Bostons crewed by Frenchmen in early 1943, and was later relocated to RAF Sculthorpe.[1]
Between May and November 1943, the grass landing area was replaced with two concrete runways, one 04-22 and 2,000 yards (1,800 m) long and the other 10-28 1,400 yards (1,300 m). At the same time, the existing housing on the site was expanded to provide accommodation for 2,456 men and 658 women.[4]
In December 1943, the station was taken over by 100 Group, who brought 141 and 239 squadrons to RAF West Raynham. They were equipped with de Havilland Mosquito, fighter aircraft which would provided support to bomber sorties in enemy air space. They were based at West Raynham until the end of the war; their duties involved flying Serrate patrols and "Ranger sorties" (seek and destroy enemy fighters in the air and on the ground). During the war, squadrons stationed at RAF West Raynham lost 56 Blenheims, 29 Mosquitos, and a Bristol Beaufighter.[1]
In the mid- to late-1950s RAF West Raynham was Central Fighter Establishment of the Royal Air Force. It still had at least two operational Gloster Meteor jet fighters, a squadron of twin tail-boomed de Havilland Venoms and de Havilland Vampire trainer jets. The very latest arrival in 1957 was a flight of Gloster Javelins, which also appeared at the Farnborough Airshow the same year.
On the morning of Wednesday, 8 February 1956, eight Hawker Hunter aircraft from the Central Fighter Establishment took off on an exercise. The weather closed in, causing them to be diverted to RAF Marham. Two aircraft landed safely, a third ran off the runway, and the fourth crashed into a field killing the pilot. The remaining four pilots ejected, with the aircraft crashing in open country. This incident was raised in the House of Commons.[5]
In 1964 a tripartite squadron, comprising members of the British, United States and German armed forces, was formed at West Raynham to evaluate the Hawker P1127 Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) strike fighter aircraft.[6]
In the mid-1960s, the East side of the airfield was developed as a SAM site, equipped with the Bristol Bloodhound Mk2 and its associated radars. The resident unit was 41 Sqn. Some of the radars, launch control units, and launchers were air portable for deployment elsewhere if required.
Between 28–31 March 1967 Hawker Hunters from West Raynham were involved in Operation Mop Up. This operation saw repeated attacks by Hunters from Raynham and RAF Chivenor, along with aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm, dropping aviation fuel and napalm on an oil slick being released from the wreck of the supertanker Torrey Canyon which had run aground on Seven Stores Reef, near Lands End.[7] On 9 June 1967 a Handley Page Hastings C2, registration WD491, was written off at Raynham when a tyre burst during landing.[8]
In 1968 a Hunter from RAF West Raynham was used by Flight Lieutenant Alan Pollock, a flight commander in No. 1 Squadron RAF, to unofficially mark the 50th Anniversary of the Royal Air Force. This event is commonly referred to as the Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident.[9]
On 19 December 1975, 85 Squadron, which had been stationed at the base flying the Gloster Javelin and Gloster Meteor in the early 1960s, made their headquarters at West Raynham after being reformed as a Bristol Bloodhound Mark II surface to air missile unit.[10] 85 Squadron remained at West Raynham until it was disbanded on 10 July 1991, with the Standard bearing the squadrons battle honours placed in the safe keeping of Ely Cathedral.
In 1963, 1971, 1980, 1981 and 1982, RAF West Raynham was the location of the Royal Observer Corps annual summer training camps for eight weeks when up to 500 observers attended each week for technical training sessions. Other ranks were accommodated in spare barrack blocks and officers in the officers' mess. In 1980 the start of the camps coincided with a no notice station three day Tactical Evaluation (TACEVAL) inspection by RAF Strike Command and much consternation was caused when a full-time ROC officer arrived at the main gate in a car loaded with radioactive sources needed for an ROC training session. With the arrival obviously not expected by the TACEVAL directing staff the vehicle was placed under armed guard and the ROC officer bundled into the station guardroom where he remained locked up for several hours until the senior ROC officer was located to vouch In 1994, RAF West Raynham was shut down by the MoD.[11] The airfield and technical site remained the property of the MoD but the site was disused and its houses left empty and falling into disrepair.[12] In 2002 Norman Lamb, Member of Parliament for North Norfolk, labelled the situation a "scandal" as at the time there was a shortage of affordable housing in the region.[13] Though empty, the MoD had kept possession of RAF West Raynham as a strategic reserve, however in 2004 it was decided that the base would play no future role in the defence of the country.[14] Lamb campaigned for the houses to be turned over for civilian use, and it was announced in October 2004 that 170 homes at RAF West Raynham would be sold.[15] In December 2005 it was announced that the whole site would be sold at auction.
It was purchased by a developer in 2006 who resold it in October 2007, as they had been unable to install the necessary infrastructure. Tamarix Investments bought RAF West Raynham in October 2007; they planned to build new homes on the site and a hotel, as well as renovate the standing houses. The plans included turning the place into an eco-village, with a biomass generator to supply power.[16] The 170 houses at RAF West Raynham will be repaired and 40 more homes added to the site.[17] In 2008, planning permission was given for the construction of 58 properties and for the conversion of the hangars into twenty loft style

Now for some pictures


return to raynham 130 by urban phantom, on Flickr


return to raynham 133 by urban phantom, on Flickr


return to raynham 135 by urban phantom, on Flickr


return to raynham 141 by urban phantom, on Flickr


return to raynham 139 by urban phantom, on Flickr

The medical centre


return to raynham 089 by urban phantom, on Flickr


return to raynham 128 by urban phantom, on Flickr


return to raynham 062 by urban phantom, on Flickr


return to raynham 088 by urban phantom, on Flickr


return to raynham 064 by urban phantom, on Flickr


return to raynham 124 by urban phantom, on Flickr


return to raynham 119 by urban phantom, on Flickr


return to raynham 112 by urban phantom, on Flickr


return to raynham 127 by urban phantom, on Flickr

A few other bits and bobs


return to raynham 038 by urban phantom, on Flickr


return to raynham 052 by urban phantom, on Flickr


return to raynham 014 by urban phantom, on Flickr


return to raynham 004 by urban phantom, on Flickr


return to raynham 028 by urban phantom, on Flickr


return to raynham 151 by urban phantom, on Flickr


return to raynham by urban phantom, on Flickr

Thanks for looking all comments welcome
 

UrbanX

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Lovely to see it's still do-able. It was years ago when I went!

Have you ever been to RAF Upwood? It's soo similar, just a lot less trashed!

Fantastic report, cheers for sharing! :)
 

urban phantom

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Lovely to see it's still do-able. It was years ago when I went!

Have you ever been to RAF Upwood? It's soo similar, just a lot less trashed!

Fantastic report, cheers for sharing! :)

Thanks mate i dont think this will be avalible for long things had changed big time since are visit. We have been to upwood its a great shame the state its in we also did newton thats was mint as well
 

crickleymal

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That brings back some memories. I went there when I was in the ATC back in the 70s. If memory serves me well the first building may have been the canteen/NAAFI.I remember flying from there in a DeHaviland Chipmunk.
 

urban phantom

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That brings back some memories. I went there when I was in the ATC back in the 70s. If memory serves me well the first building may have been the canteen/NAAFI.I remember flying from there in a DeHaviland Chipmunk.

The first building is the officers mess i bet it looked nice back then i would of liked to have seen that
 

Jet48

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Great explore Thanks for the detailed history very interesting.

The black and white images have a very effective quality about them.
 

losttom

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Great pics, a few places i didnt see on there, a revisit may be in order!

Upwood is more trashed, and Newton dosnt have much left now unless you like walking around new houses :mad:
 

urban phantom

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Great pics, a few places i didnt see on there, a revisit may be in order!

Upwood is more trashed, and Newton dosnt have much left now unless you like walking around new houses :mad:

Thanks mate when we visited newton it was more or less complete medical center and all just no officers mess i was gutted when i heard had all gone upwood is nice but very trashed but still a nice walk round
 
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