No. 214 (Federated Malay States) Squadron
Royal Air Force

SQUADRON BASES


Bomber Command badge

Feltwell
&
Methwold

The Station at Feltwell with it's distinctive 'C' type hangars was opened on 12th March 1937 with an establishment of Station Headquarters and two "3 Group" Bomber Squadrons ( 37 and 214) equipped with Harrow aircraft. No. 214 Squadron was the first unit to receive Harrows in January 1937, when the type began to replace Virginias, and by the end of that year four other squadrons had re-equipped with the new bomber: Nos 37 (Feltwell), 75 (Driffield), 115 (Marham) and 215 (Driffield). Wing Commander L.H. Slatter, OBE, DSC, DFC was the Station Commander. 214 arrived at Feltwell from Scampton on 13 April 1937 following which on April 26 1937 "B" Flight detached itself to become 37 squadron. Acording to Mr Bill Marshall of Northwold (37 Squadron electrician from 1939-1941) some electrical equipment was cannibalised from 214 in order that 37 could became operational. Both squadrons were re-equipped with Wellingtons 1A on May 6 1939 just prior to the outbreak of war. ( Apparently 214 was never an operational squadron from Feltwell or Methwold)

The Commanding Officers of Nos. 37 and 214 were Wing Commanders H.V. Drew, OBE, AFC, and D.F. Luckling, respectively. Another pre-war C.O. of No. 37 Squadron was Wing Commander F.J. Fogarty, DFC, AFC. On 8 August 1939 Group Captain L.H. Slatter relinquished command of the Station to Group Captain C.O.Y. Modin, DSC.

On August 27,1939, 37 squadron became mobilized and 214, a reserve Squadron, moved to a new landing ground at nearby Methwold. Apparently a landing ground is all it was, as apart from tents and toilets, there was little else there.

William Walker of Nottingham, comments on this period: "We were issued with Wellingtons, and known as number 3 FTS. It was then that Methwold airfield opened, and one half of the Squadron moved there into tents, whilst the other half flew there daily from Feltwell to do the training , circuits and bumps mainly. The airfield at the time was exactly that, a field. On the right hand side of the opening to the field there was a wood. At certain intervals the trees in this wood were removed to form dispersal points. During our stay at Methwold, apart from this large hall in the background, there were no buildings of any description there. Trailers were used as flight offices, and at evenings, and weekends these were occupied by armed guards, and called telephone orderlies. These armed guards consisted of the tradesman servicing the aircraft. There was no such thing as the RAF regiment during those days. They were known as ground gunners, and wore khaki uniforms. At no time during my service did the RAF regiment or the ground gunners perform guard duties on aircraft. These duties were carried out by the tradesman of the aircraft in addition to their own duties". "During this time most tradesmen were training as air gunners in order to receive extra pay per day. The air gunners badge at the time was a winged bullet worn on the sleeve." He also states that around this time the new rank of Engineering officer came into being.

William goes on to give some idea of how crude the setup was at Methwold: "Of course, at this time there was no flair path as such. What we had was a vessel similar to a watering can with a long spout. Down the spout was a long Wick and the cans filled with paraffin. This Wick was ignited and the vessels alternated down each side of ( so-called ) runway. After a time Jerry used to get in the circuits as aircraft waited to land, and of course they became sitting ducks. They also had great fun picking off the aircraft tradesman whose additional duties consisted of lighting these flair paths, and whose job was to extinguish them during an air raid. In order to extinguish these monsters, one had to remove his field service cap and place it over the wick to douse it. Not content with being used as target practice by Jerry, the next morning, you were charged with destroying public property and made to pay for a new field service cap".

The war was on for less than a day when six crews of 37 Squadron left to attack enemy ships off Heliogen. This first operation was carried out on 15 November 1939 - a North Sea sweep against enemy shipping. They continued a series of operations against coastal and shipping targets and pamphlet dropping during the winter of 1939/40. Amongst these was the costly attack on the German Fleet in the Schillig Roads and Wilhelmshaven, from which only one Wellington, of the six dispatched returned safely.

In February 1940, No. 214 Squadron moved to Stradishall and a New Zealand Squadron was formed at Feltwell. This became No. 75 Squadron and remained on the Station until August 1942.


BRAND NEW HARROWS AT BRAND NEW FELTWELL EARLY 1937
SOURCE & great feltwell site :http://www.garlandp.freeserve.co.uk/


RECOLLECTIONS OF BILL MARSHALL - FELTWELL / METHWOLD:

In 1939-40 Bill recalls that some aircraft were dispersed into the area behind the old mill on the other side of the Wilton Road. In addition he remembers being part of a detail to chop down some trees on the Old Methwold Road so that the planes could be dispersed properly in that area. At the time Lord Haw-Haw ** broadcast that the "Wellingtons were hiding in the trees."

No. 37 was dispersed to Methwold, not `working from'. Bill recalls a "train load of bombs being pulled by tractor up to Methwold. These were loaded onto a Wellington but it was too heavy to take off, the wheels had sunk into the ground!" Consequently Wellingtons did not fly out of Methwold whilst 37 squadron was there. This was experiment number one. Experiment number two involved loading a Wellington with bombs in a pit to minimise the risk of damage to other planes should something go wrong with the loading. Sixteen 250lb bombs were loaded but no available tractor was strong enough to pull the plane up the slope of the pit! No other choice existed but to load the planes on the airfield where they stood. This led to an accident in 1940. In Bill's words, "seven aircraft were bombed up for a Saturday night raid. Unfortunately an armourer pulled the pin of a photoflash bomb and all seven planes were damaged in the resulting explosion. The pilot of the plane was a Jock Watts. He was more upset by the loss of his mascot, a pair of boxing gloves, than by the loss of his plane."
SOURCE: http://www.feltwellnorfolk.freeserve.co.uk/written/raf_feltwell__some_amendments.htm



RAF Feltwell letter, 3 Jan 1940
Feltwell, postmarked 9:15am January 3, 1940 ( 03/01/1940 )
Barely a month later the 214 moved to Stradishall.

RECOLLECTIONS OF WILLIAM WALKER - FELTWELL / METHWOLD:
"One night at Methwold, during circuits and bumps, my mate asked the CO for a flip. This was granted, and after a while we received a message from the skipper stating undercarriage trouble. No light on when lowered. We had to get all the vehicles with their lights on, plus everyone with a torch holding these aloft, while the Wimpy flew overhead in order to get an idea of what was wrong. It soon became apparent that only one leg was down, and after several attempts to lower the other one a decision had to be made whether to bale out. The CO reminded the instructor that in addition to a trainee crew, he also had a passenger, one of the tradesmen. The pilot offered to make a landing on one wheel if the remainder and the CO agreed. Everyone agreed, after several abortive attempts down he came making a perfect one wheel landing, stayed upright until she lost power, then down on one wing, the props dug into the ground, she spun around and never caught fire. My mate was an overnight hero, and the CO took him and all of the crew to the officers mess at Feltwell for a drink. It was a very skillful landing by the pilot, I don't remember whether or not he was decorated."

"Another incident that occurred at Methwold happened right at the side of me. I don't know whether it was reported in the Squadron history, but I am sure that it would be on the police records. For several nights the air gunners had been complaining that after firing a few rounds the belts were broken. Of course the armouries were blamed but it carried on. This particular night we were warming our hands around a fire, when there was a loud crack of a rifle being fired. We didn't take much notice, because there was a heck of a lot of poachers in these woods. However a soldier came running out of the woods screaming "I've shot my mate". We tried to calm him down and asked him to show us. He took us to where his mate was half in and half out of a rear turret on a Wimpy. He was in a bad way, and we carried him into the COs tent, Squadron Leader Thompson, who put him in his car to take to hospital, but he died on the way. Never did find out what had happened, but everyone hazarded a guess."


For more info on Feltwell check out:
Great Feltwell site http://www.feltwellnorfolk.freeserve.co.uk/
Also check out http://www.lake-ms.eu.odedodea.edu/HTML/raffelt.htm

** LORD HAW HAW. American born William Joyce lived in England from 1921. In 1933 he joined the British Union of Fascists led by Sir Oswald Mosley. Attracted by Hitler's ideology, he moved to Germany in 1939 and began broadcasting Nazi propaganda from a Berlin radio station. British troops dubbed him Lord Haw Haw after a statement by Professor Arthur Lloyd James of London University, an authority on English language pronunciation, who said that he thought some BBC announcers were too 'haw, haw' in their diction. William Joyce was convicted of treason at the Old Bailey in London and hanged on January 3, 1946 ( 03/01/1946 ).

Stradishall

RAF Stradishall in Suffolk, was one of 20 bases ordered constructed by the RAF in 1935 in response to the growing concerns over German actions and military buildup. The station officially opened on February 3, 1938 as part of 3 Group under Group Captain J.H. Herring, DSO, MC. The first official flight from the base took place on March 4, 1938 by Captain Herring in a Miles Magistar. The station was first occupied by 9 Squadron with Heyfords, and 148 Squadron with Wellesleys, immediately following which 148 received Heyfords and Ansons. Later that year in September 1938, the Munich crisis had Stradishall on full alert with Berlin its tentative target in the event of war.

In early 1939 9 Squadron left to be replaced by the Wellingtons and Ansons of 75 Squadron, they themselves later moved on leaving Stradishall vacant from September to October 1939. After a brief period of Blenheim 1F fighters, Wellington bombers returned on February 8, 1940 with 214 Squadron, "the Federated Malay States Squadron". The 214 became very much the home squadron of Stradishall during the war. They were later joined on the base by 138 Squadron who flew many sorties from November 1941 to March 1942 with Whitley bombers. Stradishall also saw enemy action, with one of the hangers suffering enemy bomb damage in early 1941.

William Walker states that sometime in 1941 a large draft of 214 Personnel received a posting overseas.

In April 1942 214 Squadron converted to Stirlings and 109 Squadron arrived in Wellingtons, followed by Oxfords of 1521 BAT Flight. 214 Squadron left Stradishall in October 1942. In May 1943 Stradishall controlled Ridgewell and Chedburgh and in December 1944 186 Squadron arrived with Lancasters from Tuddenham and operated from here until they disbanded in July 1945.

After the war Stradishall left 3 Group and passed to 48 Group Transport Command and in August 1945 Number 51 and 158 Squadrons arrived in Stirling CV's and these flew until March 1946 when 51 Squadron received Yorks. In September 1946 Stradishall reverted to 3 Group with five squadrons of Lancasters being based here until February 1949.

In the end, it would remain an active station for better than 30 years. The site is now home to HM Prison High Point, but the village itself remains little changed since the war.
Numerous sources, edited and compiled by me. CREDITS: http://www.stedmundsbury.gov.uk/rafhist.htm
Shiela Bryne- (Peter Scott)

Stradishall, Postmarked 20 Dec 1941
Room 3, Block F


RECOLLECTIONS OF WILLIAM WALKER - STRADISHALL:

"We moved over to Stradishall still as 3 FTS, and after awhile became 214 FMS Squadron and became operational. I am sure that they were the first Squadron to fly to Berlin".

"Another incident connected with 214 whilst at Stradishall, was during takeoff for operations. One of the Wellingtons fully bombed, etc. must have veered to the right as he took off and his undercarriage clipped the hangar. We were standing outside the end of the hangar when the Wellington came down right in front of us. There was ammo and everything going off, two of the crew were in the fuselage screaming. Everyone was held back by the fire and exploding ammo, and the CO ordered everyone to keep back. However, our crew friend, who was a professional boxer we called Tosh said "if your prepared to stand there, I'm not", and with that he dragged the only man alive out and cut off his clothing with his jackknife. With that the padre, who was on the spot dragged out a non-survivor. For that the padre received the George Cross and it was in all the papers with this photo and citation. I had a copy of this up until recently. Poor old posh never got a mention. We held a protest meeting, but it was obvious that the reason he didn't get an award was because he gave someone a piece of his mind, plus of course, his lower rank".

NOTE: The aircraft that crashed was piloted by Sgt Humphrey John Drummond Smiles DFC, and ocurred in January 1941. He survived the crash. The Padre mentioned was S/Ldr Harrison .

"A further incident happened to me in 40/41which I am sure must be in the Squadron records. I was in the hangar one foggy day when the air raid warning red went. I was looking out of the window when to my astonishment (more like fright ) a German aircraft came out of the fog right in front of me to get his bearings. When he realized he was above a runway he pulled back into the fog, and this is where fate steps in. As he pulled back into the fog, a Hampden bomber coming back from a raid came out of the fog to get his bearings. I watched and was actually shouting, according to my mate "pull back, pull back", because I had seen four spitfires, one from each quarter of the drome obviously after the Jerry. They attacked this poor old Hampton line astern and when they realized their mistake they were off. You can't blame them for the incident, because both planes were almost identical. The poor old Hampton came belly down on the grass, I ran out, climbed underneath, opened the door and got everything in my lap. The Hampton was placed in one of the hangars, and from that day on we had nothing but bad luck. A few days later we got our first big air raid and the hangar with the Hampton in it got hit. There were butterfly antipersonnel bombs going off all over the place every time an engine from a lorry or something else started up. The incident is of course, history. It was also a recorded fact that one of the navigators from one of the raiding planes came right down and threw a map of our drome at Stradishall out of the cockpit window during the raid".

The following is an extract from the Stradishall Flying Control Book :

AIR 14 / 2530
RAF Stradishall Flying Control Book

Date & Time
From
Text
Action


0005
MARCH 31ST 1942 “BINE”

“Q” light off
0845
Group
Confirming “G” figures - 12 a/c 13 crews
0930
Gp
No operations today. All a/c to be made serviceable for tomorrow
CO - Int. Met OC214 -
1040
GP
Beacon broadcast
1445
214Sq
X Country: Z/214 Sgt Hamilton. Base 1500-Peterboro' - Lincoln- Peterborough - Kings Lynn -Thetford- landing Base 1630 (Landed 1728.)
All green. OK
1550
109 Sq
Not operating tonight.
Gp. BC
1845
Q Site
Reported OK
_
1930
Beacon
Reported Told to stand by
_
2030
Q lights
On
2110
--“---
Off

0630

Control
1st April 1942 GOLD
Blenheim L9273 night flying from Cranfield landed 0630 - returning today - Cranfield informed
Cranfield spoken to. Control Gp informed
0145
LONDON
ARP MP
Have detained AC2 Miller 1236092 of Strad. Request escort
Passed all details to Adjutant
0930
3 Group
Broadcast - 2 Group have 3 Mosquitos flying East Anglia at 30,000 ft from 10.00 to 1300 hrs. photographing aerodromes
G.O.R. OC 214 Now Defence C.O.
1010
Group
D/214 over Wells VCDM 0258
RC OC 214 CO
1011
OC214
D/214 in hangar. No a/c out
Group
1040
Group
Modified operation “line-shoot”. Bomb load:
Maximum 500 GP. 2 T.I, 2 N.I. 1 Ldelay rem 025
Int. OC214 CO
1105
Group
Amended bomb load. Max 500 G.P. I N.I. 1 LD rem 025 a/c not to go further E. than Wurzburg
Arm
CO
1120
109 Sq
2 a/c on ops tonight
Group CO BC
1155
Group
Beacon broadcast
Navigator
1200
Group
Operation : “Modified Lineshoot”. Routes may be decided by Sqn but all defended areas such as Frankfurt and Bad Nauheim are to be avoided. Times over target early as possible.
a/c to proceed to LOHR (30m ESE HANAU) avoiding defended areas.
a/c are then to pick up railway line & fly West towards HANAU carrying out low flying attack on any rail traffic encountered using bomb fused N.I.
Long delay bomb to be dropped anywhere on permanent way between LOHR and HANAU.
On arrival at HANAU following target to be attacked with remaining bombs :- Road and rail bridges crossing River MAIN ½ mile West of marshalling yards.
Should weather be u/s for low flying attacks on targets detailed alternative targets are any railway lines and rail traffic in Germany.
1220
OC214
Prelim sortie inf at briefing time (1730)
Group
-“ -
Briefing 1730
CO and all crews
1225
OC214
Sortie information
Group RC
1255
Met
Squall warning Gusts up to 50 mph
RC Nkt
1256
Group
Crews when briefed to be reminded when low flying and meeting other a/c to turn to stbd. Feltwell a/c will be flying right hand side of railway
Inf
1330
Grp
Will we spread out E.T.A. from 22 30 to 23 30
Adj 214 Jwt
1435
Grp
Bombs. Delayed action to be delayed not less than 3 hrs: owing to fact other a/c making attack after ours
C.O. Arm.
1515
Grp
No “J” beams, Coastal homing beacon is 140 ?Mag Cranesford
Sigs.
1545
Grp
Instruct Blenheim 69273 from Cranfield to return
R.C.
1555
Waterbeach
1 Stirling 19 45 till 22 15 `B' 99 Sqd
NKt
1600
R C
Blenheim owing to engine trouble unable to return today to Cranfield
Cranfield
1655
R C
Beacon required from 19 45
1656
214 Sqd 109 Sqd
Sortie information passed to Grp
R C & Grp
1915
Wtbeach
Stirling flying at Newmarket 2045 till 2315 instead of previous times given
Nkt
1925
Wtbeach
Night flying scrubbed
Nkt
1930
Beacon
Instructed to flash from 1945
1945
Beacon
Flashing
2005
OAC
Aircraft “G”/214 airborne
2007
---“--
“ “C”/214 “
2014
“
“ “A”/214 “
2015
“
“ “E”/214 “(Z1156 Sgt A Ferguson
2017
“
“ “H”/214
2019
“
“ “F”/214
2030
“
“ “Z”/214
2036
“
“ “X”/214
2041
“
“O”/214
2045
“
“ “P”/214
2053
“
“ “W”/214
2056
“
“ “S”/214
2058
“
“ “Q”/214
2101
“
“ “T”/214
2113
“
“ “X”/109
2120
“
“ “E”/109
2351
“
“ T/214 landed - hit by flak
APRIL 2ND , 1942 “FLAKE”
0027
“
“ X/109 landed
0156
“
“ E/109 “
0237
“
“ A/214 “
0258
“
“ C/214 “
0323
“
“ X/214 “
0330
“
“ S/214 “
0358
“
G/214 “
0417
“
W/214 “
0700
“
A/C E,F,H,Z,O,P and Q -all 214 - failed to return
0715
“
AOC would like to know:-
types of flak encountered
Any particular spot where flak was encountered heavily and unexpectedly
Heights of a/c when attacked and heights at which they were briefed to attack.
Spot where G/C Boyles a/c was heavily engaged.
S.I.O.
0740
S.I.O.
Replies to above:-
Mannheim area, 2320 hours, 2,500', intense light, firing along S/L which held a/c for 20 mins. A/C specially reported that he flew 400 miles without a shot being fired until Mannheim was reached.
S/Ldr Carr, Lezout, 0202 hours, 500'. Light, from ship one mile off shore. Directed by single blue S/L in shore.
Mainz, 2007 hours, 1,200', machine and Lewis guns, not very effective.
Average bombing height 1,200'
Controller 3 Group
0800
3 Group
What was average height along route to target?
S.I.O.replied: Very low, less than 3,000'-4,000'.
General opinion expressed that trouble was caused by a/c straying off recommended route and becoming engaged in defended area, map reading difficulties accentuating this “straying off”, together with low altitude and high wind.
S.I.O.

3 Group

3 Group
0915
Grp.
When G/Capt Boyle is available, ask him to ring the AOC
0920
Grp.
AOC spoke to G/Capt Boyle
0935
Grp
“Goodwood” figures are required for tonight. Feltwell & Stradishall AOC does not require those crews that operated last night but would like you to do what you can
Adj 214 CO
0940
Adj 214
No crews available who did not, operate last night but can give figures later of those crews if specially required.
Controller
1000
Grp
Crews that were on last night not needed (No Ops)
Adj 214, CO, Met
1120
109 Sqd
2 a/c operating tonight
CO,Grp, RC Met
1200
Grp
Beacons. 1 Grp Astor, Hope, Sneezy, x Sugar, Oates, Snooks. 2 Grp: Emu, Bustard, Partridge, Rook, Jackdaw. 3 Grp Rich, Sailor, Beggar, Tailor, Baker, Goose, Chaffinch Wren x
`J' beams etc
Nav.




Sigs
1600
NMkt
Night flying tonight at Newmarket consisting of Stirlings from Waterbeach . 12 a/c Waterbeach `B' 2000 to 2230 and 2 Lysanders from Gravely

RC

2000
Q site
Reported OK
2030
RC
Beacon to flash 2045 till cancelled
Beacon
2045
Beacon
Flashing
2104
R C
E/109 airborne 2103
Group
2107
RC
X/109 airborne 2106
Group
2154
DF
X/109 QAA 2207
Group, RC S/L Sigs
2214
RC
X/109 landed 2214 (failure of special equipment)
Group, S/L Sigs
2255
Nkt
Finished night flying
RC
0137
RC
E/109 landed 0136
Group


3 April PLAYERS
4 April WEIGHTS Sid Avent Xcountry P214 1046 - 1330
1108 Grp not calling on Stradishall for operations
5 April CRAVEN Freshman target
6 April FIRE 9 operating gales.
7 April TENDER 8 operating Searchlight used to help take off
8 April INK Nixey Xray 1000 - 1230
9 April
0500 AOC Broadcast to all Station Commanders. “The percentage of `returned earlies' on a/c with technical failures during target operations after one days. Complete stand down from all ops reflects very gravely on the maintenance staff and organisation of station. The large proportion amongst the Flight Commanders is noticeable and gives rise to the apprehension that air crews and maintenance crews are not cooperating as fully as desirable. I wish SC to give this matter their personal attention.

Flying Control Book SOURCE: Harry Ward's son Harvey Ward

Oulton

SOURCE: Bob Bennett, son of Sgt Robert Bennett Sr.

The Memorial is located on the site of the former Oulton airfield.

Oulton started life as one of the hastily acquired satellite landing grounds on which aircraft from a main station could be dispersed to lessen the risk of loss through air attack. In this case the main station was Horsham St Faith.
The site to the east of the B 1149 Norwich to Holt road,which lay largely in the parish of Oulton Street, had been requisitioned earlier that year and the majority of the aircrews were initially accommodated in civilian property, including the historic Blickling Hall.
No. 114 conducted its operations from Oulton until March 1941 when it was sent to Thornaby to aid Coastal Command, seven of the squadron's Blenheims failing to return from operations while at the airfield.
No. 2 Group then moved No. 18 Squadron's Blenheims to Oulton from Great Massingham in April 1941 and out to Horsham St Faith in July. No. 18 returned in November for a few weeks before returning once more to Horsham St Faith.
In December, No. 139 Squadron appeared with Lockheed Hudsons on which it trained before being shipped to the Far East. The Hudsons lingered on at Oulton for a while in the hands of No. 1428 Flight that had been formed to provide conversion training.
During the summer of 1942, Oulton was loaned to Coastal Command, which placed a Beaufighter shipping strike squadron No. 236 on the station, which arrived in July, and stayed until September, when No. 2 Group transferred in the Bostons of No. 88 Squadron from Attlebridge. On the last day of October, a 250 pound high explosive bomb that had failed to release from a Boston during a sortie, exploded while being removed killing six ground crew . Only limited operations were undertaken during the winter of 1942-43 as the squadron was hampered by a shortage of aircraft. It was moved to Swanton Morley in March and its place at Oulton taken by No. 21 Squadron, which had to move from Methwold when that station was returned to No. 3 Group.
No. 21 conducted operations from Oulton until September by which time No. 2 Group came under the Second Tactical Air Force. No. 2 Group's airfields in Norfolk were then transferred to No. 3 Group control, Oulton being one although it never received any of that group's squadrons.
In September 1942, work began on bringing the airfield up to Class A standard. This involved closing the Oulton Street to Cawston road across which the main runway was extended. The three runways were 12-30 at 2,000 yards and 07-25 and 17-35, both 1,400 yards long. The hardstanding consisted of 32 loop type and 11 pans. Three of the pans put down in earlier years on the south side near the old railway line were isolated and another four incorporated in the new bomb dump off the north-west side between runway heads 12 and 17. Two T2 hangars were on the technical site on the east side between runway heads 25 an 30 near Oulton Street. Another T2 was located between runway heads 30 and 35, and a fourth T2 north of runway head 12 near the Manor House. Two of these T2s were for housing gliders.
Prestige & Co Ltd were involved in the construction of buildings. The early camp was around Blickling Hall where there were four domestic sites, but additional sites - three domestic, a communal and sick quarters - were located nearer the east side of the airfield. Total accommodation was provided for 1,782 personnel male and female.
Oulton was re-opened in May 1944 under No. 100 Group, No. 214 Squadron was moved in from Sculthorpe, which was closing for major reconstruction. No. 214 was one of the few RAF squadrons equipped with Fortress aircraft, this type chosen for its deep bomb-bay capable of taking special equipment necessary for radio counter-measure operations, and for a while the squadron tutored a USAAF provisional squadron at Oulton in this role.
In August 1944 No. 223 Squadron re-formed at Oulton to fly Liberators with Mandrel electronic detection equipment, and thereafter both squadrons continued RCM activities until the end of the war. A total of 56 Bomber Command aircraft were lost flying in operations from Oulton: 34 Blenheims, two Bostons, a Ventura, 16 Fortresses and three Liberators. No. 100 Group's presence at Oulton came to an end in late July 1945 when both the resident squadrons were disbanded. Later that year the station came under No. 274 Maintenance Unit's administration and was another site for the collection of surplus Mosquitos. By 1948 the RAF had departed and the road between Cawston and Oulton Street was reopened. As with most old raf stations, much of the land was reclaimed for agriculture, however, the runways remained and were used for locating poultry houses.

Source: Martin Alford (nephew of Donald Alford)

Also see http://www.arxitecture.org.uk/lh5.htm

Source: Leslie Barker (nephew of Leslie Hadder)


Blickling Hall
Album contains 30 photographs - last updated 29 July 2010
Blickling Hall


Pictures kindly provided by Shaun Broaders and John Edwards


Chedburgh

A suitable location for a satellite station for Stradishall was found near Chedburgh, some six miles south of Bury St Edmunds. Work on constructing a Class A heavy bomber airfield commenced here during the first nine months of 1942.Major building work was carried out by John Laing and Son ltd.It was provided with the standard three concrete runways and a perimeter track, around which were 34 pan and 2 loop hardstandings. Initially only two steel hangars of the T2 type were erected, but a third B1 type was added in 1943 to enable easier servicing of the large bombers Later two more B1 hangers were added for glider storage. A bomb dump was built towards Rede village, with the technical site on the north side of the airfield. Dispersed along the country lanes further to the west, were the many Nissen huts and messes etc, that could accommodate over 1,800 personnel (male and female). The station was taken over by No.3 Group, Bomber Command on the 7th of September 1942. On the 1st of October, No.214 Squadron moved in from the parent station, complete with around twenty Short Stirling, four-engined heavy bombers. Unfortunately the Stirling aircraft was a poor performer; therefore it suffered heavy losses due to it having to fly lower than the other types.During its fourteen months at chedburgh, the squadron lost more than 50 stirlings on operations and in crashes This shortcoming led to them being withdrawn from front line bombing in late 1943, when they were relegated to mine laying. However, prior to this decision, part of the squadron broke away and helped to form a new bomber squadron (No.620) on the 17th of June 1943. From the above date onwards, both squadrons participated on normal night bombing missions, even though their losses were usually higher than their Lancaster equipped counterparts. On the 23rd of November 1943, No.620 was withdrawn from the bomber role and transferred to Leicester East to become involved with the Airborne Forces, where their Stirlings were used to tow large gliders. On the 10th of December 1943, the resident No.214 Squadron also departed as a new role had already been decided for Chedburgh, when it became involved with the training of new bomber crews for No.3 Group. For this task No. 1653 Heavy Conversion Unit had already formed here on the 21st of November, although it was late December 1943 before the unit was up to strength of 30 aircraft, and ready for training to commence. As previously mentioned, the role of this type of unit was to train new crews who had recently completed their training on twin-engined Wellington aircraft at an Operational Training Unit, but now needed to be trained to operate the four-engined heavy bomber. Up to this point there had only been five in a crew, but now an extra air gunner and a flight engineer joined them. The discarded Stirlings were relegated to this training role, both at Stradishall and its other satellite at Wratting Common. On 27th November 1944, No.3 Group decided to move this training commitment further to the west, consequently No.1653 Heavy Converstion Unit departed to North Luffenham. Chedburgh then returned to being an operational bomber station, when on the 5th of December 1944, No.218 Squadron arrived from Methwold. Fortunately they had converted from Stirlings to Lancasters in the previous August, so they were fully operational on the type, so immediately entered into bombing missions several times per week, weather permitting. At the end of the war, 218 squadron and their lancasters were used for taking food over to the Netherlands, as well as bringing P.O.Ws back to England. Bomber Command strength was being drastically reduced after the war, which led to No.218 Squadron being disbanded here on the 10th of August 1945. Transport Command then took over Chedburgh, as they still had a requirement for airfields that could house transport squadrons engaged in uplifting troops and materials, to and from Europe. During the first week of September 1945 two Polish manned squadrons arrived (Nos.301 and 304), equipped with Warwick aircraft, which had been converted to carry troops and equipment. Transport flights to Italy, Norway and Greece were performed regularly until April 1946. During hostilities 83 bombers were lost flying from Chedburgh , 71 being stirlings and the other 12 being lancasters. The station was handed over to the clearance party to rid it of all the equipment and stores, after which it was still held in reserve by the Air Ministry. Local farmers were given permission to cultivate the landing area, but the runways had to be kept clear. This continued to be the case until October 1952 when the entire site was sold. Today the technical site is used for various civilian businesses. Most of the perimeter track is still there, however, most of the runways were dug up to be used as hardcore.The majority of the rest of the bomber station has been returned to agriculture. Source: Martin Alford (nephew of Donald Alford)

The following website is also very interesting to view

http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand



NOTE:
If anyone cares to research and write a short history on any of the other 214 bases or add to the existing ones for this page, it would be gratefully received with the author properly acknowledged and credited.

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