The squash court! Inside the old NAAFI The remains of a bomb store This housed the fire tenders Within the Control Tower complex What remains of the Control Tower

The western end of the 2000 yds long runway '10-28'

ROYAL AIR FORCE SWANNINGTON

The now disused Swannington airfield is situated 1 mile north of the village. It was built in 1943 and became operational on 1st April 1944 as part of the newly formed 100 Group.

It was home to 85 squadron, which arrived on 1st May 1944 and became operational on 29th August 1944; and to 157 squadron which arrived on 7th May 1944 and became operational on 28th August 1944. Both squadrons were equipped with Mosquito aircraft.

Their role was largely one of supporting Bomber Missions over enemy occupied territory. However, both squadrons were temporarily detached to West Malling in Kent in July and August 1944, to combat the growing menace of V1 'Doodlebugs'. They returned to Swannington to resume their 100 Group duties.

For a brief period during the winter of 1944-45, three squadrons of Spitfires were flown into Swannington for training and anti-V2 rocket launcher patrols in the Netherlands.

With the end of hostilities the Mosquitos moved on. On 27th June 1945, 85 squadron was transferred to Castle Camps, and on 16th August 1945 157 squadron was disbanded.

In October 1945 a Maintenance Unit from 41 Group occupied and used the base to store Mosquitos, but this unit was disbanded in November 1947.

Plans to modernize the base and bring in jet fighter squadrons were abandoned, and the airfield was sold off and returned to agricultural use.

Much of the runway concrete has been lifted, crunched and used for aggregate, but there is still plenty of evidence of the three runways and perimeter tracks, and several derelict buildings remain.

The coloured photographs were taken in 2000 & 2001

R GIBBONS © 2001