Did you know?"
The Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust (ABCT), would not have been born were it not for a holiday during founder Kenneth’s Bannerman’s childhood and a chance encounter with Langham Airfield in 1973.
|Also known as:||Langham Aerodrome / RAF Langham|
|Current Status:||Farmland / Heritage site|
|Date:||1940 - November 1958|
|Current Use:||Limited flying|
|Used By:||RAF / Civil / US|
Langham opened during 1940 as a satellite airfield for Bircham Newton – aircraft from there initially often dispersed at Langham, while Flights of No 1 Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit notably resided here until towards the end of 1942 to provide vital target-towing facilities for army firing camps at Stiffkey.
Langham became an independent RAF station in July 1942 but then reverted to Care & Maintenance the following November for extensive redevelopment, receiving three concrete runways and numerous other facilities.
The airfield reopened in February 1944, seeing considerable success during April-October of that year as Bristol Beaufighters of Nos 455 and 489 Squadrons formed a Strike Wing to mount anti-shipping operations over the North Sea amid frequently ferocious fighting. Vickers Wellingtons of Nos 524 and 612 Squadrons subsequently attacked German E-boats at night until the end of the Second World War.
Also late on in the Second World War, and for a while afterwards, Langham became noteworthy for meteorological reconnaissance duties as 521 Squadron flew a wide variety of aircraft from elderly Gloster Gladiator biplanes to Boeing B-17 Fortresses between October 1944 and November 1945.
The airfield closed to flying in May 1946 but was used by a Technical Training School for the Royal Netherlands Air Force, being reduced again to Care & Maintenance status in September 1947.
However, Langham reopened between March 1953 and November 1958 for Beaufighter and Mosquito target towers of No 2 Civilian Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit, importantly assisting Army firing camps by towing drogues for gunners to aim at; some jet-engined de Havilland Vampires also appeared towards the end of this period.
There was also limited American military use during the 1950s as U.S. Army radio-controlled model aircraft were used here, again for gunnery practice.
Langham Airfield was eventually sold in October 1961, after serving as a very basic Emergency Landing Ground for Sculthorpe, and bought by Bernard Matthews for use as a turkey farm.
Evidence of the airfield is still fairly tangible today, with the runways, perimeter track and control tower still existing; the Dome Trainer on the east side is one of the best known individual airfield buildings in Britain and is now listed. For more information on the Dome Trainer see: https://langhamdome.org/
The following organisations are either based at, use and/or have at least potentially significant connections with the airfield (as at 01/09/2011):
- Bernard Matthews Farms Ltd
- Binham and Cockthorpe Parish Council
- Kelling Model Flying Club
- Langham Parish Council
- Morston Parish Council
- North Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust
- St. Andrew and St Mary Church, Langham
- The Bluebell
Main unit(s) present:
- No 1 AACU 'K' Flight
- No 1 AACU 'M' Flight
- No 2 Anti-Aircraft Practice Camp
- No 2 APC
- No 2 CAACU
- No 24 ACHU
- No 254 Sqn
- No 280 Sqn
- No 407 Sqn
- No 455 Sqn
- No 489 Sqn
- No 521 Sqn
- No 524 Sqn
- No 612 Sqn
- No 819 Sqn
- No 827 Sqn
- No 1402 Met Flight
- No 1561 Met Flight
- No 1562 Met Flight
- No 1611 (AAC) Flight
- No 1612 (AAC) Flight
- No 1626 (AAC) Flight
- No 2705 Sqn RAF Regiment
- No 2731 Sqn RAF Regiment
- No 2765 Sqn RAF Regiment
- No 2776 Sqn RAF Regiment
- No 2802 Sqn RAF Regiment
- No 2809 Sqn RAF Regiment
- No 2820 Sqn RAF Regiment
- No 2848 Sqn RAF Regiment
- Coastal Command Fighter Affiliation Training Unit
Photographs and video from the unveiling of the ABCT memorial marker on 26 February 2011:
Aerial footage of Langham. Courtesy of MalcolmSpringett