Airfield search

Swannington

Major
Also known as: Haveringland / RAF Swannington
County: Norfolk
Current Status: Farmland / Industry / Public road
Date: 1 April 1944 - November 1947
Current Use: Disused
Used By: RAF
Landing Surface Types: Paved

Swannington, built from late on in 1942, opened in April 1944. Locals from the nearest village - Haveringland - refer to Swannington today by this alternative title; the village sign for Haveringland also portrays a Mosquito.

Nos 85 and 157 Squadrons arrived with de Havilland Mosquito bomber support aircraft during the first week of May 1944. These two units immediately transferred to the RAF’s No 100 Group and were intended to intercept Luftwaffe night fighters while accompanying the main RAF bomber force, also intruding over German night fighter airfields and first going into action on the night of the D-Day invasion.

However, Nos 85 and 157 Squadrons suddenly had to send large detachments to West Malling in Kent from late July 1944 for over a month to combat the potentially massive threat from German V-1 missiles at night, destroying 70 of them in the process.

Once fully back at Swannington, both units resumed their primary bomber support duty and had shot down 71 enemy aircraft by the end of the Second World War. Luftwaffe intruders bombed the airfield on the night of 16/17 March 1945 in what proved to be one of the very last attacks upon a British airfield during the conflict.

No 85 Squadron moved to Castle Camps in June 1945, while No 157 Squadron disbanded at Swannington the following August.  

From October 1945 the airfield then became home to to No 274 Maintenance Unit, many Mosquitoes being either stored or scrapped here until both this unit and the airfield closed in November 1947. North Creake served as a Sub-Storage Site for the unit, along with Little Snoring.

Tentative plans to retain and upgrade the airfield for further post-war operational fighter RAF use came to nought and the site was sold in 1957.

Parts of the airfield (now agriculture, with some limited light industry as well) remain here and there today: sections of runways and perimeter track, the control tower and various support buildings; sections of the perimeter track also now serve as public roads.

The following organisations are either based at, use and/or have at least potentially significant connections with the airfield (as at 01/09/2011):

  • St. Peter's Church, Haveringland
  • Swannington with Alderford & Little Witchingham Parish Council

Main unit(s) present:

  • No 85 Sqn
  • No 157 Sqn
  • No 229 Sqn
  • No 274 MU
  • No 451 Sqn

Photographs from the unveiling of the ABCT marker on 27 February 2011:

undefined

undefined

undefined

undefined

undefined

undefined

South-west section of? 2006.JPG

South-west section of the perimeter track, 2006.

Access track on west side 2006.JPG

An access track on the west side of the airfield, 2006.

One of the few remaining? 2006.JPG

One of the remaining airfield buildings at Swannington, 2006.

North-eastern section of? 2006.JPG

North-eastern section of the perimeter track, 2006.

North-west side of perimeter 2006.JPG

North-western section of the perimeter track, 2006.

West side of 2,000 yards runway 14:7:06.JPG

The west side of the main runway, 14 July 2006.

geograph-4081829-by-Evelyn-Simak.jpg

The remains of the Watch Office at Swannington, 19 July 2014. © Evelyn Simak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

geograph-4081687-by-Evelyn-Simak.jpg
Brick-built water tower that adjoins a dilapidated Nissen hut on the former Communal site of RAF Swannington, 21 July 2014. © Evelyn Simak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
geograph-4081847-by-Evelyn-Simak.jpg

The interior of the Watch Office at Swannington, 21 July 2014. © Evelyn Simak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

geograph-4081837-by-Evelyn-Simak.jpg

The remains of the Watch Office at Swannington, 21 July 2014. © Evelyn Simak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

geograph-4081839-by-Evelyn-Simak.jpg

The interior of the Watch Office at Swannington, 21 July 2014. © Evelyn Simak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

A NHI H-3 Kolibrie at Swannington, 1959. Courtesy of British Pathé

Satellite(s):

Downham Market

Storage Sub-Site(s):

Little SnoringNorth CreakeOulton

© 2017 ABCT All rights reserved.
Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust is registered in England and Wales. Registered Office: Suite 1, 3rd Floor, 11-12 St. James Square, London, SW1Y 4LB.
Registered Company No. 08940364. Registered Charity No (England and Wales): 1156877. Registered Charity No (Scotland): SC041123