RAF West Raynham – Norfolk

RAF West Raynham is in Norfolk, near a town called Swaffham. It is seriously in the middle of nowhere, and was quite hard to find. It closed in 1994, and at the end of 2005 was put up for auction. There are loads of houses there and the local MP wants them to be used as residential housing again. This will be quite a task – 11 years of non-use have taken their toll.

I didn’t really look round the housing areas, instead concentrating my trip on the cool military stuff. That said, I didn’t manage to explore everything in the time I was there. There is a Bloodhound Missile launch site here (it was over the other side of the airfield) but I decided to leave when a scary dog started following me…

Control Towers

Two control towers are at RAF West Raynham. One is small…

  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 134
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 135

The other one is a “Very Heavy Bomber Station Control Tower” (that means it’s quite big). It was one of only four built in the UK. One has been demolished, and the other two are at active RAF bases.

  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 136
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 137
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 138
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 139
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 140
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 141
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 142
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 143
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 144
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 145

The windows in the observation area all had (place) names printed on them – presumably to identify directions. Or maybe the glazier was bored.

  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 151
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 152
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 153

This control tower also has a fire station.

  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 154
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 155
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 156

And some other bits in the building..

  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 146
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 147
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 148
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 149
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 150

Hangars

There were four huge C-type hangars here. I didn’t go into any of them..

  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 157
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 158
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 159

… but I did climb onto one though I must admit that it wasn’t the brightest thing I’ve ever done. Heights I can tolerate, but it’s the getting to the heights which is the problem – I’m not particularly good with ladders. Also, the walkways on the roof were stupidly rotten. Oh well, I’ve now been on the roof of a hanger. And the views were fantastic…

  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 160
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 161
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 162
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 163
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 164

Missile Training Simulator

This a Rapier Missile Training Simulator. Thanks everyone who has told me this

This was a treat. I’ve never really seen one of these before, let alone been inside one. I thought it would just be a big round room inside. It was. But the thing that struck me was how echo-ey it was – a tiny crack of my knee joint reverberated around the room many times. Turn on my camera – click click click click click….. Awesome.

  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 165
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 166
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 167

Water Towers

There are three water towers here, along with boiler rooms and stuff. It would’ve been possible to climb at least one, but I didn’t fancy it as the ladder was covered in pigeon crap.

  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 168
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 169
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 170
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 171

Accomodation

I mentioned that I didn’t look at the housing areas – that is true. But there were a few accomodation/mess blocks – I had a quick look at these (not in them though).

  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 172
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 173
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 174
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 175
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 176

Other buildings & bits

I had a look at a few other buildings, but couldn’t really get into many.

  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 177
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 178
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 179
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 180
  • Thumbnail of RAF West Raynham - 181
This entry was posted in Military, norfolk and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

558 Responses to RAF West Raynham – Norfolk

  1. Robert Pilcher says:

    Eric,
    Is this a recording.

    • Eric says:

      Oh alright then..I,ll talk about you then

      There was this bloke called Pilcher Dundee who fought off 6 great whites with his billabong after his dingy capsized.He managed to throw his boomerang shoreward and it picked up a rope on the beach and brought it out to him………..After sitting on the beach boring a 100 surfers to death with his tale he set off with his faithful dingo to climb Ayers Rock before he had his barbie

  2. Paul Lloyd says:

    A good tale is always hearing twice

  3. roy briggs says:

    With reference to Vic Tyrrell’s comments of 3rd January.
    I was stationed at West Raynham as a national serviceman between 1958 to 1960 working on GCA. Therefore I saw many of the aircraft during that period.
    I think the aerobatic pilot you refer to was FLT LT Goodwin, prior to arriving at Raynham he had been the top aerobatic pilot in 2nd TAF Germany.
    Do you also remember the hunter pilot who didn’t take off and ending up in the mud at the end of the runway. When the recovery team tried to extract it, they pulled off the wings.

    Regards,

    Roy Briggs

  4. Robert Pilcher says:

    Eric,
    A billabong is not a man’s appendage. It is a water hole, swimming hole. Keep on taking what ever you are on.

  5. roy briggs says:

    Ken Tyrrell,
    Just a little up date of my previous note to you.
    The aerobatic pilot you referred to was FLT LT Ken Goodwin, he was apparently an excellent pilot and his career was very successful in that his final rank in the RAF was Air Commodore. I am reasonably sure that he wrote a book of his RAF experiences, but as yet, I haven’t discovered the title. I hope this helps with your memories.

    Regards,

    Roy Briggs

    • bob baxter says:

      Hello Roy,I was stationed at West Raynham 1959-62,your name rings a bell,were you billeted with GEF and safety equipment bods.

      • roy briggs says:

        Hello Bob,
        Sorry I missed your note of July 9th. I was in billet number 37 which housed most of the signals section. The only way I got to know some of the other trades was through the station football team which I enjoyed from 1958 to 1960. I particularly recall a tall lad from the cookhouse who played during that time named Smith, he also played for Norwich City.
        The other player I recall as I should do as he also came from Kettering His name was Barry Underwood and he worked in the Air Traffic Control . To be honest after over fifty years it is very difficult to remember names, if you have names that you think I may also know, I would be pleased to hear from you.

        Regards,

        Roy Briggs

      • bob baxter says:

        Hi Roy,
        I think I got it wrong, I wasn’t billeted with signals guys,
        as you say remembering names from over 50 years ago
        isn’t easy!Anyway all the best to you
        Regards,
        Bob Baxter.

  6. Anthony(Tony)Hill says:

    Hi I was stationed @ W/R 1960-1962 and am reminded by Vic Tyrrells contribution that I was on duty (CRASH 3) on the day that “the fitter” sent the ejection seat through the javelin cockpit, the fitters name was Willdig, in S.S.Q we all heard the bang, and leapt to action stations expecting to be directed to an aircaft prang, but were directed to the hanger. I and Sgt Armes (did Whisky One mis-spell his name), along with medic Doug Aspel, arrived to find the casualty lying by the aircraft, with shocked “erks” standing around in dazed disbelief, the seat had sheared his face off completely. We took him to S.S.Q where he was attended by Flt Lt Ian Hourston, and then Sgt Armes and I took him to R.A.F.Ely hopital, hard to believe he survived, but he did, however I never saw him again and assumed he had been medically discharged.By the way Whiskyone, do you remember how the sarge dealt with boils?.We had good times, great memories, keep up the good work chaps Tony.

    • WHISKEYONE says:

      Dear Tony, I had left WR in 1958 and only knew Sgt Armes for some six months so I guess that the Grey Matter is deteriorating a bit by now. Never did need Sgt Armes services to cure a boil but I guess his method induced some pain. Vic Tyrrells mention of Bullards and Steward and Pattison and the Old Sampson and Hercules in Norwich brought back some splendid memories of carefree days when you could go out with a couple of Pounds in your pocket and have a great night. Fitter Willdig must have needed the skills of the surgeon at East Grinstead hospital, Sir Archibald MacIndo the WW2 skin graft specialist who saved many a pilot who had come down in a blazing aircraft cockpit. Although you never heard from him after the event I hope he was able to live an almost normal life despite such appalling injuries.

      Best Wishes Cheers JOHN

      • Anthony(Tony) Hill says:

        Hello Whiskyone, Some revolutioary medical services were administered during my time at W/R. the treatment for boils( one never hears of or sees them anymore) was to wait for them to “ripen”, at which point Sgt Armes would imerse a whisky bottle in the sterilising bath, when judged hot enough the neck of the bottle was placed over the boil which then sucked it out cleanly amidst a lot of screaming and cussing. The other important medical attention, which was administered by S.M.O.Flt Lt Hourston, was the cure for demob party hangovers of which there were many, due to national service, The next morning we would stand in an orderly queue outside the operating theatre, and recieve a single gulp of neat oxygen –
        it seemed to work!!! They were good times. Tony.

      • WHISKEYONE says:

        Dear Tony, Thanks for that. Certainly revolutionary.
        As I expected it did involve pain but I have never heard of a hot whiskey bottle being used to such good effect. During square bashing in 1956 whilst at Bridgnorth I had a boil develop in my left stomach, right underneath my webbing belt. The Medical Officer used what was then a relatively new procedure, Sterile water into a sealed bottle containing an antibiotic. Resultant solution sucked into the syringe and , having a long, rather thick needle, threw it into my thigh, like a dart and then pumped in the solution to do its work. I had another two days of agony but after that it diminished quickly.
        Had the oxygen treatment myself so can vouch for its success.
        As you rightly say, Good Times which seemed carefree
        and very happy unless you got posted to either Korea, Malaysia or Cyprus.

        Keep your pecker up. Cheers JOHN

  7. Anthony(Tony)Hill says:

    Whiskyone,Hi John,No I was posted to Gan in the Maldive Islands(well someone had to do it!!!) If interested go to Phil Smalls” R.A.F. Gan Remembered” site clic on photo galleries on the left hand side then scroll down to 1962 where you will find a contribution by me, and you my friend ,cheers Tony.

    • WHISKEYONE says:

      Dear Tony, Gan was a bit of a Gravy posting. You had good fortune to get there… well done. I, on the other hand, never left the U.K. Obviously no call for MTDH in Gan. Such is life. I’ll now have a peep at Phil Smalls site details and see what wall to wall sunshine is like. All the best and Cheers
      JOHN

      • WHISKEYONE says:

        Dear Tony, Excellent photo’s. Liked the sunset one as I know how difficult it can be to get the right combination of time and aperture. Did you manage to get onto the reunion too in 2010? Had a peek too at some of the other contributions on the RAF GAN website.. Excellent archive to look back on. Notice too that there was a significant MT presence in the island. Perhaps there may have been a place for me had I stayed longer. All the best. JOHN

        PS. You had a similar build to me when I joined the RAF in 1956. At 9 stone 10 lbs I was the original Charles Atlas weakling. After about the first year my mother did not recognise me when I got home for the first time, for I had put on a couple of stone.

  8. Anthony(Tony) Hill says:

    Hello again Whiskyone,John, Yes Gan did turn out to be a “gravy” posting, but at the time everyone dreaded it. As it turned out, it was the experience of a lifetime,and one I have never forgotten. Although called up for N/S, I signed on for five years whilst at W/R., never regretted either of those, yeah it did make a man of me I took an aircraft refueller course ,and wound up refuelling Comets, Britannia`s etc., on “The Island”. I was 6ft-1 and weighed ten stone seven so don`t talk to me about having sand kicked in your face!!! You spoke about h/d , well the nicest wheeled vehicle I ever had the pleasure of driving ,was a “Tugmaster” aircraft towing tug. and the most difficult, a ten ton Leyland Hippo with a ten ton Hands trailer hooked up behind(no assisted steering or braking, and a crash gearbox, so double declutching only) . There would have been a place for you in “paradise” if good fortune had smiled upon you,of course we were there at the pioneering stage , so everything was very relaxed, I didn`t make the re-union last year `cos I am a relative newcomer to computers and did`nt know about it `till late on at approaching 72 I doubt I will make the next one in 2020 B.R.Tony

    • WHISKEYONE says:

      Dear Tony, Sorry to hear that you missed the 2010 reunion on Gan. Judging by the trip itinerary everyone had a great time. Never had the benefit of driving a Tugmaster always used the Land Rover as I recall, even for the Javelins. The contract to build Gan and its infrastructure must have been a superb deal for Costain. The pictures of the accommodation blocks look good and a great improvement of the old ‘H’ Blocks at WR. Although I never had any complaints with my billet in 101, I think.

      Alll the best Cheers JOHN

  9. potsy says:

    my ol chap Ted ‘Hank’ Potton was stationed at Raynham in the late fifties early sixties as an Air Frame Fitter, well the old bugger turns 75 next year and i was wondering if there is any publication or memoirs or even anyone from that era who remembers him so i could surprise the ol sod.

    • Paul Lloyd says:

      There is a book called ‘Raynham Reflections’ by Wing Commander Taylor, which gives a brief history of the station. You need to keep checking ebay as they sell a copy now and again. There is also a thriving Facebook page (not allowed to do links) which contains quite a few photographs and a few memories. There are a series of photos on this page depicting an AOCs inspection from 1961(ish) He may be on it. email me for a link on apaullloyd at hotmail dot com

      • Paul Lloyd says:

        There currently a copy of Raynham Reflections for sale on ebay – 4 days left – £1.25

  10. Eric says:

    The camp was visited by the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret about 1948/1949.

    I was about 7 and didnt really have the understanding at that time that the war had only just ended……I was more focussed on when I would go collect another parcel from my aunt and grandparents in Scotland.I can remember the Walls ice cream from the NAFFI and as i,ve said before,the small bakers van coming in each day with the lovely smell of fresh bread………….those things were a big deal for me at the time

  11. Stuart May says:

    Hi All

    Sorry it’s been some time since I have posted on here.

    Sadly Jo & I no longer live at WR.

    We signed contracts at the beginning of March on a new house and a fresh start in Norwich.

    Should anyone wish to contact us please feel free to call 01603 74 74 75 or email treetunnel at bt internet dot com (email addresses don’t work on here!).

    Best Regards

    Stuart May

  12. never served at West Raynham in my 12 years in the RAF, left in 96, just wondering whats the situation with the camp now as i do a lot of photography and fancy getting up there to take some shots if there are still buildings to photograph

    Adrian

    • mark ward says:

      adrian
      the main camp is pretty much intact, you can get on the housing developments but the main camp is out of bounds unless you find nice man to have a chat with, even then they dont like you straying from the main road from parade sq to HQ, there are some private business’s using parts of the camp like stores

      had a ride past the missile site today, all the buildings now gone and just piles of crushed bricks, most of the HAS shelters gone too bar one or two, fence is still there though (to keep the sheep in?)

      plenty of sheep about and straw storage, I guess its good that some use is being made of it

  13. Robert Pilcher says:

    Hello all and a very Happy Easter. Eric, hope the Hot Cross Buns smell nice.
    Regards,
    Robert Pilcher
    Australia

  14. jamie says:

    hello all i was doing a bit of rerserch on the wr base and found this site
    being only 17 i cannot remember and was not around when the base was in use but it has uterly fasinated me since i have lived near it since just after i was born.

    would it be possible for some who were around when it was in use to get in touch as i would be fasinated to lern more about it and maybe evan get some photos of it in its prime of life rather than riding past on my bike looking at sheep haha

    any help would be much apresheated

    thankyou
    jamie

  15. Paul Lloyd says:

    There is a Facebook page Jamie with quite a few photos on – email me for a link, there is an address further up the page

  16. Josh NUTTALL says:

    being only 16, i only remember tiney parts of living their like the park with that tyre swing thing and when some one fell of a horse and the ambulance had to come. and the fate thing on the field. has the park been taken down because looking on google i carnt seem to find it anywhere.

  17. Connor says:

    Does anybody know what access to this place is like? is it easy to get into? guarded? much traffic going past it? or is it even still in this same state?

  18. Kevin (Spike) Andrews says:

    I was in the RAF Regt at W/R 66 Squadron 84 to 86 then back to the Rapier Training Unit 91 to demob in 92. On a recent trip to Norfolk i found the station but couldn’t get a look round. Thanks Mr (Security) Miserable Twat. Ours was the hanger furthest from the camp gate beside the Rapier Simulator, love a pound for every Missile I “Fired” in there. Many a time I staggered home from the Sports and Social club. Great little Station many great memories.

    • steve moore says:

      Hello spike me old mate
      its been along time since the sports & social at W/R and even longer since Uxbridge but i hope you are
      ok and keeping well. When i got out in 92 i never went home to south London i moved to a village in
      Lincolnshire called maltby le marsh near alford coz the mrs was from the near there and she was also
      posted to Conningsby air traffic and we stayed together until 96 sept time and got devorced but we stayed friends and she left the Raf about 3yrs ago after 30years and now she lives not far from W/R
      and is the county field officer for Norfolk RBL welfare and is living with mick scarrot and i am now
      living in Grimsby north east lincs. Once a month we have a rocks get together in the rafa at cleethorpes we about 20ex rocks living in the arear so it varies who turns up each month, do you remember Gary roberts at QCS ? he is here as well & runs his own auto repair & MOT garage .
      I found your message on the W/R site today 29/11/11 and your message was put on in june so i hope
      you get this message at some point and it would be great to get back in contact. p111swm@live.co.uk
      regards Steve m

  19. k Peter Stuebs says:

    was at wr 1953-56 lived in last house facing runway. witnessed great crash on runway 55. went to school from there in Fakenham.
    Also nice to see x Gan people on site, i was on the first BP Tanker ever to bring av-gas to u guys. went ashore with ten shillings and came back totally p…….ed and still had seven and six pence. Those were the days. All the very best to one and all = Peter

    • Rob Carter says:

      Hi, i would like to make contact with anyone serving at West Raynham during 1954 – 55 when the Naval Air Fighting Development Unit were using four Westland Wyvern aircraft for trials. I have had an interest in the Wyvern for over twenty years and any memories or loan of photos would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

  20. Ted Doulton says:

    I was at W.R. 53to 55 the best times of my life,well until i got married that is, of all the reports i have seen no one has mentioned the sally ann how long did it last and what happend to the mark 22 Spitfire on the main gate, i got posted to Middle Wallop from W.R. what a sham.

  21. colm connolly says:

    My cousin, Pilot Sergeant Pat McKenny, and his Blenheim crew were lost on a night raid on a German airfield at Leeuwarden, Holland, after taking off from West Raynham on 24th April, 1942. No trace of the aircraft, No V5458, or the crew, Sgt James McIntyre and Sgt Joseph Lewis, was ever found. It is thought they were shot down by German night fighters or anti-aircraft fire over the Dutch coast.

    • Paul Lloyd says:

      The Mission you mentioned, from the WR War Diary
      “24-04-42
      25-04-42
      01.15 to 04.51 hours. Four Blenheim IVs, (V6265 ‘G’, V6264 ‘X’, V5458 ‘O’ & Z6161 ‘T’)
      of 114 Squadron, were detailed to attack Leeuwarden aerodrome. Two aircraft dropped
      two 250lb GP, and sixteen 40lb bombs on the NE and NW corners of the target, which
      was unlit at the time of the attack at 00.21 and 03.00 hours from 6,000 and 4,000ft
      respectively. One aircraft bombed on the illuminated lighting system with two 250lb GP
      (one fused at half an hour delay), and sixteen 40lb bombs at 03.24 hours from 4,000ft.,
      One aircraft is missing: V5458 ‘O’ – Sgt McKenny, Sgt McIntyre and Sgt Lewis.”

  22. Annette Thompson says:

    How nice to see all the pictures. My Dad was stationed at RAF West Raynham until we were posted to Cyprus in 1960. I have many happy memories of living there. Went a few years ago with a friend but security would not let us in because of the unsafe state of the buildings. Was very disappointed as I was not asking to go in the buildings, just have a walk around the camp to see how much I could remember. Does anyone remember the old Airfield School that all us kids went to? You walked through the camp to the guardroom and barrier pole, then crossed the road walking down to the bottom and the school was over on the right. The RAF servicemen used to do duty there to get the kids safely across the road. Happy memories also of RAF Bircham Newton which is where we were stationed prior to West Raynham.

  23. boots says:

    i was at west raynham,,rtu then 66,,,,cant belive the sports bar looks like that

  24. Roy Briggs says:

    A few years ago we mentioned about a Javelin Mk 5 XA 648 which crashed near to East Rudham railway station. Recently, whilst reading the history of RAF Coltishall I noted that on the 4th March 1944 at 0118 hours that a lancaster NG325/CA-H of 189 squadron dived into the ground near to East Rudham railway station, all the crew were killed.

  25. Laura says:

    Hi everyone. Can I just say how inspirational and amazing it is looking at these pictures and reading all of your stories. My family for as far as I can remember have been in the army and my father has been caretaker at many different sites. I am really fascinated with stuff like this, so was just wondering if it is possible to have a look round? I am presuming it must be possible as people have pics? Any info would be greatly appreciated.

  26. Shalom Solomon says:

    Hi, does anyone know who I could contact about use of this site, mainly the airfield for a weekend paintball event, I am having difficulty in finding anyone to contact or make contact with, is this still being guarded? Is it being used by local farmers? Who actually owns this still? Is it still the RAF? Or MOD? If anyone can help me please reply. Many thanks.

    • Roy Briggs says:

      Shalom,
      The owner has recently been rendered bankrupt, therefore the chances are that the camp is now owned by the bank who originally backed the previous owner. It is very difficult to advise you who to contact in this case.
      If you contact the shop on site they may be of help in that they must have an agreement to pay their rent.
      Ihope that this may be of use to you.

      Regards,

      Roy Briggs

      • Gus Honneker says:

        The Tech site and domestic site and all the officers and NCO quarters were purchased from the MOD by the Welbeck Estate Group ( http:www.welbeckestate.com ) in partnership with Hodge of Cardiff in 2006. The Welbeck Estate were approached in late 2007 to see if they would sell and then eventually the entire WR site including the MQs were sold to a Roger Gawn in 2008. I learnt that receivers representing the bank that financed Mr Gawn’s purchase in 2008 took over earlier this year but he was never made bankrupt. That is not simply not true.
        Great shame for WR as the Welbeck Estate Group tried to buy the entire site unsuccessfully in the mid 1990s but it was allowed to decline because if they had done so earlier it undoubtedly would have seen a happier outcome.

  27. Steve says:

    I paid a visit to WR this afternoon, this was my first posting in 72 (100 Sqn), found our old married quarter, at least some of the old quarters are now refurbished and in use, couldnt get on to the tech site though, many happy memories came back. Liked looking at the pictures..

  28. Carl Smith says:

    Posted to WR in ’87 into MSF, I was L Tech AR and there seemed to be a load of my trade posted on to Bloodhound due to the Tornado program not going as the RAF would like. Spent 4 years in MSF and despite the work feeling less like the RAF and more like a factory, we had a real good time. All the pictures bring back some good memories, especially SAS club – spent many a Sunday afternoon getting completely wrecked in there. Went back to Norfolk couple of years ago and visited the station, was able to get onto AMQs and OMQs without any problems, AMQs were in the process of being refurbed ready to sell, found my old quarter on Felbrigg Walk – still same kitchen that we left over 10 years ago – made us chuckle. OMQs were completely wrecked – not been refurbed as yet but still up for sale. Station looks really sad, overgrown and neglected, still remember the runway being used as a massive missile park when all missiles were brought back to WR for dismantling, sad to see that the the MOTE has been flattened just a pile of bricks now, oh well that’s the price of progress I suppose. Good memories!!

  29. Colin Mabbs says:

    Hi What a shame about the state WR is in. This was my first posting after training and had about 10months there, doing a job I did not train for (typical RAF). I did something called ‘Cine Assessing’ of dog fights by the course pilots. This is way back in 1962, then the whole DFCS moved to Binbrook, me with them for about another 6 months or so. There is a booklet called “Raynham Reflections”, a short history of RAF West Raynham, by Wing Commander WJ Taylor. You or others may find it interesting,if you can find a copy that is (Publishers: Services Publishing Services (SPS), Chapel Lane, Corby, orthants, NN17 1AX (tel.: 0536 204262), that is if they still exist. Plenty of photos etc . The little ‘Nissan hut’ I worked in was between two hangers, slightly offset, wonder if its still there? All for now.

    • Roy Briggs says:

      Dear Colin,
      With reference to your comments of 18th April. I have a map of the airfield although it is nearer 2000 rather than 1962, therefore the uses of some buildings possibly changed during that period. Looking at the map the only hut shown is no.113 which is noted as ATC hut, which is next to the old ATC tower. There are two other buildings between the ATC hut and the armoury building one is numbered 534 the other is a workshop annex. I have tried to trace the publishers SPS, they are not at Corby, it looks as though they were going to move to Milton Keynes years ago but I can find no trace of them.
      I hope this helps you. Please note also there is a West Raynham site on Facebook which superceded this site a few years ago, you may find many other ex RAF of your period on that site who could be more precise.

      Regards,

      Roy Briggs

  30. Barry Collins says:

    Dear Colin

    Interested to read your comments re “Cine-Assessing”. WR was my first posting in 1961, left in 1963. Do you remember the Cpl who was i/c Mike De-Winter (Clk Stats). I worked in the old ATC tower which was Tech Records, and the hut that Roy refers to is the what was then built in 1962 as the “New Tech Records”. I remember the Cine-Assessing hut tucked away in the trees at the east end of DFCS hangar.
    First posting always remembered, regards Barry

  31. Mark Docking says:

    This was my posting back in 1988 to 66sqn left there in 92 for Honington to FSC OCU then onto JNBCR any one remember our trip to Bahrain in 90

  32. Hans Nieukirk says:

    The technical and domestic site together with the NCO and Officers MQs at former RAF West Raynham were acquired from the Ministry of Defence by The Welbeck Estate Group in a partnership with another company in March 2006. In early 2008 the entire site and all MQs were sold to a Mr Gawn, a local based investor.
    From my research I have found that The Welbeck Estate Group are one of the predominant companies in former military housing and airfields having bought many ex MOD airfields and MQ sites over the past 30 years including Bomber Command HQ Bawtry, RAF Hemswell, Faldingworth, Manby, Middleton St George, Scampton, North Coates, Colerne, RNAS Eglington and RAF Ballykelly Northern Ireland, RAF Halton, Brize Norton, Brawdy, Cranwell and RN Chatham and RNAS Portland. I have discovered 40 large sites in total they have been involved. I was interested to find out whilst it was in their ownership the properties were well maintained and they had a policy of preservation and not demolition. Sadly it was not the case once they had moved off the sites.

  33. Tom Wright says:

    I was in charge of the Commcen 1968/1970. Sadly I returned with my wife 1967 and what a shock the place I remembered was long gone, but thats life I guess

  34. stephen holmes says:

    i was at west raynham as a cpl in station workshops from july 86 untill my discharge in jan91 i re visted once a year ago but could only get to the domestic area which is partly lived in partly in dillapidated condition. has anyone any idea if access to the technical areas is possible

    • Karen Hyde says:

      Hi yes,if you speak to Sam the security guard tel him karen put him on to you.
      He will sort something out for you.
      Don’t go into office as they will be in helpfull.

  35. James Foster says:

    Looking through some old photos on various sights and spotted my father one from 25 sqdn and another 85 sqdn, you mentioned more names welcome. In the group photo MSF in 1985, top middle just under the the dorsell fin wearing sunglasses, I believe at the time he was a Chief Tech John Foster.
    Sadly he passed away 1st March 1995 still in active service at RAF Henlow
    With many kind regards
    James Foster

    • Brian Burton says:

      I worked with your dad at RAF Newton, nice guy and sorry to hear of his passing.

    • Matt Harkness says:

      James, I remember your Dad, though I can’t remember whether it was from West Raynham or North Coates (I was at both, WR 85-88 and NC 88-90). I have to admit, I thought the person in the photo you are talking about was Mark Laws, assuming you are talking about the photo here:

  36. John Bolton says:

    James Foster, I remember your father (and your mother Olive) very well.

    We served on Bloodhound together at North Coates then again at Henlow and I had the great honour to attend his funeral service at the church at RAF Henlow.
    He was an amazing man and a genuinely positive influence in my life.

    I have very fond memories of our time at RAF North Coates, he was our ‘chief’ and his approach to the working day was very strick – start work at 8am – put the kettle on – have a brew then get to work – 10am another brew with a game of cards – 12noon to 1am , he went home to you and your mum so we got up to mischief. 3pm and another brew and a game of cards.

    James, he thought the world of you and your mum – you were his life.

    It was a very sad loss to to all who knew him – but made so much worse by the loss of your mum followed so closely by the loss of your father.

    Even though he was truly dedicated to his career in the RAF, his real dedication was to you and your mother Olive.

    He was a real inspiration to me and everyone who knew him.

    You should be very proud of him and his achievements in the RAF but mostly you should be very proud of how much a family man he was.

    My very best wishes to you

    John Bolton
    sianandjohn@hotmail.com

  37. Gus Honneker says:

    Hi Hans
    I read your comments about the Welbeck Group which is run by a really nice guy Roger Byron Collins whom I met at a 78 squadron reunion at RAF Breighton and the Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington lat year with his two sons. His father was a Master Navigator who was with the 78 and was shot down in his Halifax over southern Germany in early 1944 but was was of the few who survived. He explained he returned to the UK and served 40 years in the RAF mainly with Bomber/Strike Command. Roger explained he was a typical service brat and a mine of information as his father served at West Raynham and it gave him enormous pleasure that he had bought his father’s old base and likewise the MQs and tech site at nearby Sculthorpe.
    You may view his website at http://www.welbeckestate.com and look under ‘Management Profile and Projects’ also his love of aircraft comes under ‘Aviation’ He always replies to email from ex service folk. Gus

  38. i was stationed at west raynham for a year 1983 to 1984. i used to be tg11 but had to remuster to tg10 to get a pension – strange days !!

    this was my first posting as raf admin to the guardroom as a cpl, the sgt was laurie ellis who was a great guy

    from there i was posted to gutersloh and lastly to halton before being made redundant in 1996

  39. Mick Watts says:

    I was based at West Raynham, from 1973/5. I had been posted into blood hound support as a MT Driver. The time I spent on camp was ok but Fakenham and Swaffam had some good pubs. RAF Sculthorpe was open then and was an American air base. We would visit there at weekends for the entertainment, which was very good. I took Bloodhounds for live firing at Aberporth, it was a long drive but all part of my job. I also took rocket parts to be refurbished at BAE bristol. I enjoyed my time at Raynham even though it was boring at times. I still drive for a living and work for a major retail company. Hello to anyone that remembers me!.

  40. Fred Bartlett says:

    Any-one from the 50,s
    Eric Green from Brixton. London
    Tony Kidd,from Dartford Kent
    Big Ron from Bethnal green london
    Frank Garnham Essex way?
    All turbine fitters.at west Raynham during our two years national service.

  41. staff sgt bill howie says:

    seen the pics

    what a rotten waste as usual .

    why can the supposed powers that be get it together and keep these places intact
    and get them working again .

    we are supposed to be short of housing and small business premises etc , why can these not be used again and bring the place back to life ?

    anybody else think the same ? .

    ex raf 79 till present .

    • Mrs BusyBody says:

      If you google “The Kiptons” West Raynham, you will find a new website. The site is in the middle of being developed and a few residents are trying to keep the history alive! Could be worth a watch for the future!

  42. Brian Burton says:

    Took a drive round both sets of ex quarters a few months back. AMQ in reasonable shape with quite a few occupied. OMQ though has just a handful of houses being lived in, others are in a shocking state. A case of absolutely criminal neglect when we have so many homeless.

    • Gu s Honneker says:

      As ex USAF now living in East Anglia I have been interested in ex 8th AF and ex RAF sites. A couple of issues. In 2005 West Raynham was sold not by auction but by Defence Estates and their agents Drivers Jonas by means of a sealed tender. The selected and preferred bidder was the Welbeck Estate Group who incidentally bought RAF North Coates back in 1992. I have been following them for many years as they have specialised
      more or less exclusively in ex MOD sites and MQs. They have always maintained a ‘non demolition’ policy and take care to reintroduce sites back into active use. In the case of West Raynham they owned it for 2 years before they were given a chance to revitalise. The entire site was sold to local business man, Mr Gawn. Unfortunately after modernising a large number of the NCO quarters and the OMQs for sale and let the credit crunch came and sales proved very difficult for him and it went into administration in 2012 which is why so many are unoccupied – no buyers. If you are interested in other sites dealt with by Welbeck they have a website at http://www.welbeckestate.com and
      the people running it are from RAF families. Hope you find interesting.

  43. Frank Melhuish says:

    As a young Royal Navy engineer ,fresh out of training in 1950,I was sent to West Raynham to join the Naval Air Fighting Development Unit,we had an Airspeed Oxford for transport and Vampire jets,later to be replaced with Attacker aircraft,I spent over 2 years there and found it very enjoyable,the only RAF man I can remember was Charlie Chitil,a PTI,
    We sailed Dhingy’s at Brancaster and and that was the only sea I saw for a few years!
    My wife and I visited it about five years ago but was shown the door by a rat faced security guard who came from Hull,

  44. Frank Melhuish says:

    I would love to hear from anyone who I worked with ,

  45. Damon says:

    Having read the comments regarding the deterioration of west Raynham airbase I was shocked that the property is now owned by a Mr Gawn. If this is the property developer who currently owns the delapodated Melton Constable hall I sadly only see a very bleak future for the site. This is a man who can barely save a Grade 1 listed building let alone an entire airbase.

  46. christina green says:

    I moved as a new bride from 1976-1979 Had some real fond Memories, Does anyone remember cpl Malcolm Green, I took a drive back there about 10 yrs ago and was so shocked to see how it was left to ruin, I took my son with me, The security guard who greeted us wouldn’t let us get near the place..What a shame!

    • Brian Burton says:

      Hi Christina, although I always thought you were Tina. Mal and I worked over at the missile site. maybe you remember Dee, my missus. Did you live next to Lois and Kevin Mayes? I think I last saw Mal at Brize when we were getting a cheapo flight back to Cyprus about 1980, Mal was on gate guard.

  47. Clayton Pampuan says:

    Like a previous contributor Gus Honneker I am former US airforce retired in East Anglia. I have met Roger Gawn and I cannot understand Damon’s comments that he was shocked that he owned WR.- Why? He us a decent guy – an architect by profession, Sadly he acquired WR at the height of the property market and like the rest of the provincial UK prices have fallen dramatically. I hear from one of the security guys that Welbeck Group who owned it originally are trying to reacquire it.- so here is hoping. Clay

  48. David penney says:

    Hi. I used to live on WR and wandered if anyone remembered my dad, Corporal John Penney, R.A.F Police, late 80s early 90s??

  49. Mike Barratt says:

    Hi I was stationed at West Rayham from 1957 to 1959. I was a wireless mechanic attatched to station flight and looked after the Station commanders Canberra, we also had an Avro Anson, Meteor, Chipmunk and at that time we looked after the battle of Britain Spitfire. I remember cleaning and polishing it with Johnsons furniture polish would you believe. I also was responsible for driving the David Brown Tractor and had to tow the aircraft back and forwards to the hanger. I often marshalled in Prince Phillip when he came to stay at Sandringham, The station had squadrons of Hawker Hunters and Javelins and I did crash guard duty on the Javelin that crashed near the railway line at East Rudham, it had a flame out and came down in a sugar beet field if I remember correctly. It is a long time ago but I have some happy memories of WR and had I not been married I would have signed on as I really enjoyed my time there.
    Mike Barratt

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s