RAF Bodney – Norfolk

One of the great things about this website (that sounds egotistical, but I shall continue) is the amount of feedback I receive from visitors. Most leave memories of their times at the places I visit. Some leave compliments. And very very rarely I get tip-offs about locations. “Steve” left one such comment regarding RAF Bodney and sent a photo of the control tower there. I had a spare morning so decided to visit…

Wikipedia has a ton of info about the place, including an aerial photo showing two hangars. I missed those areas so don’t know if they’re still there.

Control tower

It was windowless, full of pigeons and swallows, didn’t smell..

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Underground battle HQ

It was flooded and I didn’t have good shoes with me, so I didn’t go in very far…

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Guard/pillbox

This seemed really tall!

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Bomb shelter

There was a dead deer in here.

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Some random buildings

There were some random buildings scattered around in the forests.

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34 Responses to RAF Bodney – Norfolk

  1. Diane says:

    Thanks for sharing pictures of a place I will probably never see in person. My 2nd cousin, Earl Abbott was a pilot with the 328th FS and was MIA on Jan 15, 1945. I wasn’t even born when he died but these pictures help me realize the stories I read about him and his stay at Bodney are real and I appreciate what he and all the members of 352 FG did to give me the kind of America I live in. Thank you.

  2. Trapper says:

    The 352nd Virtual Fighter Group is in the process of making airfields for IL-Sturmovik; and includes Bodney. Please visit and have a look @ http://352ndfg.com/smf/index.php?topic=1520.0
    For other RAF airfields in progress see http://352ndfg.com/smf/index.php?board=33.0

  3. andrew says:

    I learnt to drive on that airfield in 1968-69 with a great friend: Nora. Beautiful memories.

  4. andrew macvine says:

    Has anyone any memories of my mother Daphne vieusseux who was a driver at bodney in 1941-42 ?

  5. Lizzie says:

    Who owns this site now, as I thought it was still owned by the MOD? Is it possible to visit without permission? There is so much history to Bodney, it is a shame that a group hasn’t been set up to restore it as a musuem, like Thorpe Abbotts.

  6. Lizzie says:

    Who owns this site now, as I thought it was still owned by the MOD? Is it possible to visit without permission? There is so much history to Bodney, it is a shame that a group hasn’t been set up to restore it as a musuem, like Thorpe Abbotts.

  7. Joe Noah says:

    I have some photos taken at various times after the War: 1969 was my first visit. I will try to post a few.

  8. ted moore says:

    still no reply as to present ownership, can anybody help me ? am G7AIR, operator of G3/G7EUG and RAFARS member would like to operate portable AOTA statrion from here. Ted

  9. Pete, says:

    I’m glad to see other people enjoying this place as much as i have. Iv’e slept in the control tower on more than a few occasions. My father has written a series of books about airfields called ‘The military airfields of Britain’ which may be of interest to some of you. I am trying to find out how much it would be to purchase the Bodney site, to make a world war two museum. Any help on this matter would be very much appreciated. If we don’t look after these places no one else will.

  10. Jim says:

    The site is privately farmed but owned by MOD and is in regular use as part of STANTA training area. You trespass at your peril!

  11. mrs bale says:

    does anyone have any old pictures of the dancehall?

    • Bill Espie says:

      Yes I do Mrs Bale. I believe you are talking about the multi purpose building on the north site at Bodney but I will have to find them. Did you attend those dances? I would be very interested to know.

  12. Bill Espie says:

    As Jim says the site is owned by the MOD and you trespass at your peril. The control Tower is actually owned by the Bowes family, but of course the roads to the tower are owned by the MOD. It was my father who was in charge and helped to build this control tower, so I have an interest in the tower and all of the airfield as it used to be my playground when I was young. I’m an associate member of the 352nd FG association.

    • Les says:

      Bill, does your interest extend to wanting to see the tower renovated? I’ve visited the towers at Rougham and Thorpe Abbots recently and what they have done there is fantastic bearing in mind that they are volunteers.

      • Bill Espie says:

        Les, There is nothing more than I would love is to see the tower renovated. I had a rough estimate of £100,000 4years ago as the reed bars on the balcony need specialist work, I put it to the 352nd at one of there reunions but they seemed to think it was too expensive, which is a shame. I will have to go on hoping.

        I have just come back from a 352nd reunion in Orlando and there were 11 veterans including Bob Powell, Ray Mitchell and Don Bryan (Ace).

      • Les says:

        Bill, I’d be interested in talking to you further about the site, you obviously know quite a bit about it. Are you local to Watton?

      • Stuart Law says:

        My uncle (Lieutenant “Dickie” Law) may have been the only Englishman to fly with the 352/328 Fighter Group at Bodneyin July and August 1944, can any of the veterans be asked if they remember him?

      • Bill Espie says:

        Stuart, You need to get in touch with Bob Powell of the 352nd FG association he and your uncle were good friends and Bob often talked about him at the reunions. There was one other British pilot who flew with the 352nd and that was Ted King, who has passed away now, but he also knew your uncle. Contact me at: waspph@yahoo.co.uk

  13. Bill Espie says:

    Les, I live in Stevenage Hertfordshire but I do go to Norfolk a few times during the year and it would not be much of a problem to meet you in the very near future. Carol at the Windmill pub knows me and if you go there I have small a display of photos hanging up on the wall. I hope we can meet it would be good to talk to a fellow enthusiast.
    Can we exchange email addresses on this site?

  14. james says:

    In 1956 I spent a few weeks at Bodney North…I think it was,before being shipped out
    to invade Egypt with 1st Royal Scots.
    There were a handful of wartime nissen huts in the woods, cookhouse, & a jail with
    barred windows…..I spent a few days in there, for taking a few days ‘leave’.
    I have since tried to visit this site, but without success. Is it still there?
    We used to cross a few fields to visit the local pub at Little Cressingham (?)
    Any locals remember these days?

  15. Mike Stearns says:

    My father flew P-51s out of Bodney as a member of the 486th FS, 352nd FG. I am in the UK on business this week and would very much like to drive out to Bodney and visit the airfield. Do I require special permission to do so? And if so, whom do I call? Many thanks!

    • Les says:

      Hi Mike, I believe the tower is owned by a farm and the surrounding land by the Minstry of Defence. On the occasions that I have visited the tower I have not sought any permissions and have not encountered any problems. You can always plead ignorance and, given that your father flew from Bodney, I wouldn’t have thought anyone could begrudge you visiting.

  16. Bill Espie says:

    Mike, sorry I missed your note on this site, just have not looked for the last 3 weeks.
    When you are home contact Punhy Powell, Sam Sox or Marc Hamel and ask for my email address and phone number.
    When you come over next time perhaps we could meet up and I’ll take you there and hopefully show you around. I am the 352nd FG UK contact, perhaps we#ll meet next time?

  17. michael wilson says:

    Hi, I first “discovered” Bodney in 1970 while looking for old 8th AF bases. I was amazed, standing there on a warm autumn day, how tranquil and atmospheric the place was. It looked as if no one had done much since the last truck rolled out through the gate in 1945.
    I still visit when in the area, but I tread lightly It is an important memorial to those who served there, and who played no small part in the largest aerial confrontation in history.

  18. DAVID DALLISON says:

    I drove past Bodney on 25th April on my way home from Norwich ,and looked for some info when i got home,and found this site.Iam a member of the B-17 Preservation group(Sally B) and frequently visit Duxford,I have visited a few of the 8th AAF sites ,Deenethorpe,Grafton Underwood,Kings Cliffe and Polebrook and agree with previous comments that they are peaceful ,serene places,a bit different to 65 years ago!
    I hope to visit the 100th BG museum at Thorpe Abbotts soon and would be grateful if anyone could suggest any other sites and museums worth visiting nearby.

  19. mark says:

    i work for bowes farms who own bodney contol tower, and work the land around the area, i was looking round it today in my dinner break certainly many stories to be told and history there

    • Bill Espie says:

      Mark,
      Can I contact you? I am the contact for the 352nd Fighter Group in England and also my father helped to build the airfield in WWll, his first major project was the Tower that is just about standing. I lived in Great Cressingham until I was 8 1/2 years old, I will be in the area on Saturday morning 21st May.
      Can contact me at: waspph@yahoo.co.uk

      • mark says:

        i m sorry for the delaybill, havent been on here for while, will send you an email. at current steps to bunker are full of soil so couldnt go down had look round woods found foundations with a chimney still standing not sure what that was also possibly toilet block ???? few cubicals in a building near the tower also near what we call pil box at the side of the road did this you to be a petrol pump ? the building with a pit in it i think was the fire station found a few more bunkers near the tar mac pads wear the air craft were tetered down

  20. Meriel Bacigalupo ( nee Gittins, Harper) says:

    I would love to know more about my uncle, Pilot officer Courtney John Harper, from Cinco Saltos, Rio Negro Argentina, who volunteered to go to the second world war , I am not sure of his dates but he was born in July, probably 1918. All I know is that he belonged to the 82nd squadron in Bodney, Norfolk, and that he was shot down on a mission to Mazingarbe. Neither his Blenheim plane, nor his body were ever found presumed sunk in the English Channel. but I was informed that his name is commemorated on panel32 of the Runnymede Memorial.
    I live in Santiago Chile, and the Harpers in Argentina have not survived, except for a niece of Courtneys. But she has no further information either.
    Now with internet I am hoping that there may be some records I could consult….
    Hopefully
    Meriel

    • Bill says:

      Hi Meriel,
      I am more acquainted with the 352nd FG but I do have the RAF interest at Bodney at heart as well. Give me a bit of time and I will try to get some information for you. If you have any more information this would possibly help.

      • hi, i what i saw going past bodney on the 11-10-12 as i passed the old airfield there was a low mist over the field i saw someone walking in the field he wore what looked like flying jacket & gand flying boots and a base ball hat,i got out of my car went to have a better look he then went into the mist. and was gone,,,tony

    • Barry Elsdon says:

      Your email address please regarding 82sqdn

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