RAF Swanton Morley

The former Royal Air Force Station Swanton Morley, more commonly known as RAF Swanton Morley, was a Royal Air Force station in Norfolk, England, located near to the village of Swanton Morley. The site is now occupied by the British Army, and is now known as Robertson Barracks.

RAF Swanton Morley
Near Swanton Morley, Norfolk in England
The entrance to former RAF Swanton Morley during 2014
RAF Swanton Morley
Location within Norfolk
Coordinates52.728°N 0.967°E / 52.728; 0.967
TypeRoyal Air Force flying station
Site information
OwnerMinistry of Defence
OperatorRoyal Air Force
Site history
Built1940 (1940)
In use1940–1995 (1995)
FateTransferred to British Army and became Robertson Barracks.


Swanton Morley was a new station planned under the RAF expansion scheme but not completed to the same standard before the start of the Second World War. It was part of No. 2 Group in Bomber Command until December 1944 when it was given over to 100 Group - the RAF unit responsible for countering German defences against the British strategic bombing - as they needed another airfield close to their HQ at Bylaugh Hall.

On 4 July 1942, American and British airmen took off from this station as part of the first combined bombing raid of World War II. No 226 Squadron had been tutoring the US 15 Bombardment Squadron. Both Winston Churchill and General Eisenhower were at RAF Swanton Morley for this mission, which saw six crews from 15th Bombardment Squadron fly a raid with six crews from the RAF, using Boston light bombers belonging to No. 226 Squadron RAF. The raid was made at low level against German airfields in the Netherlands.[1][2] During World War II the station was home to the Bomber Support Development Unit (BSDU) of No. 100 Group RAF.

After World War II the station was home to No 1 Air Signaller's School and later to the Central Servicing Development Establishment (CSDE) and the Maintenance Analysis and Computing Establishment (MACE).

From June 1953 to 1995 the station was also used by 611 Volunteer Gliding School, when the station was listed for closure under Options for Change.[3] The station held popular airshows during the 1980s.

The station closed on 6 September 1995. Control was transferred to the British Army and the station was renamed Robertson Barracks.[4][5]


The station was equipped with a grass surface airfield with three main runways, a perimeter track with 31 loop hardstandings, four T-type hangars, four blister hangars and one J-type hangar. The station was also equipped with a Watch Office with Met. Section, utility buildings and barracks for a total staff of 1,968 males and 390 females.[6][7]

Squadrons and other units

  • No. 105 Squadron RAF Blenheims, Mosquito (October 1940 - December 1941)
  • No. 88 Squadron RAF - March–August 1943
  • No. 152 Squadron RAF - (August - December 1941)
  • No. 226 Squadron RAF Blenheim, Boston, Mitchell (December 1941 - February 1944)
  • 15th Bombardment Squadron (US Eighth Air Force)
  • No. 1482 Flight RAF Bombing and Gunnery Flight
  • No. 1508 (Beam Approach Training) Flight RAF
  • No. 15 Blind Approach Training Flight RAF (September - October 1941)
  • No. 1515 (Beam Approach Training) Flight RAF (October 1941 - November 1943)
  • No. 4 Radio School, later named No. 1 Air Signallers, and Air Electronic School

See also


  1. 24 Hours Museum - WW2 Events
  2. HyperWar: The Army Air Force in WW2
  3. 611 VGS History Archived 23 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  4. March, Peter R. (1998). Brace by Wire to Fly-By-Wire – 80 Years of the Royal Air Force 1918–1998. RAF Fairford: Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund Enterprises. p. 164. ISBN 1-899808-06-X.
  5. "Future of mid Norfolk barracks secured, but Light Dragoons will leave Norfolk". edp24.co.uk. Archant.
  6. Control Towers - Swanton Morley
  7. Bomber Command - Swanton Morley Archived 8 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  1. Documentary on the first US/UK air raid of World War 2, flown from this station.
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