North Creake

Validation date: 13 04 2020
Updated on: Never
Views: 709


52°54′38″N  000°49′17″E

Runways:
01/19 - 1,315x50m/4,314x150ft - Concrete
04/22 - 1,720x50m/5,643x150ft - Concrete
13/31 - 1,315x50m/4,314x150ft - Concrete

North Creake airfield (also known as Royal Air Force Station North Creake or RAF North Creake) was a an airfield 170 kilometer north-northwest of London. 
In 1941 it originally saw use as a decoy airfield for RAF Docking, but construction as a Class A airfield began in October 1942 and was completed in 1943 during the most extensive period of British military engineering in history. This period saw the construction of hundreds of military airfields in order to accommodate not only the British, but also the American air force.


The planned runways plotted on an aerial photo of the site, ca. 1942 (171 Sqn: Norfolk's Secret Squadron, RAF Heraldy Trust

The station was provided with accommodation for close to 3,000 male and about 400 female staff. Addiotnally, the airfield had 36 'loop' type aircraft parkings, two T2 and one B1 hangar.
Initially the airfield was envisioned to be part of 2 Group, but in December 1943 the airfield was passed on to 100 Group of RAF's Bomber Command, although it did not immediately become operational with them. An upgrade the airfield to Very Heavy Bomber Standard was considered, but eventually RAF Sculthorpe was selected for upgrade instead.
199 Sqn Short Stirling III bombers arrived in May 1944 for 'Window' (chaff) and 'Mandrel' (jamming) operations against enemy radar tracking of Bomber Command raids. RAF North Creake became operational just in time for their first operation in support of the D-Day landings on the night of the 5th June. In September 1944, 199's 'C' Flight was used to re-form 171 Squadron, who contributed to 100 Group's radio counter-measures activities with Halifaxes. In March 1945 199's Stirlings were replaced by Handley Page Halifax III's.
Altogether, seventeen aircraft were lost during operations from this airfield; eight Stirling's and nine Halifax's.


The control tower, as photographed in 1945 by Sgt Norman Turnbull (via RAF North Creake)


Aerial photo taken from 15,000ft shortly after VE-Day: on the morning of 8 July 1945 (via Aviation Trails)


Disbandment of North Creake as an air station (199 and 171 Sqns had ended operational flying a week earlier) on 03 August 1945 (Alchetron)


RAF North Creake in 1946 (RAF North Creake)

After World War II was over, 171 Sqn halted operational flying on 27 July 1945, 199 Sqn would stop 2 days later. The airfield was disbanded as a unit on 3 August 1945 and put on Care and Maintenance in September. From then the airfield was used for storage and scrapping of aircraft, mostly de Havilland Mosquitoes, by 274 Maintenance Unit. The RAF sold off the station in 1947.

The runways of the former airfield were dug up and the site is now used for agriculture, although some evidence of its runways, buildings and facilities still remain.
The control tower survives, but was converted into a house, offering a vegetarian bed and breakfast since 2014.


The location of the airfield in 2019. The outlines of the airfield are still visible, but the runways have been removed and the center field has become the location of a solar farm (Google Earth)