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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


RAF Honington

In November 1956, Number 7 Squadron flew Valiants from Honington, and in 1957, 90 Squadron reformed with Valiants. As Honington became an important V-bomber base they were joined by 199 Squadron with more Valiants and Canberras equipped for electronic warfare. Numbers 55 and 57 Squadrons formed after 1959 to fly the newer Victors, but left for Marham in 1966.

Originally opened in 1937 as a bomber base, Honington is now the RAF Regiment Depot, the last aircraft leaving in 1993 when the Tornado Weapons Conversion Unit moved to Lossiemouth. No 2623 Sqn was formed in 1979 at RAF Honington, tasked with assisting with the gound defence to the station in time of war. The role of No 2623 Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment is to provide a sustainment capability to the RAF Ground based Air Defence (GBAD) Rapier Force.

In 1934, a major expansion of the role and size of the Royal Air Force began. In that year the whole of East Anglia had only four active military airfields, but Mildenhall was the first of many more. As Germany became seen as the threat the heavy bombers were to be based in Yorkshire, the closest location to Germany, East Anglia was to hold medium bombers, and light bombers would be based in France. So Heyfords were based in East Anglia , and Wellingtons arrived from November 1938 to join 3 Group. Throughout the war and into the 1960's 3 Group controlled the medium and heavy bomber sites in East Anglia, such as Marham, Stradishall, Mildenhall and Honington.

RAF Honington was started in 1935 and opened in 1937 in 3 Group with 77 Squadron Audaxes and Wellesleys and 102 Squadrons Heyfords. Number 75 Squadron came in 1938 with Harrows and converted to Wellingtons but moved to Stradishall in July 1939. It was replaced by Number 9 Squadron who stayed until September 1942 flying Wellingtons. On 26th February 1946, the base returned to the RAF when Transport Command flew Dakotas until 1949 when Bomber Command took over. From 1950 to 1956 94 Maintenance Unit was here and the long runway was built to replace the 1943 metal runway.

In 1955, Canberra bombers of XV, 44 and 57 Squadrons arrived. In 1956, these units bombed Egypt in the Suez crisis. From 1965 to 1969, the base was updated to fly the Buccaneer attack Squadrons of Strike Command with 12 Squadron and the Navy's 809 Squadron. In 1974, 208 Squadron was also formed to fly Buccaneers. Martel missiles were also based here in the late 70's and 809 Squadron left in 1978. RAF Honington received the Freedom of the Borough of Bury St Edmunds in 1972 recognising and fostering the close associations with the town since 1937 which had been first recognised when the town "adopted" the station in 1947. Honington went on to become home for Tornadoes until they moved to Marham.

In 1994, the RAF Regiment took up residence at Honington. Their battle role is to secure forward bases which can then be used by aircraft and to provide the necessary defence and security once acquired.




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Page last modified: 24-07-2011 04:50:38 ZULU