Unit History: RAF Honington
Construction of Honington airfield began in 1935, and the facility was opened on 3 May 1937. Squadrons of RAF Bomber Command using the airfield prior to World War II were:
No. 77 Squadron RAF (Hawker Harts and Vickers Wellesleys) (July 1937 - July 1938)
No. 102 Squadron RAF (Handley Page Heyford) (July 1937 - July 1938) - Moved to RAF Driffield
No. 75 Squadron RAF (Harrow and Wellington) (July 1938 - July 1939) - Moved to RAF Stradishall.
No. 215 Squadron RAF(Harrow and Wellington) (July 1938 - July 1938) - - Moved to RAF Bassingbourn.
IX Squadron (Wellington Mk Is, later changing to Mk lAs.) (4 September 1939 - 1940).
IX Squadron flew the first RAF bombing raid of World War II on 4 September 1939 flying a mission against the Kriegsmarine in the Baltic resulting in the loss of two Wellingtons. The squadron lost 79 Wellingtons flying from Honington before moving to RAF Waddington.
In July 1940, No. 311 (Czech) Squadron RAF formed at Honnington with Wellingtons, later moving to RAF East Wretham in November 1940.
The Luftwaffe made several attacks on the airfield one of which killed about twenty airmen who were crossing the old parade ground on their way to tea. Another bomb demolished part of Barrack Block 76, which has since been rebuilt sometime between 1993 and 1996.
In 1941, a Junkers Ju 88 was shot down by ground fire from Honington. The aircraft crashed at the east end of D Hangar.
Then, in May of that year, a Wellington returning from a night trip attempted to land at Honington with its wheels retracted. It skidded to one side and crashed into the main bomb dump where it burst into flames. Group Captain J. A. Gray and Squadron Leader J. A. McCarthy, the station medical officer, were the first on the scene of the crash. Both entered the burning aircraft in an attempt to rescue the crew who were trapped and, between them, two crew-members were saved. For this gallantry, both officers were awarded the George Medal.
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