A Grand New Book has been
written see note at bottom of page
and it shall be given to you,
and ye shall find,
and it shall be opened unto you ...
Was an important war time
airfield built on the higher flat land of Bexwell to the north of the
church and to the east of Downham Market from which the airfield took
its name . Some of it still remains today .
The airfield and buildings were constructed in 1941- 1942 as a
satellite station for RAF Marham and for the heavy Stirling bombers which were
unsuitable for the previous satellite station at Barton Bendish .
From the start it had concrete runways and dispersal areas .
The first squadron was 218 which arrived in August 1942 and was
initially involved in minelaying but later in night bombing duties over
Germany and Northern Italy.
It was during one raid over Turin that Flt Lt Aaron , wounded by
flak , managed to get his aircraft and crew to safety though he died
some little time afterwards, and he was awarded the VC for this action .
623 squadron was formed from C company of 218 squadron and they
were flying Stirling Mk lll from Bexwell from August 1943 and continued
the heavy bombing raids over Germany .
The Horsa gliders were stored at Bexwell for a time before they
were needed for the D Day landings in June 1944 .
214 squadron took over also on night bombing duties .
Then there was a lull between Jan and March 1944 when 635
squadron took over with their Lancaster Mk 1 and later Mk V1 which were
used for pathfinder duties over Germany .
In August 1944 Sq Ldr Bazalgette took off with his crew to bomb rocket
storage facilities in France when the aircraft was hit and set on fire.
Sq Ldr Bazalgette continued with the mission to mark the target accurately ,
and then the plane was crash landed and subsequently exploded killing
the remaining crew . Sq Ldr
Bazalgette was posthumously awarded a VC for this action..
The squadron was disbanded in Sept 1945 .
The final phase of the airfield was with the Mosquitos of 608
Squadron and they carried a huge number of sorties over industrial
targets in Germany until the end of the war .
All flying ceased by August 1946 and the station was
decommissioned in Sept .
It was finally sold in 1957 .
The present condition of the airfield shows it at the end of its
natural life , the concrete runways are almost gone, the small breeze
block buildings falling derelict and the main A runway was buried under
the new A 10 road to King`s Lynn many decades ago .........A wooden
memorial plaque to the two Victoria Cross holders stands on a grassed
area just off the lane to the church .
BEXWELL MEMORIAL : Battle of Britain . Sunday 16th
September , 10 am .
Here are some pictures of the
event that started at 10 am with the Royal Air Force Association acknowledging the
two Victoria Crosses awarded to RAF Bexwell ( Downham Market) servicemen , for
valour during World War 11 ..........at the VC memorial, St Mary`s Bexwell , on
A 1122. Then there was a nice parade at Downham Market War
Memorial which started close to 10.45 am
and Squadron pictures are the property of
Nanton Lancaster Society
I am with you always
unto the end of the world
BOOK - Link
Colin Coverdale`s new book on 635 Squadron at RAF Downham
Church St Mary's Church
RAF Airfield, Bexwell
Judith Grundy tel: 01366 383226
Site donated by Elizabeth
Website design by Percival
All graphics under copyrights 2007