Monday, 20 August 2012

RAF Folkingham

I told you yesterday about the airfield that we visited or tried to.  After some investigation we have found out that it is, or rather was, RAF Folkingham.  Seems that it is now known locally as the Digger Graveyard!

RAF Folkingham was an air station from the second World War.  It was built in stages on a convex hill top by the British RAF.  The initial use of the site began in 1940 when it was set up as a decoy for RAF Spitalgate. The intention was to make it look like a real airfield so that it would draw aerial attacks which might otherwise have been made on active stations.  It worked.  It attracted the attention of the Luftwaffe on at least 3 occasions.

However, early in 1943 the instruction was given to actually build a proper airfield to class "A" standard. This took nearly a year and during that time it was allocated to be lent to the US army air force, troop carrier command. 

Vital statistics:  The main runway was 6,000 feet long with two 4,200 feet  auxiliaries, aligned 01-1.9, 07-25 and 13-31 respectively.  There were 50 hardstands all loop type and all, including the runways, were made of concrete.  There were two T-2 type hangars and scattered domestic accommodation to cater for 2,189 people.  All of this was built by Bovis Ltd.

From 1959 to 1963 Thor intercontinental ballistic missiles were set up as a deterrent in case the USSR was to threaten a war.  The base was finally closed in August 1963.

Today it is a very different place.  The runway and loop hardstands have become home to literally 1000's of diggers, tractors, Lorrys and other heavy machinery which have been laid to rest there.  It is a grave yard.

We have found the above information from the net.  I have put it into my own words.   We have no idea, so far, who owns the land today and indeed who owns all of those vehicles.  There is also the unanswered question as to why they were put there and by who?  How did they get there?  It is extremely interesting.  

Simon has been doing some more investigating this evening and has discovered that there are even more there than we thought.  The airfield itself is surrounded by woods.  Woods that are open access.  Those woods are also full of old decaying vehicles.  Lots of diggers and tractors.

When we went the other day we parked our car by the entrance to the woods and blocking a bridle way was this:  

We never imagined that the woods would be full of such things.  It is totally bizarre and a little spooky.  I wonder why they have just been left there?  They must be worth a fortune in scrap metal value.

Simon and Sam are intending to go and have a proper look around.  Simon is going to go over on his bike in the week to take another look.  I know it says private but it seems clear that people have visited as there are photos on the net.  I can't see what the harm would be.  Apparently it is donkeys years since anyone has actually been prosecuted for trespass in the UK!

A funny thing.... I can remember as a child seeing those signs that  said " trespassers will be prosecuted".  They used to scare me.  I didn't really know what they meant but some how I thought it meant that you would be killed!  Maybe I thought prosecute was like execute!  I  didn't know the meanings of the words!

If we find out anymore I will let you know.  If you are really interested you can see it quite clearly on Google Earth.


  1. oh wow, just my kind of place, abandoned airfield and machinery : ) looks like I need to pay a visit for my photography project

  2. That reminded me of my brother-in-law's diary for 1944. "June 9: Left Bobyinton this morning at 7:00 for the 390th Bomb Group. Arrived at Framlingham at 7:30 p.m. As usual, it was cold and raining." He noted several times the cold, rainy weather -- apparently that hasn't changed in the last 70 years, Jilly!! I think he meant Boynton, not Bobyinton -- which would be interesting because there is an English Boynton in David's natural line -- William Boynton born about 1600, supposedly in Wintringham, Knapton, East Riding, Yorkshire, England. I never have checked to see if that is a valid location. Maybe when I get to visit there!


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