RAF Castle Camps

The airfield at Castle Camps was built in September 1939 and opened as a Debden satellite in June 1940. 85 Squadron and 111 Squadron had short periods there. 73 Squadron flew Hurricanes from Castle Camps in September, but there were no permanent structures, only tents to live in, and those squadrons left in November 1940 to convert to night flying. Castle Camps was exposed and windy and in 1941 some better facilities and operating runways were built. The original grass runways were replaced with tarmac runways by the end of 1941 and hard-standings were constructed as well. All Saints Church is in the upper left, with the village of Castle Camps in the upper right background.

 

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In 1942 the first Mosquito's started to assemble here in great secrecy for test flying with 157 Squadron until replaced in March 1943 by Number 605 Mosquito Squadron. In July 1943 Castle Camps became a satellite of North Weald and the Mosquito began to be used for intruder operations, and later for bomber support operations. Mosquito's left Castle Camps in October 1943. 527 Radar Calibration Squadron replaced them until February 1944 when Spitfires arrived, then Typhoons, then 486 Sqn RNZAF of Tempests, all leaving quickly. The Canadian 410 Squadron again flew Mosquito's from Castle Camps until April 1944. In July to October 1944, 68 Squadron's Mosquito's also arrived, and also those of 151 and 25 Squadron. In 1945 307 and 85 Squadrons flew from here, also in Mosquito's.

The following is a complete list of squadrons
85 Sqn Hurricane - 23/5/40-19/8/40 and 3/9/40-5/9/40
73 Sqn Hurricane - 5/9/40-6/11/40
157 Sqn Mosquito - 18/12/41-15/3/43
605 Sqn Mosquito - 15/3/43-6/10/43
456 Sqn RAAF Mosquito - 29/3/43-17/8/43
527 RCS Sqn Blenheim, Hurricane, Hornet, Moth - 15/6/43-28/2/44
91 Sqn Spitfire - 29/2/44-17/3/44
486 Sqn RNZAF Tempest - 13/3/44-21/3/44: 29/3/44-30/4/44
410 Sqn RCAF Mosquito - 30/12/43-29/4/44
68 Sqn Mosquito - 23/6/44-28/12/44
151 Sqn Mosquito - 8/10/44-19/11/44
25 Sqn Mosquito - 27/10/44-14/7/45
307 Sqn (Polish) Mosquito - 27/1/45-31/5/45

The stay of the 225th (probably one day, 1 March 1944) coincided with the tenure of the 527th Radar Coordination Squadron (who were at Castle Camps between 15 June 1943 and 28 February 1944). The station closed in January 1946 and is now agricultural land.

 

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The RAF airfield memorial at Castle Camps. Photo by Alan Hardy.

 

Tempest Squadrons at Castle Camps

Squadron Date Squadron Leader
486 13 March 44 - 21 March 44 S/L J. H. Iremonger
486 29 March 44 - 30 April 44 S/L J. H. Iremonger

 

 

 

Images:
Andy Noonan
Alan Hardy
Text:
Andy Noonan