Record Details

NHER Number:2455
Type of record:Monument
Name:Downham Market World War Two airfield


A World War Two bomber airfield, used by pathfinder squadrons. It was used by civilian aircraft after the war, until most of the concrete runways were taken up for use in bypass construction. Some of the original buildings remain.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TF 632 041
Map Sheet:TF60SW

Full description

16 February 1977. Visit.
Downham Market airfield.
Mostly returned to arable land, but traces of some runways. New road crosses it and factories built on part. Council depot on south using some original buildings. Some huts and bunkers remain on east; a considerable number of buildings remain complete behind Bexwell church (which contains a memorial listing all the squadrons to use the airfield) and to southeast are substantial remains of concrete buildings.
E. Rose (NAU).

World War Two bomber airfield. Opened in 1941, from July 1942 it was home to Pathfinder bomber squadrons, flying Stirling bombers, and later, Lancasters and Mosquitoes. In sporadic civilian use after the War, until most of the concrete runways were taken up and used as hardcore for the Downham Market bypass in the late 1970s. Information from (S1).
P. Aldridge (NLA) 15 September 2005.

Proposed to establish reservoir here.
E. Rose (NAU).

Downham Market airfield (known locally as Bexwell) was built slowly in 1941 and 1942. In 1943 it acquired an unusual feature, Fog Intensive Dispersal Operation (FIDO), a system by which vapourised petrol was burnt alongside the main runway, lifting the fog and enabling take-off and landing in zero visibility conditions.
For further information on the operational history of the airfield and photographs of remaining buildings, see (S2).
A. Cattermole (NLA), 13 January 2010.

Monument Types

  • AMMUNITION DUMP (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • BLAST WALL (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • GUARDHOUSE (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MILITARY AIRFIELD (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MILITARY BUILDING (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TF6303 D,E.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. TF 6303G - H.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
<S1>Publication: Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum. 1987. Airfields of Norfolk and Suffolk.
<S2>Monograph: McKenzie, R.. 2004. Ghost Fields of Norfolk. pp 31-35.

Related records

63351Parent of: Remains of World War Two surface air raid shelter (Monument)

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