Short history of RAF Honington



Short history of RAF Honington


From 1955 with Canberra, 1957 with Valiant then Victor to 1969 with Buccaneer wing and the 1980s with Tornado.

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The station again became fully operational in February 1955 with the arrival of 15, 44 and 57 Squadrons from Cottesmore with Canberras and later 10 Sqn. ex Scampton. These four squadrons remained until the end of 1956 when they moved out or disabled to make way for part of the V-Bomber force which had started to form at Honinghton in November 1956; the first being No. 7 Sqn. with Valiants. It was about this time that the station provided some of the aircraft to take par in the Suez operation.

On 1st January 1957 a further Valiant squadron arrived – this time 90 Sqn. (which during the war was based at nearby Tuddenham with Stirlings and Lancasters) and for a short period 199 Sqn. was also at Honington. No. 57 Sqn. was reformed here in January 1959 as the first of the Victor squadrons at Honington – to replace the Valiants, which were found to have structural defects – followed in September 1960 by 55 Sqn. with Victor B-1a’s. Throughout the ‘60’s the Victors remained at Honington.

Despite the frequent threats of closure, Honington has so far survived as one of the few remaining operational stations in our area. Since October 1969 the U.K. Buccaneer Wing has been accommodates at Honington, comprising 12, 208, 216 and 809 (FAA) Squadron (which was shore-based at Honington from Ark Royal), besides 237 O.C.U. which as dome Hunter T.7 and T.8 aircraft in additional to Buccaneer S.2’s. On 23rd March 1970 51, 58 and 543 Squadron took up temporary residence while their own airfield – Wyton – was having a “face-lift”. 51 Sqn. flew Canberra B.6 and Comet C.2R aircraft in the photographic –reconnaissance role until it disables at Honington on 30th September 1970. 543 Sqn. was the only unit to fly the Victor SR.2 strategic-reconnaissance aircraft in the RAF, the squadron returned to Wyton on 1st October 1970. From April 1971 to April 1972 204 Squadron was based here with Shackleton MR.2 Phase 3 maritime reconnaissance aircraft, the unit being responsible for the search and rescue coverage of the U.K. With the scrapping of Ark Royal, 8 (FAA) Squadron was disbanded. In late 1980 216 Squadron disbanded and 12 Squadron started to move north, leaving 208 Squadron and 237 OCU as the resident units. By Mid 1981 the first of the Tornadoes should start arriving and will eventually replace the


“Short history of RAF Honington,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 1, 2023,

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