View Full Version : Wanted:- WWII RAF Grass Airfield

26th Mar 2010, 13:13

Can anyone suggest an airfield that can be used to represent an RAF Fighter Command Sector Station c. 1940?

Yes, it's for a film, and yes "what about computer generation", but it's a lot cheaper if the hangars etc. are really there.

I'm aware of Duxford of course, but I'd be grateful for any suggestions.


India Four Two
26th Mar 2010, 13:21
White Waltham?

26th Mar 2010, 13:26
Weston on the Green
Hinton in the Hedges

Tupperware Pilot
26th Mar 2010, 13:32
Bicester would be the best bet......has hangers control tower and is all grass....
might need to move a few gliders out of the way....!

26th Mar 2010, 13:32
Thanks for those suggestions.

I know W. Waltham and I've been to Hinton fairly recently. Not familiar with Enstone, I'll have to look it up.

My only encounter with Weston was falling out of things aviational while I was doing my short but scary time at Abingdon.

Thanks again for the suggestions, any more out there??

Thanks too T.P. I'll investigate Bicester as well.

26th Mar 2010, 14:06
South Cerney, Swanton Morley, Kirton-in-Lindsey, Halton, Spitalgate (Duxford,Hinton and Enstone all have hard runways)

26th Mar 2010, 14:27
Former RAF Newton near Nottingham.

26th Mar 2010, 15:00
Middle Wallop?? Upavon??

astir 8
26th Mar 2010, 15:42
Both Enstone & Hinton have hard runways & not much grass left. Bicester is I believe regarded as having some of the the best preserved pre-war tech buildings & hangars. Plus a nice grass airfield . There is a fair bit of gliding activity but maybe if enough money were offered..........!

26th Mar 2010, 16:02
Thank you all for your suggestions and information.

I have sent a list to the interested party, hopefully they will see the benefit of doing it in the right place. I will do my best to prevent yet another load of crap hitting the screens like a cow pat. That's technically of course - who knows what the script will be like........

Well done again Pprune

Bucaneer Bill
26th Mar 2010, 16:04
you mean hangars

26th Mar 2010, 16:13
Why do you need aircraft hangars??
Because they lose their shape if you hang them on a nail....

Hat, coat, door, taxi.....

26th Mar 2010, 16:15
Flyboys used RAF halton

Whispering Giant
26th Mar 2010, 16:45
Try South Cerney near Cirencester, or even RAF Hullavington which has both
hard and grass runways and lot's of hangerage.


midnight retired
26th Mar 2010, 18:16
You might also consider RAF Sealand which has a grass airfield and hangars, one of which was hit by the Lufwaffe, along with the SNCO'S Mess during WW2. Also there are some fine buildings,including the Officers Mess. The site is up for sale so not a lot going on to interfere with filming I would of thought.

26th Mar 2010, 18:22
Depends if you require just ground level static / taxiing shots, or actual t/o & landings, or aerial shots.

I'd have thought that concrete runways wouldn't necessarily be a problem for low ground level shots - judicious camera angles could make them disappear! Assuming the grass areas are OK for manoeuvring, of course.

Real flying almost certainly requires a working airfield.


26th Mar 2010, 19:27
RAF Henlow - Bedfordshire?

26th Mar 2010, 19:54
For my bet, you absolutely need to look at Bicester. It is the best preserved 1930s grass ex-RAF airfield on the planet.

26th Mar 2010, 20:12
As already suggested, Middle Wallop, complete with tower and hangars and possibly available on Sundays?

26th Mar 2010, 20:58
Thanks again to everyone who's answered here.

Don't worry, Bicester is at the top of the list for a visit.


Dan Winterland
27th Mar 2010, 03:31
Swanton Morley is quite photgenic. Has a perfect WW2 style control tower and some nice background scenery. Seem to remember it has the corrugated tin roof style hangars. Norfolk not having progressed much in the last 60 years, you could still imagine WW2 was still going on!

Some WW2 TV programme was filmed there in the 1980s. I recall some cardboard cutout Spitfires as background and Nigel Havers looking the epitome of a dashing RAF officer.

longer ron
27th Mar 2010, 05:28
South Cerney was used for the opening sequences in 'Piece of Cake' - looked great.

27th Mar 2010, 06:16
Some of the aviation scenes for 'Perfect Hero' was filmed at Swanton Morley.

27th Mar 2010, 09:06
It has changed somewhat so that the only runway is now North of the peritrack 09/27

Army barracks now.

Used to be the biggest grass airfield in Europe didn't it? ISTBC

Now a tank training course!

Google Image Result for http://www.norfolk-airfields.co.uk/images/swanton_46.jpg (http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://www.norfolk-airfields.co.uk/images/swanton_46.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.norfolk-airfields.co.uk/swanton.html&usg=__bjpM73RLIpmLj3avOKkSyZPEBNc=&h=1005&w=800&sz=89&hl=en&start=25&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=Dkvm7aW9Qp4OhM:&tbnh=149&tbnw=119&prev=/images%3Fq%3DSwanton%2BMorley%26start%3D21%26um%3D1%26hl%3De n%26client%3Dsafari%26sa%3DN%26rls%3Den%26ndsp%3D21%26tbs%3D isch:1)

27th Mar 2010, 12:45
.. to everyone again for your responses, info and advice.

Shame about Swanton Morley, it sounded quite promising to start with.

I'll let you know what comes of it, won't be for some time.

Thanks again,


longer ron
27th Mar 2010, 16:32
South Cerney still looks good - and not far from you......

Dan Winterland
27th Mar 2010, 16:48
A Perfect Hero - that was it!

I've just had a look at Swanton on Google Earth. It looks pretty intact and the signal square is still there with the double cross for gliding. But it's buggered as an airfiled. And the hangars seem to be all shiny and not very WW2 looking. Obviously they weren't good enough for tanks!

It was one of the nicest airfields in the UK. Bloody pongoes will ruin anything!

However, there does seem to be a small East/West strip to the North of the peri-track.

27th Mar 2010, 19:25
Swanton Morley. From a flight July 2009 ....

This is mixed, old with new !

This view could be older ?? but same day ??

27th Mar 2010, 19:26
South Cerney still looks good - and not far from you......

Thanks for that, it's on the list of those to look at.

Unfortunately - for me that is - the final choice or choices of location will have no bearing at all on whether I can get home to bed every night.

The location(s) will be determined by the director, art director, producer (cost) and a horde of others.

I've got involved through a mate who is high enough up the food chain to have some influence - but as we all know, film makers often don't let real life get in the way of a story.

I will do my damndest to persuade them to at least pick decent realistic locations (the aircraft - if any - will probably be of all marks ranging from whatever the earliest available mark still moving is, to probably the latest) that can't be helped.

We'll see.

Thanks again for everyone's help and interest.


30th Mar 2010, 08:03
Swanton definately not now I would think..............

South Cerney would get my vote although also Kirton is a good bet and Newton a close third


Matt Skrossa
30th Mar 2010, 08:56
Although it has been a long time since I was there Swanton Morley was handed over to the Army, so hopefully the buildings should be in good condition and the might be a cheaper option.

Only problem is the choice of evening entertainment for the luvvies, as they will be spoilt for choice in rural Norfolk!

31st Mar 2010, 15:38
Swanton Buildings even have been modernised now and I am not even sure the Airfield is usable as such (large tree growth on it) when I flew across 2 weeks ago...................


definately South Cerney or Kirton or Newton for true period atmosphere.......... IMHO

1st Apr 2010, 09:34
worth taking a look at Netheravon 5nm south of Upavon

1st Apr 2010, 11:33
Or even Upavon itself.

2nd Apr 2010, 23:36
Another vote for Widdle Mallop - a number of the buildings still have traces of camouflage paint on the outside, as well as some original fittings inside.:}

3rd Apr 2010, 11:51
Thanks again for the replies.

South Cerney, Kirton, Newton, Netheravon and Upavon are on the list that I passed on. Wallop won't do because of the activity there - this isn't going to be a one day thing,and the hangars have a very modern appearance.

We'll see....


5th Apr 2010, 20:03
What about Old Sarum?

5th Apr 2010, 21:31
IIRC South Cerney was used in Piece of Cake and has the advantage of having not much modern around it, unlike Bicester

6th Apr 2010, 20:26

Middle Wallop, its a huge grass Airfield, was a WW2 base to Spitfires etc, then became a night fighter base and was the home of 'Cats Eyes' Cunningham. Hangars original 1939, still has some visible damage from a Luftwaffe attack. Good rural position....

Present incumbents unassuming!! :cool:

8th Apr 2010, 20:57
Problem with Middle Wallop is the huge security fence they've put up between the apron and the airfield.

longer ron
9th Apr 2010, 17:48
Have not had a chance to do this until now
South Cerney...the Pongo's have kept the airfield almost original,and no full time flying unit based there (big consideration for filming !)


9th Apr 2010, 18:03
Another ruddy great security fence - you can even see it on the picture. Of course its nothing a good angle grinder couldn't fix.:ok:

On the beach
10th Apr 2010, 01:51
I'd have a look at RAF Hullavington as well. It seems to have been preserved in a time warp for as long as I can remember driving past it.

RAF Hullavington airfield (http://www.controltowers.co.uk/H-K/Hullavington.htm)

On the beach (available as an extra!!!)

longer ron
10th Apr 2010, 03:57
Probably not enough buildings to accurately represent a sector airfield,but useful as Fighter/Forward airfield ??
Former RAF Windrush,just west of Burford (Glos /Oxfordshire border)
Still has (1) T1 and (1) Blister Hangar


10th Apr 2010, 07:40
What about Redhill, mostly in its original condition. They've been trying to get peromission for a new hard runway for years but not received it yet.