|Two RAF North American Mustang Mark Is (AG550 XV-U and AM112 XV-X) of No. 2 Squadron RAF based at Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, in flight over Cambridgeshire. AG550 is being flown by Wing Commander A.J.W. Geddes, the squadron commander.|
|IATA: none – ICAO: none|
|Owner||Ministry of Defence|
|Operator||Royal Air Force|
|Elevation AMSL||289 ft / 88 m|
Royal Air Force Station Sawbridgeworth or RAF Sawbridgeworth is a former Royal Air Force station located 5.2 miles (8.4 km) north of Harlow, Essex and 14.4 miles (23.2 km) east of Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England.
The airfield opened in 1917 and was used during the first world war. During the inter war period it was occasionally used for glider and civilian flying until 1937 when it became Advanced Landing Ground Matthams Wood (after the woods in the middle of the station) and was placed under the control of the much larger RAF North Weald. In 1940 it was renamed to RAF Sawbridgeworth after a phone call between the station Commanding Office Wing Commander AJW Geddes and the air ministry. It ceased active operations in 1944 and closed in 1947. Local rumour has it that the station was used for inserting SOE operatives into France.
First World War
The airfield was used during the First World War as a Night Landing ground for No 39 (Home Defence) Squadron who were based at North Weald in Essex.
Second World War
During the Second World War a number of units were based at the airfield (some are shown below). The commanding officer of 2 (AC) Squadron instigated the settlement of the squadron at Mathams Wood ALG after the retreat from France in 1940 when no permanent base was available for the squadron. Thus 2 (AC) Squadron was the unit that established the Second World War airfield that became Sawbridgeworth in early correspondence with the Air Ministry, the squadron was also responsible for the initial selection and early training of pilots to be used by the Special Operations Executive to insert agents into Occupied France. The majority of operations from Sawbridgeworth were photo-reconnaissance missions and generally linked to Army requests for battlefield coverage, but as the German V-weapon programme intensified more and more sorties were flown against these targets and various radar installations. (see 'Where the Lysanders were .....' for precise details).[page needed]
- No. 2 Squadron RAF.
- No. 4 Squadron RAF.
- No. 63 Squadron RAF.
- No. 80 Squadron RAF.
- No. 126 Squadron RAF.
- No. 168 Squadron RAF.
- No. 170 Squadron RAF.
- No. 182 Squadron RAF.
- No. 268 Squadron RAF.
- No. 1495 (TT) Flight.
- No. 247 Maintenance Unit RAF.
|No. 63 Squadron||Unknown||North American P-51 Mustang IA||12 November 1943||30 November 1943||RAF North Weald|
|No. 80 Squadron||W2||Supermarine Spitfire VB||24 April 1944||5 May 1944||RAF Hornchurch|
|No. 126 Squadron||5J||Supermarine Spitfire VB
Supermarine Spitfire VC
Supermarine Spitfire IXB
|30 April 1944
30 April 1944
30 April 1944
|30 April 1944
30 April 1944
22 May 1944
|No. 168 Squadron||Unknown||North American P-51 Mustang IA||12 November 1943||30 November 1943||RAF North Weald|
|No. 170 Squadron||Unknown||North American P-51 Mustang IA||12 November 1943||15 January 1944||Disbanded|
|No. 182 Squadron||XM||Hawker Typhoon IA/IB||7 December 1942
20 January 1943
|17 January 1943
30 January 1943
RAF Martlesham Heath
|No. 268 Squadron||Unknown||North American P-51 Mustang IA||1 March 1944||26 March 1944||RAF Dundonald|
Note: for full details of the tenure by 2 (AC) Squadron at Sawbridgeworth see 'Second to None', Onderwater H Pub: Airlife, and 'Where the Lysanders were .....'
A number of pill boxes are the only indication that there used to be anything to do with the military here. The control tower was demolished in 1946 along with the Sommerfeld tracking runways to allow the land to be farmed again. This means that modern aerial shots of the airfield do not show the outline of runways unlike the nearby RAF Hunsdon and RAF Matching site. The only indication of the extent of the airfield is the outer perimeter road that is still visible.
In the surrounding area there are still many of the outlying buildings such as the medical facility buildings that have become a small industrial estate. Other buildings have become agricultural buildings. 
- Jefford 1988, p. 23.
- Jefford 1988, p. 24.
- Jefford 1988, p. 45.
- Jefford 1988, p. 49.
- Jefford 1988, p. 58.
- Jefford 1988, p. 64.
- Jefford 1988, p. 65.
- Jefford 1988, p. 66.
- Jefford 1988, p. 81.
- "Sawbridgeworth". Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
- Jefford, C.G, MBE,BA ,RAF (Retd). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1988. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
'Where the Lysanders were ....' (the story of Sawbridgeworths' airfields) Doyle Paul A, pub; Forward Airfield Research Publishing 1995. ISBN 09525 624 05
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