RAF Matlaske

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RAF Matlaske
Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svgEighth Air Force - Emblem (World War II).pngBritishArmyFlag2.svg
Matlaske Airfield Memorial 31 August 2014.JPG
Memorial at the site
Airport type Military
Owner Air Ministry
Operator Royal Air Force
United States Army Air Forces
British Army
Location Matlaske, Norfolk
Built 1940 (1940)
In use 1940-1945 (1945)
Elevation AMSL 177 ft / 54 m
Coordinates 52°51′38″N 001°11′22″E / 52.86056°N 1.18944°E / 52.86056; 1.18944Coordinates: 52°51′38″N 001°11′22″E / 52.86056°N 1.18944°E / 52.86056; 1.18944
RAF Matlaske is located in Norfolk
RAF Matlaske
RAF Matlaske
Location in Norfolk
Direction Length Surface
ft m
00/00 0,000 0,000 Concrete
00/00 0,000 0,000 Concrete
00/00 0,000 0,000 Concrete
Aerial photograph of Matlaske airfield looking north, Matlaske village is at the top, 27 June 1946.

RAF Matlaske (known officially as RAF Matlask) was a satellite air field of the Royal Air Force to RAF Coltishall, situated near Matlaske in Norfolk, England.


There was an airfield at Matlaske before the war started but it was approved for requisition by the Air ministry in August 1939. RAF Matlaske became operational in October 1940[1] as a satellite station to RAF Coltishall which is 10.3 miles (16.6 km) south-east of Matlaske. In 1940 the airfield had two grass runways of which one was 1,600.00 yards (1,463.04 m) with the other being 1,300.00 yards (1,188.72 m).[1]

Luftwaffe attack[edit]

On 29 October 1940[1] the Luftwaffe attacked the airfield at Matlaske. This attack followed the bombing of RAF Coltishall two days before which had necessitated the re-location some of the Spitfires of 72 Squadron to Matlaske. Five Dornier[2] aircraft carried out the attack and they strafed the base causing damaged to the parked aircraft and inflicting several casualties to personnel. On 12 May 1941[1] the Luftwaffe attacked the base again but this time they bombed using Incendiary bombs. The attack had limited success with only minor damage and no personnel casualties.

United States Army Air Force[edit]

In September 1942, the airfield was allocated to the 8th United States Army Air Forces as a fighter base but was only used from March to April 1943 by P-47 Thunderbolts of the 56th Fighter Group from RAF Kings Cliffe.

From August 1942 to July 1943, No. 56 Squadron RAF Typhoons from RAF Snailwell moved to Manston.[3]

No. 195, 245, 266 and 609 Squadron Typhoons, No. 19 Sqn Spitfires and the USAAF's 56th Fighter Group P-47 Thunderbolts were detached here at various times from August 1942 to August 1943.

From April to May 1943, No. 1489 Flight RAF conducted target towings with Hawker Henleys, Westland Lysanders, M.25 Martinets and M.9 Masters, which were also based at RAF Coltishall and RAF Sutton Bridge.

In August 1943, the airfield was transferred to 8th USAAF control and rebuilt. Reopened in September 1944 and used by 3, 19, 56, 65, 122, 229, 451, 453, 485, and 601 Squadrons at various times until October 1945.

From July to October 1945, the British Army operated Taylorcraft Austers as liaison aircraft from here.


The following units served at Matlaske at one point or another during World War II:

Royal Air Force[edit]

Royal Australian Air Force[edit]

Royal Canadian Air Force[edit]

Royal New Zealand Air Force[edit]

United States Army Air Forces[edit]


The following aircraft types served at the base:



  1. ^ a b c d Smith, Graham (2007). Norfolk Airfields in the Second World War. Section 21 – Matlaske – Reference to the Luftwaffe attacks on the airfield. Countryside Books. p. 164. ISBN 9781853063206. 
  2. ^ "Matlaske – (Matlask)". Reference to the type of German Aircraft used in the attack. Control Towers .co.uk. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  3. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 00.


  • 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.