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Report - - RAF RIvenhall, Essex - November 2023 | Military Sites | Page 2 |

Report - RAF RIvenhall, Essex - November 2023

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28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Me and @Wastelandr have been saying for a while we would meet up and have a revisit to RAF Rivenhall so a few weekends ago we did this and a couple of other sites. I have only covered small bits of it in the past so it was nice to spend a bit more time there.

Information & HIstory
RAF RIvenhall opened in 1942 as a Royal Air Force and US Army Air Force base. During World War II it was used as a combat airfield closing a year after the war in 1946. The base was still in reserve up until June 1956. The base had three concrete runways and two T2 hangars, one of which is a listed building. The first occupiers of the base were the 363rd Fighter Group. This group was involved in the invasion of Normandy and was equipped with P-51 Mustangs. 363 later moved to Azeville and then Le Mans in France. The 397th Bombardment Group then arrived from RAF Gosfield with Martin B-26 Marauders and consisted of squadrons 596th through to 599th. RAF Squadrons 295, 570, and 1677 were also located here at some point.

Much of the site today has been turned into a quarry but luckily many of the buildings still exist in their original state, albeit ruinous. The listed T2 hangar remains however it is currently inaccessible which is a shame as I really wanted to get inside. A waste incinerator is planned to be constructed on the site and a few things have changed recently which can be seen in the photos below.

The Explore
We parked up at a business nearby which is part of an industrial estate consisting of re-purposed buildings which I believe was the old Polish Camp according to maps. We headed down to the dispersed camp section of the site which is where many of the buildings remained.

Initially, it was a peaceful wander, Wastelandr was getting some shots in the Nissen Huts and I had moved into some of the larger administration buildings and then I heard very loud gunshots. I didn’t think anything of it as I just assumed there was a farmer nearby shooting which it was. I checked my phone ten minutes later and I saw I had two missed calls from Wastelandr so I messaged him and he said as soon as he heard the gunshots he legged it and then came across the farmer. Turns out the farmer was a really nice chap and was just out with his son protecting the fields as Rooks were eating the seeds. Wastelandr was worried the farmer would see movement in the trees and shoot him. I found it quite funny at the time and just carried on photographing, when I left I also spoke to the farmer and he laughed about Wastelandr legging it. He was alright though, reckons that the business owners in the nearby industrial estate don’t like people going in the buildings but he himself wasn’t bothered in the slightest.

Later, we looked at the old farmhouse on site and blast shelter to find the house sealed, we drove to the other end of the site and visited the hangar which was sealed as well sadly, I fell in a few holes hidden beneath the vegetation to the side of the hangar which was probably karma for laughing at Wastelandr running off from the gunshots. Overall it was a good explore and I finally managed to get some better shots of the place.

Starting off in the first cluster of trees you come across a small guard house followed by the Nissen Huts:







There was a nice toilet block in this area too:



A few more of the huts:




The small boiler house is one of my favourite buildings here:





In the middle of all of these Nissen Huts is the control room bunker:






Another block a little further away from the buildings, I am not sure of the specific purpose of this building:




One of the nicer buildings was the flight office, but unfortunately, this has now been well secured and recent work has taken place in the area:


The nearby blast shelter:


Finally, we made our way to the No. 1 Hangar. The scale of this is really impressive:



Peeping through the small hole in the door:


There are a few other bits and pieces including some air raid shelters nearby and an old sub-station building which we missed, but we managed to cover the more significant bits of the site.

Thanks for looking!

Chernobyl vibes!! Nice report and good shots!


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Visited the site 2 years ago when our eldest was after locations for her photography degree, good to see it's still holding up and your report brought it all flooding back, just we didn't have any gun shots to worry about lol.

Really agree that it's got that air of nature taking over and gives a sense of wistfulness almost.





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