No. 100 Group was the name given to a collective of people and groups who were involved in working with electronic warfare, radio countermeasures and bomber support, the aim being to centralize knowledge and expertise.
It had been decided by Winston Churchill that the way forward lay in secret electronic warfare, such as decoding enemy signals, identifying and jamming radar, intercepting communications, broadcasting rogue instructions, and generally using whatever methods they could to confuse the enemy, and whilst doing so build as much knowledge as they could for planning future operations.
Its motto being ‘Confound and Destroy’, its role being ‘Electronic Countermeasures’.
In many respects the groups role in the war has simply been understated and regrettably unrecognised, partly because a lot of the work they did is still covered by the 100-year rule.
Much of their work was secretive, but most importantly effective, plus arguably crucial to us surviving the war, by confusing and demoralising the enemy.
East Anglia, mainly Norfolk holds many secrets of the work of this group. Picturesque, sleepy villages, soon became a hive of activity in our plight to save our country. The following are some of the Norfolk airfields involved, some of which were created and designed specifically for the work of the 100 Group, I believe my own grandfather may have helped in building some of the bases.
•RAF West Raynham
•RAF Little Snoring
•RAF Great Massingham
•RAF North Creake
•RAF Swanton Morley
More details of the above airfields can be found in the next sections.
Norfolk which has always had a close association with aviation was chosen because of its proximity to the low countries such as Holland and Belgium, and to the borders of Germany.
Discussions regarding the formation of the group started around March 1943, with involvement from the American 8th Air Force, in fact USAAF were heavily involved with the group throughout its history. From 8th November 1943 the group was fully sanctioned and became operational from December 1943. The lead squadron was No.192 (based at Foulsham) who worked closely with Bletchley picking up signals which they passed on to them, making use of their enhanced decoding skills.
Initially assembling at Radlett, then West Raynham, RAF No.100 (Bomber Support) Group headquarters eventually became based at Bylaugh Hall where the secret world of radar jamming was planned and of course the Dam Busters raid.
Its first mission was flown on 16th December 1943 by 141 Squadron using 2 Beaufighters and 2 Mosquitoes to help support the main force, around the same period 192 Squadron were commencing radio search operations for the Group.
In December 1943 the group expanded rapidly with new airfields and squadrons all across Norfolk.
By the end of the war in May 1945, Bomber Command had the view that the operations performed by 100 Group has saved at least 1000 bomber aircraft and their crews.
Since the end of WWII, nearly all conflicts have valued the importance of electronic intelligence thanks to the dedication of RAF 100 Group.
So why the criticism and lack of recognition?
Arguably because of the heavy bombing and in some cases so close to the end of the war. The Commander-in-Chief of Bomber Command Sir Arthur Harris was criticised but it has to be remembered that the mass bombing of our own cities was initiated by the Germans, but we cannot blame those that fell under the command of their superiors let alone take away their bravery and the great loss of lives on all sides, we should always remember all of them.