A retired Sapper from Canada, now living in Thailand
Chris Stanford

Please find attached some photos I took last December of the new runway heading markers applied to the 1965 Loeng Nok Tha airstrip. These markings were applied by Thai Civil Aviation authorities. You can also glean a general impression of the overall condition of this installation.

The three photos I'm attaching here are of the south end of the strip (RWY03). This end abuts the broad expanse of concrete foundation that would have served the hanger and other buildings associated with this airstrip in its heyday, and that still exists largely intact today.


Hank, the first of this set of four photos shows the edge of the concrete as it abuts with the asphalt runway extension.
The second photo shows me standing on 'center-line' 03.
The other two are of RWY21, with my car (Mitsubishi 'G-Wagon') set for scale.attached is a photo of a new small hanger that has been set up on the far southeast limit of the vast concrete foundation pad that was laied in the '60's.
I have found this hanger empty every time I've happened by and have been unable to determine its ownership. I will continue to work on that question.

APRIL 2012
Men, time for a SITREP. Listen up!
I have just returned (to my BKK-based duties) from a week of Songkran revelries combined with (too) much libations, from my Isaan quarters. I did a recce' visit to the Loeng Nok Tha airstrip, where much as taken place over recent months. You will all be proud to learn that the Royal Thai Army has now taken over this installation and is in the process of upgrading... the site area and concrete strip surface. Clearly, they now recognize what a fine piece of engineering they have inherited from CRE OP CROWN and want to take full advantage of their inheritance.

I will follow this note with a series of pictures I took last week while visiting the air strip. The first photo is of the new entrance gate, complete with signage announcing Thai Government property, and no livestock allowed.



  1. Hello Hank,
    We saw the runway markings last November and the building at the end of the runway has been there for some years. I had originally thought it was something to do with the Thai Army and conscript training they were carrying out there but have found out that it houses a microlight owned by a chap in Amnatcharoen.
    Noel Jackson

  2. Hank,
    I very much enjoyed Chris Stanford's photos of the strip. When I first arrived at CRE (Works) Crown in September 1966, I was with 54 Sqn's Plant Troop wh, with others, were busy with soil stabilisation with the Howard Train and concreting with the SGME Train. Chris's photos are testament to the great work completed by all sappers, at Crown. Who remembers the land Rover and Trailer with fire buckets full of sand and a big sign saying, "FOLLOW ME" when an aircraft touched down and had to be escorted onto the apron from the runway.
    Best Wishes,
    Mick Norton

  3. I just noticed, the first three pics above make a great sequence in taxiing to the threshold for TO on RWY03,except that the 'wind rose' would predict a RWY21 TO over RWY03.

    Noel, I don't know how often you visit this strip, but I live in Loeng Nok Tha district and within 'piissing distance' of this installation, and the hanger has definitely not been there for more than 24 months. (But, 24 months could be interpreted as 'some years".)

  4. Quite enjoyed looking at the photos, certainly takes one back to the hot, sticky, dusty days of Op Crown. Yes, certainly remember the "Fire Tender", how about the "Shower Arrangements"! Jim Hopgood

  5. Didn't think I'd see it again.I went up from Singapore field park Sqn.for a stint to lay the concrete after they took up the tarmac. I always thought it was a waste of money.
    Denis Moon ex Cpl. RE

  6. I remember that airstrip by the way we missed it on landing, the Biggles impersonator from Newzealand that dropped us there seemed to think the grass verge was better. Tony Rountree

  7. nice pics chris,Iwas there last november for two weeks had a good scout around the old camp and the airfield .january 1964 i first went there with 59 field sqn into tents erected by hanks mob the we built the tin huts and made the camp built the airfield flew back in 1966.
    We stayed in the Pudin hotel loeng nok tha ,it might interest you to peruse my wife Lorraines entry on hanks site its on this page .will look you up when we come over again

  8. @TonyCliffe: Had a look at Lorraines post. Great stuff! The Pudin is pretty much the only place you can stay in Loeng Nok Tha. There is another resort about five clicks south and ten west that's not too bad. But, if you didn't know it was there, you'd never know it is there. I'll keep the community abreast of any changes to the Crown Op installation. Chimo! -Chris

  9. Hi Gerry Crowe sorry had problem with comments will replace it asap

  10. From Gerry Crowe

    Nice to see these pictures Hank.
    looks like the strip is wearing somewhat better than me
    Gerry Crowe ex 59 Sqn
    Ive got a few pictures of the strip being built on my website nothing special you understand

  11. Just seen the photos, I was there in Nov 2010 and it bought back many happy memories if Op Crown. I never worked on the runway, but made sure you guys got fed.
    Alan Myers ex ACC

  12. 59RE where the back bone of the the initial crown work force. all who where members of the sqdn at shorncliff, gillman brks and finally camp crown will remember the higher ratio of tradesmen to the sqdn troops than other fld sqdns.The linch pin of 59 was "Yacker" Yates, due to some perverse reason he allways had me "volunteering" for advance parties,looking after his supply of Vat 69 when travelling to Pataya, of any other task he needed doing.The planties from 59, operators,fitters where thrown in at the deep end when transfered to the REME work shop and plant section. In retrospect as good as the army trade training was we where all totally out of our depths, although we did improve over time and experience even when the majority of the sqdn where finished at crown compared to our civilian counterparts we knew nothing. unfortunatly for the british tax payer the lack of expertise went to the top as shown by the relaying of the main stip showed, the PPPPPPP was never so prominent since "Monty" set up "Market Garden" bloody shame really because there was nothing wrong with the "lads " and their attitude in very harsh conditions,,,,,,,,,,, Butch Edwards plant fitter REME wks 59

  13. Hi Butch Edwards please can you contact me via the the contact link not sure i have the correct email for you thanks Mate
    Hank Lawrence

  14. I was there but nobody remembers me!!
    Ken Clements 59 Sqd Electrician.

  15. Chris Stanford, I very much enjoyed viewing your photos of the airstrip at Leong Nok Tha. I served there from 1966 to 68 on both the airfield and Post Crown projects, some 22 months in total. Unforgettable times though not many of us left now! On the airfield I worked on the SGME train which laid the concrete so your photos hold special significance. Thanks for the memories.

  16. I was the air traffic controller for 2 weeks which included the opening ceremony. I was strictly forbidden to take photo's..why I don"t know but I did as I was told in those days. I arrived on a 34 sqdn Beverley carrying a mk 5 fire engine.. The tyres had to be del
    fated so it would fit into the aircraft..At one stage I had 17 aircraft o all types lined ip. The first official departure after the opening ceremony was s 6 sqn Canberra. David Woodsford
    .Based at RAAF Butterworth North Malaya at the time. My detatchment to Loeng Nok Tha was the highlight of my 2 1/2 years in the far east.

    1. Hi David Woodsford thanks for this mate. Could you please use contact form to message me so i can add you to roll call


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