RAF 100 – Airfields of Norfolk Project

A two year project by 42F (King’s Lynn) Squadron of the RAF’s Air Cadets to commemorate the airfields of Norfolk was brought to its close with a presentation at the King’s Lynn Corn Exchange on the evening of Monday 29th October.

Spearheaded by 42F’s Commanding Officer, Flight Lieutenant Pauline Petch and her volunteer staff, and researched by the Squadron’s cadets, the project was made possible with the aid of a generous grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and assisted by a number of other organisations. The Corn Exchange event enabled all involved to come together, hear about the bigger picture of what they had been involved in and to be presented with certificates of appreciation.

42F’s adjutant, Flying Officer Chris Barrett, explained that the project came about as a way for the Squadron’s cadets to participate in a significant way in 2018’s RAF 100 national celebrations, by ‘Commemorating, Celebrating and Remembering’ 100 years of the RAF in conjunction with the, now, mainly historic airfields of Norfolk.

He explained how, starting over two years ago, their efforts focused on 40 of the county’s airfields and how they related to the RAF over its 100 years. They were celebrated by organising an ‘Arts Trail’ of painted model aircraft and information boards erected at these locations and accessible to the public by cycle or car. Each airfield was researched with the assistance of the Heritage Centre at RAF Marham.

The wider community became involved with schools, Air Training Corps (ATC) and RAF Squadrons and others, across the county, painting the model aircraft, made by Sculpture Studios in Essex, so bringing together many different age groups from children to veterans. The Lynn cadets travelled to the studios where they learned about the design and production of the various aircraft models.

BT’s Openreach was instrumental in placing the model aircraft on its poles. A cycle sportive was organised with three routes of differing lengths to take in the airfields and their models and on 17thJune over 150 cyclists participated.

Following the presentation Flight Lieutenant Petch presented certificates of appreciation to the numerous schools, ATC squadrons and others that had painted the models. Special thanks was given to the Heritage Lottery Fund, whose assistance had made the project possible, Sculpture Studios, BT Openreach and Marham Heritage Centre.

RAF Marham’s Base Commander, Group Captain “Cab” Townsend ADC MA RAF was thanked for embracing the project and in allowing the numerous sections on the base to assist.

Flying Officer Barrett concluded by saying that the project has created a lasting legacy as a number of the aircraft will be remaining in the areas of their airfields. Also, due to public demand, information boards are being created to commemorate at least a further 14 other Norfolk airfields. Also a second Cycle Sportive will be organised to take place on 22nd September 2019 commemorating the ‘Battle of Britain’. Any profits will be donated to the Royal Air Forces Benevolent Fund whose centenary is next year