HAUNTED AIRFIELD: DEOPHAM GREEN
If you just drove past a gap in the fields you might think, what is it
about this place that makes it different to the rest of the scenery.
The trees and buildings and roads along the last mile seemed okay
but suddenly, I just drove up what seems a shortcut and all of a
sudden I am in an open space and the wind is biting my head off.
My car stands in a kind of semi dark as I try to sense my whereabouts
and all I can see is a huge open space albeit one or two old buildings
lost in the evening shadow. I drive down this road and I come to a
farm on what seems is a concrete loop and then another loop and
then rusty tractors and ploughs left with a few old cars from bygone
days. I had the wife and kids so I could not stop but when I reached
the village and beyond I never forgot that place. In fact, it did cross
my mind that it was a factory plant or had been because there were
metal gates at each turn. I moved into a bungalow some three miles
south of this territory and never gave it a thought until I stepped
out of my car again on a sunny day and found myself at the same
lonely and mysterious place - but less ominous now due to the lovely
sunshine and pheasants feeding on the farmers feed.
It was a real pleasure walking around and then I saw some concrete
runway and it occured to me that was what I had drove on that night.
The more I looked the more I recognised an old and deserted airfield
void of any buildings as such and no sign of a Tower. Later that day
I visited the local library and there were several books on airfields
in my area. One about Deopham Green where the flying fortresses
set off daily on those frightening raids. There was a map and a sort
of picture taken from the sky showing the exact location of dispersals
pans and runway and much more. I even found the bomb dump and
in one old building I found an helmet and first aid kit. I also learned
about those dreadful raids and the heavy losses.
One airman walks in the early hours of the morning towards the spot
where the Tower was and if you are still staying around, you will hear
in the wind the distinct sound of engines starting up. It has been said
that a local farmer had seen from his back window some activity on
the other side of the old airfield. Activity not linked to his time.
He had seen what looked like a ground staff member pushing a bike
down the central road that was part of the runway. The uniformed
man was only seen by the torso and hands but the bicycle was complete
...it was a man he said. The spectre had been watched for about five
minutes. On another occasion, a man had stopped to releive himself
at the runway but as he was back in his car with the window wound
down and he playing a dance band tune ...a pilot in flying gear
appeared to his right and just stared icily at him before disappearing.
Obviously, he thought he had upset the spook by the loud music and
did not respect the slab of rememberance that had been recently
put there and had not noticed when toileting..
Old Buckingham is another listed airfield now used for car boots and
some gliding. Very little remains but James Stewart had served there
fondly before moving to Tibenham. In the Norwich library, the central
city for Norfolk, a section is donated to the 8th Air force that flew their
bombers from so many airfields in East Anglia. It houses some original
books and autobiographies etc..James Stewart in photograph on his
base has been used as a dividing wall and you can also watch films in
the film archives showing bases with their planes and airmen and the
books are endless. If you would like to grasp the feel of such a place
full of memories then pay Norwich a visit, it is a lovely city and hire
a car to take you around these historic places. You have many people
that are enthusiasts wanting to preserve the old bases and would be
so happy to show you about and explain every inch of the site and what
it was used for. You cannot escape these places. At a certain time of
day whilst visiting , you are bound to be caught in its spell and be trans-
fixed by the past, held by the memory and the huge sense of loss that
never forsakes these forlorn places...
Norfolk airfields. Ghosts. Visiting Norfolk. Flights and hotels. Norwich
Library. Bookshops for local interest.