Newsletter No. 5 April 2001
Welcome to the beginning of the second year of the existence of our group. Yes, we are almost one year old, and I feel we have enjoyed a very busy and successful year. Lots of news and forthcoming events to tell you about this time and also contributions from Michael Heath and Robert Trimnell, so no Pilot profile this time.
Just under 80 members and guests enjoyed an afternoon on the 28th Jan. listening to his experiences and amusing stories, not only of his time as Team Manager with The Red Arrows, but also as a pilot on Vulcan and Hunter Jets. We used this afternoon as a fund raiser for the 23rd Sep and £200 was raised from admission and a raffle. We also had 18 new members join, taking us over the 50 member mark. I would like to take this opportunity to THANK EVERYONE who contributed raffle prizes you were all very generous.
Visit of Henry Farwell
Henry is a veteran of the 386th B.G. at Boxted he was a radio operator/gunner on Marauder "little jo" and made his first return to the base on 10th March, I had the honour of showing him round and although he could not remember the site, he could recall his first mission from Boxted very clearly. He could remember Colchester quite clearly, the dances he went to and of course the pubs. On Sunday the 11th he visited the Exhibition and was in great demand to recall his memories, answer questions, and sign books, all of this he took in his stride and was extremely polite and helpful to everyone. Not bad for 81 years young. From a personal point of view this meant a great deal to me to meet one of those young men that came to our aid, It was a weekend that will go down as one of the best of my life. Henry has kindly agreed to appear in our video so is currently working with the production people.
Table Top Sale
We are holding one of these on Sunday 22nd April at Langham Community Centre 2.30 5.00 Prebooked tables £5, on the day £6. Admission 25p. If you would like to book a table phone Jean on xxxx xxxxxx. The Group will be having its own table, so if you do not have enough for a table of your own and would like to donate those unwanted items we can sell them and monies will go to the group.
Grand Prize Draw
We are holding a Raffle to raise funds for the 23rd, September and the Draw will take place on that afternoon. Tickets 50p ea
We need your help so Please give me a ring for raffle books to sell. It does not matter if you think you can only sell one book, every little will make a big difference.
Yes it is that time our first one. It will be held at Langham on Sunday 6th May at 1.30 we will keep the business to an absolute maximum of one hour. We would like as many members as possible to attend, after all it is your group. Following the A.G.M. we shall have our next social event.
At 3pm an illustrated Talk by Tony Murkowski
Polish Spitfire pilot, flew several types of Warbirds, test pilot on early Jets, member of Meteor Aerobatic team
Members £2 non Members £3. Refreshments available.
Ring xxxx xxxxxx to reserve seats.
Saturday 22nd SeptemberLangham comm centre
Simply Nostalgic Big Band
Come and enjoy the wartime music, Glenn Miller, Jive etc
811 pm. £7 including ploughmans supper. licensed bar.
"Why not come in 1940s dress"
Tickets will be on sale at the table top sale in April and at the A.G.M.
Just for fun. Answers next time. Questions set by R Trimnell.
1.Where did the name Flak meaning antiaircraft fire come from.?
2. Who took over as Commander in chief of Fighter Command after Dowding.?
3.What was the subject of the first ever Airfix kit.?
4. In 1986 two aircraft collided at the Mildenhall air show can you name them.?
5. Can you name the worlds first monoplane fighter.?
6. What were the Red Arrows originally called.?
7. What was the only unit to operate the P47m Thunderbolt in WW2.?
8. Can you name the largest biplane fighter in the world.?
9. In WW2 what were known as meatballs.?
10. What did the Japanese word Kamikaze actually mean.?
Thanks a lot Robert.
The 2nd Air Division
by Michael Heath
Comprised of 14 Bomber and 5 Fighter Groups, the Bomber airfields, 11 situated in Norfolk, 3 in Suffolk. All the bomber groups were equipped with B24 Liberators, identified by the group letter in a circle on the tail. In 1944 this changed to an all over colour tail and rudder with a white or black vertical, horizontal or diagonal stripe which represented the group. On the stripe was the squadron aircraft letter, e.g. 93rd bomb group all yellow tail vertical black stripe, yellow squadron letter, all part of the high visibility markings adopted by the 8th Airforce.
The Fighter groups of the 2nd air division formed the 65th Fighter wing, 5 airfields : 4th F.G. at Debden, 56th at Boxted both in Essex, the 355th at Steeple Morden,361st at Bottisham these 2 in Cambridgeshire. Finally the 479th at Wattisham in Suffolk. so the airfields were widely scattered over three counties.
H.Q. of the division was situated at Ketteringham Hall Norfolk.
The 3rd strategic air depot at Watton (Neaton) station 505 repaired the B24 Liberators, and salvaged the bombers, started in 1943.
The 65th Fighter wing repair depot was at Wattisham, Hitcham station 470, dealt with the fighters.
For those interested in the history of the 2nd air division there are museums at the sites of the airfields at Seething, Hardwick Halesworth, Wattisham and Norwich, of these Norwich and Halesworth are well worth a visit as the 56th Fighter group were at these fields before their move to Boxted on 18th April 1944. I can recommend a visit to the Memorial library in Norwich which is devoted to the 2nd air division.
All the airfields of the division have memorials to the groups that were stationed there and some churches have plaques to nearby bases.
The site of the 3rd strategic air depot has gone, in its place is Her Majesties prison Wayland. Wattisham is now occupied by the Army air corps.
My connections with Watton. In 1951/2 while serving in the R.A.F. clearing out war surplus stock vehicles, aircraft parts from T2 hangers and Neaton motor transport park part of the 3rd S.A.D.
Books for reference:
The Mighty Eighth
" " " War Diary
" " " " Manual All by Roger Freeman
Little Fields Of America Martin Bowman
Over Here Steve Snelling
Thanks for a very good article Michael explaining how Boxted is connected to the 2nd Air Division.