Page 10 - Town & Around - November 2022
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10  Town & Around November 2022                                                  Tel: 01485 540620 email:
       A page from the Sage

                                 transferred to Coastal Command,   comes to an end. This life of 44   purchased in the early 1860s by
                                 and on the outbreak of war in   years falls into two main phases   Queen  Victoria as a wedding
                                 1939 the station began the   operational  flying  and   present for her son the Prince of
                                 maritime operations on which the   administrative training; these two   Wales. At the time of purchase it
                                 station was primarily employed   phases bridge the whole range of   covered 7,000 acres now being
                                 throughout the war. Bircham   Royal  Air Force activities   through the ownership of five
                                 Newton’s aircraft, including   thousands of hours have been   different monarchs including Her
                                 Canadian, Dutch and Fleet Air   flown thousands of officers and   Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll, all of
                                 Arm squadrons flew on convoy   completed administrative courses   whom have purchased more land,
                                 escort  in   anti-submarine   and  many  administrative   it now covers over 22,000 acres.
                                 operations, shipping strikes,   apprentices have started their   I think I am right in saying that
                                 photographic reconnaissance, air-  service life at Bircham Newton.   in 1964 when HM Queen
                                 sea rescue operations and   The memories of these 44 years   Elizabeth ll had 300 acres of land
                                 metrological reconnaissance. As   will endure.      reclaimed down Wolferton Marsh
                                 a diversion coastal command,                        that was one of the last areas of
                                 aircraft from Bircham Newton    Commanders          land to be added to the s estate.
                                 operated at times unspectacularly   Wing Commander the Hon. L.   The house and grounds have
                                 but always relentlessly. The map   J. E. Twisleton-Wykeham Firnnes   been altered a lot over the years;
            i there everybody. Here’s   in the operations room saw the   1924-1927, Wing  Commander   in the early 1900s my grandfather
            my page for the month of                       T.O'b. Hubbard M.C A.F.C 1927-
       HNovember 2022 in Town    nature of the operations change   1929,  Wing Commander R.   worked at Sandringham House as
       and Around issue 205.     from anti-invasion measures in                      a chimney sweep, the house at
                                 1940 through the middle years of   Jeckie D.SC, D.F.C 1929-1931,   that time had 365 rooms the same
         RAF Bircham Newton      struggle in the North Sea the   Wing Commander C. Pulford,   as days in a year, making it the
         I was given some Bircham   sharp activity in support of the   O.BE, A.F.C  1931-1932,  Wing   largest private residence in
       RAF station information and as   invasion of Normandy and finally   Commander R. Collishaw D.S.O   England, and they nearly all had
       there are many people in the   to the harrying of the reeling   O.B.E D.S.C D.F.C 1932-1935,   fireplaces. In 1912 central heating
       Hunstanton and  West Norfolk   enemy. With the peace in 1945   Wing Commander R. G. Gardner   was installed and my grandfather
       area who have served in the RAF   came the end of Bircham   D.S.C  1935-1936,  Wing   was  given  the  job  of
       or are interested in it I got my   Newton’s maritime role.    Commander H.M.K. Brown   stoker/boilerman which he did till
       grandson Scott to type it out for   For the next two years as the   1936-1937, Group Captain J. W.   about 1920 when he left
       me so that you can all read it. It   Initial Conversion Unit in   Woodhouse D.S.O Mc 1937-  Dersingham to take on the Fox
       contains a list of all the   Transport Command Bircham   1938, Group Captain C. L. Scott   and Hounds pub at Marham.
       commanders of RAF Bircham   Newton saw the training of pilots,   D.S.C 1938-1939, Group Captain   At one time there was a ten pin
       Newton from beginning to end.   navigators, air signallers and   W.H Primrose C.F.C 1939-1941,   bowling alley in Sandringham
         Soon after the birth of the   flight engineers in the transport   Group Captain J. B. Graham M.C   House but in the 1970s a lot of
       Royal  Air Force, Bircham   role. In 1948 the station was   A.F.C 1941-1942, Group Captain   building work was done on to
       Newton was one of the first   transferred to Technical Training   J.M. Mason D.S.C D.F.C 1942   make it a lot smaller.
       stations to be opened by the   Command and the Officers’   Group Captain T.H. Carr D.F.Cc   When the Second World War
       newly formed Air Ministry and in   Advanced  Training  School   A.F.C 1942-1943, Group Captain   started the golf course in the park
       May 1918 No 3 Fighter School   moved from Hornchurch.  This   C.W.  A.F.C 1943-1944, Group   was ploughed up so crops could
       arrived for a stay of six months.   school was joined by schools for   Captain R.W.K. Stevens 1944-  be grown on it for the war effort,
        In the meanwhile a bomber   secretarial  and  equipment   1945, Group Captain J. Norwood   the iron railings around the park
       force called the Independent Air   officers, and the RAF School of   1945-1947, Wing  Commander   were taken down and sent away
       Force was formed to bomb   Administration was formed.   L.H Anderson  1947-1948, Air   to be melted down and
       strategic targets in Germany. A   Eight years later as part of   Commodore A.McKee  C.B.E   Sandringham House, the big
       squadron with Handley Page   another  reorganisation,  the   D.S.O D.F.C A.F.C 1948-1949,   house as it was called, was closed
       V/1500 aircraft began to form at   secretarial  and  equipment   Air Commodore R.N Waite C.B   down so when the royal family
       Bircham Newton, but due to   officers’ schools left Bircham   C.B.E 1949-1950, Group Captain   came down they stayed at
       delays in aircraft productions, the   Newton and were replaced by the   G. R. Montgomery C.B.E 1950-  Appleton House.
       Armistice was signed before any   Administrative  Apprentice   1952, Group Captain E. J. Laine   King George  Vl had a flax
       bombing operations took place.   Training School from Hereford.   C.B.E. D.F.C 1952-1955, Group   factory built at  West Newton,
       Apart from two short breaks of a   At the same time the Officers’   Captain A. J. Mason D.F.C 1955-  many people, mostly women,
       few months in the early years,   Advanced Training School was   1957, Group Captain G.B   worked there during and after the
       Bircham Newton remained a   renamed the Junior Command   Walford  O.B.E  1957-1960,   war.  There were buses going
       bomber station until 1936. Many   and Staff School.   Group captain M.  Wyatt D.F.C   round the villages picking the
       famous bomber squadrons spent   Now in December 1962, the   1960-1961, Group Captain A.D.   workers up and taking them to the
       varying periods on the station,   Junior Command School moved   Panton O.B.E D.F.C 1961-1962.   factory.  They also had an
       and the well-drained but bumpy   to  Tern Hill and the last three   Sandringham Estate   experimental unit at Flitcham
       grass surface of the airfield   entries of the  Administrative   Now that sadly and suddenly   Hall. Many people worked on the
       became very well known to   Apprentice Training  School,   our Queen Elizabeth ll has passed   estate - when my uncle went to
       Royal Air Force pilots, including   which was running down move   away I thought I would write a   work there in 1934 there were 90
       the many flight cadets from   back to Hereford. The unending   line  or  two  about  the   people in the gardens the woods
       Cranwell who landed on it in the   process of development and   Sandringham Estate which is now   and the parkland plus people
       due course of carrying out   change leaves no place for   in the hands of her eldest son   working in the studs at
       practice cross-country flights.   Bircham Newton in the Royal Air   King  Charles  lll.  The   Sandringham and  Wolferton so
        In 1936 Bircham Newton was   Force and the life of the station   Sandringham  Estate  was   the work force at Sandringham
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