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REPORT ON THE MEETING HELD FRIDAY 2ND MARCH - “THE LOST AIRFIELD OF ELMSWELL”

On 2nd February Martlesham Heath Aviation Society welcomed speakers Peter McGee and Graham Mack, and members of The Elmswell Airfield History Group team, to hear the fascinating story of how they uncovered “The Lost Airfield of Elmswell”.

This Great War Airfield, in the village of Elswell, not far from Bury St. Edmunds, is now partly covered by Farm and other buildings. The probably Airfield site, was the subject of persistent excavations – and also intensive records searches, to reveal the story of the Airfield and many of those that served there.

The airfield was one of three One near Hadleigh (Hintlesham) and another near Thetford who working together were all tasked to try and destroy the Zeppelin Airships that were targeting London and the south east.

It is sobering to remember that the flimsy planes the Royal Flying Corps used were having to fly at night, with very basic instruments, often encountering fog, and if they found the enemy would have to climb above 18,000 feet, without oxygen, and temperatures far below zero, to have any hope of a “kill”.

Unsurprisingly accidents were common…. many of these brave pilots of 75 Squadron (many from across the Commonwealth, particularly New Zealand and an American later in the war) died in this way.

We were fascinated to see a display, showing lots of the artefacts recovered from the site, along with  relating documents found in the National Archives and elsewhere..

An evening which will be remembered for a long time.

Howard King



Our chairman, Martyn Cook introduces Peter McGee and Graham Mack

Inspecting photographs and artefacts from the airfield