ABOVE: Shipdham Airfield, seen here in September 2016

Norfolk-based Shipdham Airfield is to close its doors for good in November 2023, with the site believed to be earmarked for redevelopment.

Constructed in 1941, RAF Shipdham (designated USAAF Station 115) was used extensively by the United States Army Air Force from October 1942 to late 1945. The first heavy bomber base in Norfolk, the facility was originally used by the 319th Bombardment Group’s Martin B-26 Marauders until early October 1942. Re-assigned to the 44th Bombardment Group, four operational squadrons flew Consolidated B-24 Liberators from Shipdham, making the airfield the longest continuous host of the type than any other Eighth Air Force combat airfield in Britain.

After a brief period of use as a German POW transit station between 1946-1947, part of the site was sold in 1957 and the remaining portion between 1962 and 1963. With planning permission to re-open the airfield as a civil facility granted in 1969, refurbishment work was carried out, and the site was finally reopened in June 1970.

Shipdham Flying Club was formed in early 2000, with the clubhouse located along the one remaining wartime runway. Although the wartime control tower now stands derelict, the club is also home to the 44th Bomb Group Museum, which aims to preserve the personal stories of the aircrews involved with the site.

The site is now slated to shut in November, and redevelopment plans may see the site earmarked as a solar farm.