Foxearth & Liston History Society- Castle Camps Airfield.

For its meeting on 12th April members of the District Society were taken back some 60 years to the time of World War 2 and the creation and operation of the Castle Camps airfield. For all of his life Roy Brazier has lived close to the airfield and he recalled his earliest memories of hurricanes taking off and returning – often sadly in reduced numbers. He also described several near misses to his parents’ house during enemy bombing raids. Castle Camps is the highest land in Cambridgeshire – and , as the RAF personnel soon discovered, also just about the wettest and the windiest! The airstrip was operational from 1940 when 85 Squadron moved in. Officers were quartered in the Old Rectory and several other imposing Georgian buildings – including one built by Oliver Cromwell for one of his daughters – were used for various purposes. Unfortunately two of these houses were destroyed by fire. At first some of the lower ranks had to be accommodated in tents. For some time Group Captain Peter Townsend was the Commanding Officer. About a dozen squadrons were based there during the course of the war including New Zealand, Czech and Polish. Appropriately the last occupants were the 85 Squadron again.

Mr Brazier and his assistant Tony showed many slides of the airstrip and some of the notable fliers. There were numerous stories of survival and tragic accounts of those who didn’t make it.. A memorial to all units which served at the airfield was erected there and dedicated in September 1994. Mr Brazier was thanked by Chairman Alan Fitch for his obvious deep knowledge of and enthusiasm for his subject.

Next meeting Tuesday May 10th in Foxearth Village Hall at 8pm when Henry Ruse will talk about the history of the Family Butchers in Long Melford.

Ken Nice

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