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After an original idea by Paul Freeman.
First published 7 Nov 2010. This collection of airfields is © 2010 - 2018 RonaldV
uk

Little Snoring

06-02-2018


145

52°51'43"N 000°54'41"E

Runway: 01/19 - 1280x45 meter/4199x150ft - Concrete 
Runway: 07/25 - 1830x45 meter/6004x150ft - Concrete 
Runway: 13/31 - 1280x45 meter/4199x150ft - Concrete 

(modern day)
07/25 - 850x23meter - concrete/grass
10/28 - 770x16meter - concrete/asphalt (CLOSED) 

Little Snoring airfield (RAF Little Snoring) is a former Royal Air Force station located north of the Norfolk village of Little Snoring. 
The station opened in July 1943 and was built to be a satellite station and dispersal for RAF Foulsham which is 6.0 miles (9.7 km) south-east of Little Snoring. As with similar RAF stations, the airfield had a typical ‘A’ shape, with 36 dispersed aircraft parking ('pan'-type) sites, a bomb site (to the north), fuel dump (to the south) and accommodation built to house 1,807 RAF and 361 WAAF personnel spread over eight domestic sites dispersed away from the airfield to the east. 1 B1 type hangars and 4 T2s were available for aircraft maintenance.

Just a month after the station became operational, the stations status changed when No 3 Bomber Group gave the station full status. housed the rare Bristol Hercules engined Lancaster IIs of 1678 HCU (Heavy Conversion Unit) and 115 squadron. In November 1943, the airfield was taken over by 100 Group and Mosquito IIs and Beaufighter VIs moved in, to use the airfield for Electronic Warfare missions to mainland Europe.
Units known to have used Little Snoring are: 

1678 Heavy Conversion Flight (Aug - Nov 1943) Avro Lancaster II 

115 Squadron (Aug - Nov 1943) Avro Lancaster II 
169 Squadron (Dec 1943 - Jun 1944) de Havilland Mosquito II 
515 Squadron (1943 - 1945) Bristol Beaufighter, de Havilland Mosquito II and VI   
23 Squadron (1944 - 1945) de Havilland Mosquito VI and XX 
141 Squadron (1945) de Havilland Mosquito XXX 
During March and April 1944 they were briefly joined by a detachment of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), flying P-51 Mustangs and P-38 Lightnings in long-range escort trials. After a Luftwaffe attack in mid-April 1944, Little Snoring was out of action for considerable time, but it returned to action in May with 515Sqn and 23Sqn until the end of the war. During its war years, twelve Lancasters and forty-three Mosquitos were lost during missions over enemy territory.

large_000000.jpg
T. Cushing with a P-38 Lightning, nicknamed "Miss Ann" in March 1944. Handwritten caption on reverse: '3-44 X. T. Cushing, P-38 Intruder, Little Snoring, early '44. P-38.'  (IWM (FRE3251))

23-squadron-photo-oct1944-geo-stewart-on
23 Sqn members, October 1944 (23 Squadron)

23-squadron-mosquito-with-radar-web.jpg
An undated radar equipped Mosquito of 23 Sqn at Little Snoring (23 Squadron)

515 Sqn disbanded on 10 June 1945. 141 Sqn flew from the airfield in July and August and on to disbandment on 7 September 1945. On 25 September operational flying by 23 Sqn officially ceased and the airfield was put on care and maintenance under 274 Maintenance Unit. As with other airfields in the region, it became a storage area for surplus Mosquitos on their way to be scrapped. After this the airfield was retained on a care and maintenance. 

23sqn_and_dog_september-1945-web.jpg
23Sqn members and their dog mascot in September 1945, days before the unit disbanded and the airfield closed (23 Squadron)

23-squadron-end-of-the-war-3.jpg.
(23 Squadron)

In 1950, Little Snoring was opened temporarily and an anti-aircraft co-operation unit on civilian contract, 2 Civilian Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit flying Spitfire XVI, Mosquito TT.35 and Vampire FB.Vs, began operating from the airfield. Finally in 1953 the unit was disbanded, Little Snoring was shut and the site sold off.

However, that was not the end of flying. In civilian hands from 1958, new owner Fakenham Flying Group began operating the airfield. They renamed their group after their founder Elwyn “Mac” McAully was tragically killed in a flying accident at Little Snoring in 1960, while practicing for an aerobatic display. The group was renamed the McAully Flying Group in his honour and memory. The small group (they do not consider themself a club, as each is owner for the exact same share!) currently use Little Snoring Airfield.
Air shows have been held at Little Snoring: for example in 1978 the airshow featured the Sea Fury of the Fleet Air Arm Historic Flight and B-17G Flying Fortress “Sally B”, which was then based at Duxford, and both may have landed at the airfield. 
In 1983 the runways were broken up leaving what remains today. The McAully Flying Group moved to the south side of the airfield where they have remained to this day.

littlesnoring-2000.jpg
ca 2000 map of Little Snoring showing the airfield had two runways; one of them on the old perimeter track. Although it was listed as 16meter wide, a website described its surface as being so bad, that only half the width was usable leaving an "interesting" 8meter wide runway.


Since 2007, Little Snoring is home to a microlight manufacturer, The Light Aircraft Company (TLAC), which has had an aircraft maintenance facility at the site. TLAC produces the Sherwood Ranger biplane microlight. 

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Entrance sign near the southernmost T2 hangar.
somerights20.gif   © Copyright Evelyn Simak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

LS-airfield_map.jpg
Undated map of the airfield.

Aircraft can visit (No PPR required!) and occasionally a ‘fly-in’ happens and the site springs into life once more. Airfield facilities include a private hangar and a clubhouse with pre-flight briefing facilities, kitchen and toilets. With the exception of the western part, most of all three runways has been removed but the remaining west end and the southern taxitrack are retained for flying.
The old control tower still exists, albeit in a derelict shape. One of the former stations buildings, claimed by some to be the former mortuary, is now a toilet and shower block at the villages' camp site. The site also features an air raid shelter and concrete pads for vehicles and temporary buildings.Two T2 hangars still exist at the south side of the former RAF station.

LittleSnoring2008-1.jpg
View of the derelect watch office (control tower) in March 2008 (Richard Flagg)
 
airfield2.jpg
View of the airfields two T2 hangars in March 2009 (Richard Flagg)



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