Haveringland church remembers RAF Swannington
A special remembrance service will be taking place this weekend at St Peters Church in Haveringland to mark the seventieth anniversary of the closure of RAF Swannington.
Haveringland Parish Church stands on the edge of the former airfield at RAF Swannington. The base was one of the last opened during the Second World War (in 1944) and it closed in 1947, 70 years ago this year.
To mark this anniversary there will be a very special service of Remembrance at 10:30am on Saturday November 11, accompanied by the Stalham Brass Band. Contact has been made with many relatives of those who died in service having flown out of RAF Swannington, and a number of those relatives will attend the service, travelling from their homes all over the UK.
The Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Mrs Adel MacNichol, will be present at the service as well as representatives from the Australian Defence Force and the United States Air Force, as both nations had involvement in the base.
To commemorate the 70 years which have passed since the closure of the Airfield, trees have been planted as an Avenue of Remembrance leading to the Church. At the end of the service, relatives of the fallen aircrew will plant trees in the memory of the two squadrons for which their loved ones flew, with a further tree being planted by a member of the Australian Defence Force. After that, there will be a fly-past of vintage bi-planes in salute of the fallen, including a poppy-drop of red paper petals over the church.
Team Vicar, Rev’d Andrew Whitehead, says “The church in Haveringland is in a unique location, and occupies a special place in the history of the local area. Earlier in the year we marked the anniversary of the airfield’s closure with a well-attended 40’s themed social in the church. This special Remembrance Service and ceremonial tree planting provides the setting for a more sombre and reflective commemoration of RAF Swannington’s role in the war.”
The event has been generously supported by Broadland District Council, who have also helped to fund the avenue of trees. The Avenue of Remembrance has been planted with the assistance of members of the local community working together with the Community Payback Scheme.
Members of the public are welcome to come along to the event which starts at 10:30am on Saturday 11th November. The church will be open all day on Saturday and Sunday for visitors to view photographs and information about the airfield. The weekend will also represent the beginning of an exciting video heritage project aiming to collate stories of how the RAF integrated with the local community during the war.
Haveringland Parish Church is located at NR10 4PW.
The top photo above shows the view along the former perimeter track of RAF Swannington towards Haveringland Church, and is courtesy of Evelyn Simak at http://www.geograph.org.uk.
The lower photo shows a bi-plane flying past the church at the 40's event earlier this year.
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