Archaeologists scour First World War airbase at Narborough

West Norfolk and King's Lynn Archaeological society members at the former RFC Narborough
West Norfolk and King's Lynn Archaeological society members at the former RFC Narborough

A field which was once home to one of the country’s largest First World War air bases has been scoured for artefacts by archaeologists for the first time.

West Norfolk and King’s Lynn Archaeology Society members have been looking at the former Royal Flying Corps Narborough base and found shards of pottery which would have been used by the earliest fighter pilots.

RFC Narborough opened in 1916 to help protect the east coast from Zeppelin attacks but went on to become one of the country’s largest aerodromes and a training centre.

During the field walk last month, the society found artefacts which related to the field’s former activities, including chunks of brass and copper, which had been lathed, and glass.

These finds will be processed during an event in True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum on Saturday from 11am.

Society chairman Clive Bond said: “This is a significant site for the history of aerial warfare. The base saw the invention of using flight to protect people

and crews were flying from Narborough and Marham to try and attack Zeppelins.

“Later it was training pilots who would be sent over to the Western Front in a month. A number of pilots who died during the training are buried in the churchyard.

“This is the first time any field work has been completed on that particular field and it has been exciting.”

Using old photographs of the Narborough site, the team were able to find where the old mess buildings and workshops were. They then created 20 metre grids which were walked to find artefacts.

The society has been working with Lynn air cadets on the project.

Mr Bond said: “We found white porcelain around the officer’s mess. It is stamped with the Royal Naval Service and Royal Flying Corps. We know this directly related to that period of time and people were using these items before flying.”

On January 19, a service will be held at Hardwick Cemetery, Lynn, for the victims of a zeppelin attack on the town and further First World War events are planned.

The society has also recently completed a field walk at a field in Tydd St Mary, near Wisbech, which was also home to an air base.