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Aviation landmarks documented in Docking historian’s latest book




Peter Gunn, from Docking, with his book Aviation Landmarks Norfolk and Suffolk.
Peter Gunn, from Docking, with his book Aviation Landmarks Norfolk and Suffolk.

The significance of aviation landmarks in West Norfolk has been documented in a new book thanks to a historian from Docking.

Peter Gunn has released his seventh book, Aviation Landmarks Norfolk and Suffolk, which explores important sites in the region.

Peter Gunn, from Docking, with his book Aviation Landmarks Norfolk and Suffolk.
Peter Gunn, from Docking, with his book Aviation Landmarks Norfolk and Suffolk.

Mr Gunn, a former history teacher, said his latest publication was the result of three and a half years of work.

“I’ve had a lifelong interest in aviation, particularly in local aviation and flights – things like that,” he said.

“There’s a long history of aviation, particularly in this area. What I have done is I’ve hoped to cover Norfolk and Suffolk buildings, the aviation landmarks, and anything that’s been left behind.

“My intention was to go round various villages and towns and to say if there was anything of interest in that place.”

No. 107 Sqn personnel outside the former Fox and Pheasant pub, Great Massingham, during the summer of 1941, as pictured in Aviation Landmarks Norfolk and Suffolk by Peter B. Gunn. Mr Gunn said: "The squadron was equipped with Blenheim IV light bombers and suffered very heavy losses attacking targets in occupied Europe. Few were to survive the war. The former pub is now a private house."
No. 107 Sqn personnel outside the former Fox and Pheasant pub, Great Massingham, during the summer of 1941, as pictured in Aviation Landmarks Norfolk and Suffolk by Peter B. Gunn. Mr Gunn said: "The squadron was equipped with Blenheim IV light bombers and suffered very heavy losses attacking targets in occupied Europe. Few were to survive the war. The former pub is now a private house."

Airfields, radar stations, churches, memorials, museums and country houses are just some of the locations explored in the book.

More unusual sites such as pubs, streets and village signs are also included, such as the Fox and Pheasant pub in Great Massingham, which personnel from the No. 107 Squadron were pictured outside of during the summer of 1941.

In the book, Mr Gunn says: “Favourite pubs for the airmen include the Fox and the Pheasant (nicknamed the ‘Poxy Peasant’), which is now a private house; the Oak – a haunt of No. 169 Squadron personnel, and also no longer a pub; the Rose and Crown (nowadays the Dabbling Duck) where there was a book containing the signatures and mementoes of veterans.”

Facts relating to both the past and present of landmarks are at the core of the book, including the historic and current usage of the site at RAF Marham.

Observation tower in Grimston Warren, as pictured in Aviation Landmarks Norfolk and Suffolk by Peter B. Gunn. Mr Gunn said: "This was one of two towers which served an artillery and bombing range during World War Two. Nearby there was also a searchlight battery."
Observation tower in Grimston Warren, as pictured in Aviation Landmarks Norfolk and Suffolk by Peter B. Gunn. Mr Gunn said: "This was one of two towers which served an artillery and bombing range during World War Two. Nearby there was also a searchlight battery."

The historian is hopeful that his newest work will be of interest to both the general reader as well as aviation enthusiasts.

“I would hope anyone would be able to enjoy it. It concentrates on aviation in these villages and towns, but I hope that generally readers would find it interesting to discover what happened in their area,” Mr Gunn said.

“I’ve been interested in this for 30 odd years and I’ve amassed so much material over the years, it made sense to put it in to a book.”

In addition to the guide through the region’s landmarks, the book also contains an aviation timeline and map references so readers can visit the locations if they wish to.

Handley Page Harrow of 115 Squadron at Marham in 1938, as pictured in Aviation Landmarks Norfolk and Suffolk by Peter B. Gunn. Mr Gunn said: "This was one of the main bomber squadrons at the station after it had reopened in 1937."
Handley Page Harrow of 115 Squadron at Marham in 1938, as pictured in Aviation Landmarks Norfolk and Suffolk by Peter B. Gunn. Mr Gunn said: "This was one of the main bomber squadrons at the station after it had reopened in 1937."

Mr Gunn’s previous works include Sculthorpe Secrecy and Stealth: A Norfolk Airfield in the Cold War, Naught Escapes Us: The Story of 206 Squadron, and Flying Lives with a Norfolk Theme.

Aviation Landmarks Norfolk and Suffolk is available for purchase now, with a recommended retail price (RRP) of £19.99.

Brochure from an 'At Home' at Marham in 1958 showing off the pride of the V-bomber fleet, as pictured in Aviation Landmarks Norfolk and Suffolk by Peter B. Gunn. Mr Gunn said: "Marham continues to be one of the most important military bases in the country. It is about to host the revolutionary F-35 Lightning strike fighter which will operate jointly with the RAF and Fleet Air Arm."
Brochure from an 'At Home' at Marham in 1958 showing off the pride of the V-bomber fleet, as pictured in Aviation Landmarks Norfolk and Suffolk by Peter B. Gunn. Mr Gunn said: "Marham continues to be one of the most important military bases in the country. It is about to host the revolutionary F-35 Lightning strike fighter which will operate jointly with the RAF and Fleet Air Arm."
Sedgeford airfield in 1917, as pictured in Aviation Landmarks Norfolk and Suffolk by Peter B. Gunn. Mr Gunn said: "The aircraft is a Martinsyde Elephant and the pilot Charles Eaton who was later to become a pioneer aviator in Australia's Northern Territory."
Sedgeford airfield in 1917, as pictured in Aviation Landmarks Norfolk and Suffolk by Peter B. Gunn. Mr Gunn said: "The aircraft is a Martinsyde Elephant and the pilot Charles Eaton who was later to become a pioneer aviator in Australia's Northern Territory."
A memorial to three wartime crashes in the village of Weasenham All Saints, as pictured in Aviation Landmarks Norfolk and Suffolk by Peter B. Gunn. Mr Gunn said: "The first commemorates a crew of three from a Blenheim of 114 Squadron which crashed in the village in 1942; the second for a crew of four from a Mitchell of 98 Squadron also in 1942; the third from a Boston of 342 'Lorraine' Squadron in 1943. The four French crew died in the crash."
A memorial to three wartime crashes in the village of Weasenham All Saints, as pictured in Aviation Landmarks Norfolk and Suffolk by Peter B. Gunn. Mr Gunn said: "The first commemorates a crew of three from a Blenheim of 114 Squadron which crashed in the village in 1942; the second for a crew of four from a Mitchell of 98 Squadron also in 1942; the third from a Boston of 342 'Lorraine' Squadron in 1943. The four French crew died in the crash."


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