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King’s Lynn Air Cadets mark RAF’s 100 years with Heritage Arts Trail

King's Lynn Air Cadets Squadron 42F with specially-commissioned and decorated model aircraft for the Heritage Arts Trail. Photo: SUBMITTED.
King's Lynn Air Cadets Squadron 42F with specially-commissioned and decorated model aircraft for the Heritage Arts Trail. Photo: SUBMITTED.

An air cadet squadron in West Norfolk is helping to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force thanks to their involvement in a commemorative arts trail in the county.

The 42F King’s Lynn Air Cadet Squadron have helped to create the RAF100 Heritage Arts Trail, which is to be launched at RAF Marham today.

A spokesman for the squadron said they were successful in securing a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant last year enabling them to research the military airfields of Norfolk, of which 40, all with links to the RAF, were chosen for study.

He said: “The cadets were assisted in their research by the Heritage Centre at RAF Marham, where much archived information was available and from where they were able to obtain precise locations, maps and photographs for each of the 40 fields chosen for the project.”

The information obtained from the research is being used to provide history display boards at each of the airfield locations, in addition to fibreglass model aircraft, of various types, which have all been adopted and individually decorated by local schools, air cadet squadrons, business organisations and the squadrons at RAF Marham.

The spokesman said: “With the assistance of Openreach, each of the model aircrafts and information boards have been installed at each of the airfield locations.”

He said some of the airfields are now just farmers fields, but from these places it will be possible to gain an understanding of the events that took place during both world wars, when the skies over Norfolk were filled with aircraft on a daily basis.

Narborough, Barton Bendish, Downham, Methwold, Sculthorpe and Sedgeford are just some of the 40 locations of the trail in our part of the county.

The spokesman said that during the research for the project the cadets learnt much about the activities of the RAF during the past 100 years and a party from the squadron will be travelling to Belgium at Easter to lay a wreath in remembrance at the famous Menin Gate memorial.

They will also be visiting the RAF memorial at St Orner in France, where the first aircraft of the then, Royal Flying Corps, landed at the start of the First World War.

He said: “While in Belgium, the cadets will be staying in Ypres and if anyone has a relative who was lost and is buried in the area of the Ypres Salient should contact Flt Lt Pauline Petch at 42F Sqn Air Training Corps on 42@aircadets.org with the details, who will endeavour to arrange for a cadet to place a cross on the grave on their behalf.”

The Heritage Arts Trail will be in place from the end of March until October and will be accessible by car and cycle.

A cycling sportive has also been organised and will take place on Sunday, June 17, starting and finishing at RAF Marham, when cyclists will be able to opt for routes around the airfields of varying distances.

As the cycle sportive is being held on Father’s Day, a special gift will be available on the day for all the dads who sign up with at least one child.

For more information, go to www.active.com and search for ‘RAF100’.

A commemorative cycle jersey has also been commissioned for the arts trail sportive, which can be purchased on the RAF100 Heritage Arts Trail website, where more details regarding the trail can also be found: www.heritageartstrail.com.

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