Old Buckenham Airfield Recording Event – A Wonderful Day

On a rather windy 17th April the Eighth in the East ran the first archaeology training day of the project. Meeting in the car park of Old Buckenham airfield, wartime home to Jimmy Stewart – Hollywood legend and Operations Officer with the 453rd BG, the team travelled across the runway in convoy to the original 8th USAAF buildings – now home to the collection of the East of England Military Museum.

The day began with a short talk given by Hannah Potter, Community Archaeologist for Eighth in the East, and James Albone from Norfolk County Council. The presentation include key points on what makes an airfield, health and safety, types of airfield buildings, how to record buildings, and how to complete the Eighth in the East recording forms so they can be used to enhance the local Historic Environment Service.

Following a lunch stop at Jimmy’s Café at Old Buckenham airfield, the team split into two groups to test out the skills they had learnt that morning. The first group recorded a large storage building. Using one of the original airfield plans the team were able to identify that it once formed part of a larger group on the edge of the runways and seemed to still have its original door and some paintwork.

Group two recorded two smaller buildings, one of which included exploring a patch of woodland to record a blast shelter which appeared to still be in very good condition and with original sandbags around the entrance. The information on the forms will soon be made available on the Norfolk Historic Environment Record for the public to view.

The volunteers were then given the opportunity to discuss their findings and ask any questions they might have about filling in the forms. These volunteers are now using the recording forms to record airfield buildings local to them in the hope that we will be able to get a better idea of how many survive and their current condition.

The Eighth in the East team would like to thank everyone at the East of England Military Museum Old Buckenham Airfield and Jimmy’s Cafe for making the day possible.

Here’s what our participants had to say about the event:

A wonderful day.

Brilliant Course. well put together and very accessible.

Thank you, I enjoyed it.

Very enjoyable, and now want to know more.

Many more training days such as this will be running throughout the project. If you are interested in joining our archaeology mailing list or finding out about a training day near you, please email [email protected]. No previous experience of airfields or archaeology is necessary!