The airfield lies 11 miles NE of Norwich, half a
mile west of Ludham village, in Norfolk, East Anglia.
Operational flying commenced in November of 1941,
Ludham being used as a forward base for fighter command when the
Spitfires of 152 squadron began to make daily use of the airfield.
It was to be used by many RAF squadrons over next three years but
none were to stay for very long. The station was closed to flying
operations in July 1943 and work commenced to build three concrete
runways, taxi tracks and aircraft hard standings. This work was done
to prepare the station for its next intended occupants, the U.S.
Eighth Air Force, but they never took up the option of using Ludham
for operational duties.
The upgrade work was to take a year, after which
time the station remained empty of all but its maintenance
complement until August 1944. Although not an operational station in
its own right, Ludham was opened by a skeleton duty crew to provide
emergency recovery facilities for American bombers returning from
raids on the continent; Ludham being the first airfield on the
flight path home to Norfolk. In total 8 B17s, 1 B24, 1 P47, & 1 P48
aircraft did have to either crash or make emergency landings at
Ludham or in the surrounding area.
LUDHAM was transferred from RAF No. 12 Group to
Admiralty charge 24th August 1944, an advance party of the Mobile
Naval Airfields Organisation arriving to occupy the airfield the day
before. The station commissioned as H.M.S. FLYCATCHER, R.N.A.S.
LUDHAM on September 4th.
The RAF wasted mo time in utilising the station, No. 602 (City of
Glasgow) squadron arriving within days of the navy leaving on the
23rd, and began operational sorties the following day with their
Spitfire XVs. They were joined by 603 (City of Edinburgh) squadron
the next day, also flying Spitfires. Both squadrons were to return
to Coltishall on April 5th. The next unit to arrive was 91
squadron which flew in from Manston three days later on the 8th.
They were to be joined by No. 1 squadron, also flying the new
Spitfire XXIs, arrived on the 14th of May 1945; this was to be a
brief stay before both units departing on July 14th.
No further flying was to take place at Ludham; the station was
placed on Care & Maintenance on August 8th 1945. Control transferred
to 60 group Fighter Command, on September 3rd and the accommodation
sites were straight away utilised for housing personnel from
surrounding RAF establishments, the station becoming officially
titled 60 Group Personnel Holding Unit on September 25th. The site
officially closed in April 1946.