Royal Naval Air Station Narborough - 1915 to 1919
Narborough aerodrome was opened in August 1915, as a night flying landing ground satellite for RNAS Great Yarmouth, which was used principally for defence against Zeppelin raids. By the summer of 1916 Narborough was a RFC military night flying ground and summer camp. Narborough was a completely separate base set up a few miles down the road from RAF Marham.
On 28th May 1916, 35 Sqn of 7 Wing arrived from Snarehill with FB5, BE2c, BE2e and Armstrong Whitworth FK3 (Little Ack-W) aircraft; training as a corps reconnaissance unit until 25th January 1917, when the squadron moved to France equipped with Armstrong Whitworth FK8 (Big Ack-W) aircraft. 59 Sqn was formed here on 1st August 1916, as a corps reconnaissance unit with RE8 (`Arry Tate) and possibly DH2 aircraft. After training, the squadron moved to France on 13th February 1917.
48 Reserve Sqn of 7 Wing formed here on 2nd November 1916, moving to Waddington eleven days later with DH6 Shorthorn and RE8 Aircraft. 50 Reserve Sqn arrived on 14th December 1916, renamed 50 Training Sqn on 31st May 1917. It flew various types of aircraft, including DH6, FK3 and FK8. During November 1917, the squadron moved to Spittlegate. 53 Reserve Sqn arrived from Sedgeford on 14th December 1916, being renamed 53 Training Sqn on 31st May 1917. This unit flew Avro 504J, DH6, RE8 and BE2e aircraft. During December 1917, they moved to Harlaxton, as did 64 Training Sqn, which arrived here on 14th April 1917 as a reserve squadron flying RE8, Avro 504A and BE2e aircraft. 1 Training Sqn formed here on 1st October 1917 with Sopwith Camel aircraft and moved to Oxford nine days later.
On 12th December 1917, 83 Sqn of 7 Wing arrived from Wyton for training in the night bomber role with FE2b and FE2d aircraft. When the squadron left for France on the 6th March 1918, the FE2s were used mainly to bomb enemy bases and airfields at night. On 1st January 1918, 121 Sqn was formed here with DH9 light bomber aircraft.
The Unit did not became operational and was disbanded on 10th August 1918. 26 Sqn was based at Narborough in February 1918, Flying Farman, FK3, BE2c and BE2e aircraft, as was 69 Training Sqn which flew De Havilland types.
On 12th September 1918, 55 Training Depot Station of 39 Wing formed at Marham, with pupils and instructors flying their aircraft in small formations from Manston in Kent. As well as Avro 504 trainers a number of DH9s with dual controls were used, with the instructor sitting in the gunner’s cockpit. One of the instructors was 2nd Lieutenant Alan Cobham (later Sir Alan Cobham). On 11th November 1918, aircraft from Marham bombed Narborough with flour bags to celebrate Armistice, in retaliation the Narborough aircraft bombed Marham with bags of soot. In March 1919, 55 TDS reformed as 55 Training Sqn of 3 Group, RAF and remained here until July 1919.
56, 60 and 64 Sqns of 38 Wing arrived in mid February 1919, from the Western Front as Cadre only (no aircraft). 64 Sqn disbanded on 31st December 1919, while 56 and 60 Sqns left for Bircham Newton, leaving the station to close down and return to agriculture.
At its peak, Narborough covered 908 acres, including 30 acres of buildings that included: seven large hangars, seven MT sheds, five workshops, two coal yards, two Sgt’s Messes, three Dope sheds and a guard house.
The last hangar that had been used by farmers was demolished in mid 1977, having been damaged by gales.