2 Squadron History

RAF Marham 1935 - 1939

RAF Marham - The New Site 1935 - 1939
Construction started on the present-day Marham aerodrome in the first half of 1935 as part of the RAF's pre-war expansion program. By July 1936, work was progressing well: two new public roads had been laid down around the aerodrome to replace the country lanes that used to run across the site, including ‘Old Dibbles Drove’.

When completed the aerodrome was a completely self-contained township, with 15 acres of playing fields devoted to cricket, hockey, rugby and association football. A combined church and cinema, fire station, sick quarters, shops, stores, even prison cells and exercise yard besides the clutch of hangers for the ‘business end’ of the station.

Materials used included 6.5 million bricks, 5000 tons of cement, 40 000 tons of ballast and sand, 1 million tiles and slates, 100 000 square feet of glass, 2000 tons of lead, 50 miles of electricity cable, 7 miles of salt-glazed drain pipes and 20 tons of nails. The aerodrome opened on schedule on 1st April 1937, as a heavy bomber unit within 3 Group, Bomber Command.

38 Sqn arrived on 5th May 1937 with twin-engined Fairey Hendon bombers, which had a top speed of 155 knots. A month later 115 Sqn re-formed at Marham and began to receive some Handley Page Harrows.

While these were being delivered, the sqn borrowed some Hendons from 38 Sqn in order to get going. After two months, all of the Harrows had arrived and both sqns spent the next two years working up and taking part in pre-war exercises. In December 1938, 38 Sqn re-equipped with Wellington I Bombers, followed in 1939 by 115 Sqn.

In the immediate pre-war years a number of airmen from Marham had an arrangement with a Mr Norton Greenard, a local motor trader, who ran his own hire-purchase scheme. Each Saturday, Mr Greenard would go to Marham and collect one pound from each of his customers, then they would go to the pub and he would spend all of what he had just collected!

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