Snetterton Airfield MonumentBack Snetterton Circuit, Norfolk.
Monument to the American 96 Bomb Group.
- Year of construction
- Protected status
Snetterton Heath was built in 1942 on a large expanse of heath and was originally intended for RAF use as a bomber station. It was handed over to American use and became operational in mid-1943. For most of the war it was the home of 96 Bomb Group of the 3rd Air Division, equipped with B-17 Flying Fortresses and also one of the HQ units of the division. The 96th Bomb Group flew 321 missions from Snetterton and lost some 189 aircraft, the highest number of losses for a group in the 3rd Air Division.
During the war 96th Group received two Distinguished Unit Citations, one for the part in the raid on Regensburg in 1943 and the second for the raid on Poznan in 1944.
The American personnel left in November and December 1945 and the airfield was returned to the RAF before being sold in 1952. A weekend market is now held on the site, but the former airfield is also the site of Snetterton Racetrack, where the racing circuit is now an important site in British motorsport. Interestingly, the nearby airfield at Kenninghall was used for this purpose, but racing was discontinued following objections of the landowner and so Snetterton was used instead.
As far as Second World War heritage is concerned, the site can boast one of the more impressive airfield memorials; in this case a large metal B-17 swooping upwards into the sky.