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Page last updated at 11:15 GMT, Thursday, 3 September 2009 12:15 UK
Norfolk at war: 70 years since WWII
Spitfires (PA)
Norfolk's residents recall the height of conflict during WWII

Seventy years ago on 3 September, 1939, Britain declared war on Germany after their invasion of Poland two days previous, marking the start of WWII.

Many Norfolk residents remember the traumas of WWII and some extraordinary and emotional stories have come from all over the county.

There were fears that north Norfolk could see a German invasion and the county's airfields were at the forefront of Britain's aerial militia.

Take a listen to tales of Norfolk at war as the county prepared itself for five years of conflict.

North Norfolk villages

There were fears that North Norfolk could see a German invasion and small coastal villages were suddenly placed on the frontline.

BBC Radio Norfolk's Jill Bennett heard how Ann Head, Ivan Sands and Diana Mansell, who live in the Burnhams, were all faced with the threat of enemy confrontation.

Evacuating to Hunstanton

Dot Hanscombe was evacuated to Hunstanton during Operation Pied Piper, where thousands of children from Britain's industrial cities were sent to rural areas during WWII.

Fitting in with her new family and classmates was not an easy task for the London girl.

"[Our family] really didn't want us. They were much poorer here and we had less food than we had in London," said Dot.

BBC Radio Norfolk's Jill Bennett spoke to Dot about her experience and how it changed her life.

Norfolk's airfields
Martin Bowman, aviation expert from Norfolk
Martin Bowman has a great knowledge of Norfolk's airfields

During WWII, Norfolk's airfields became home to hundreds of RAF and USAF airmen to provide an aerial threat to the increasingly powerful German Luftwaffe.

BBC Radio Norfolk's Wally Webb talks to Martin Bowman, an aviation expert in Norwich, about the role of the county's airfields during the height of war.

Revisiting RAF Coltishall

RAF Coltishall in Norfolk saw an abundance of activity during WWII and it was under regular attack from German bombers.

BBC Radio Norfolk's Wally Webb revisits the derelict WWII base and interviews Mervyn Cousens, estate manager, and John Welton from Spirit of Coltishall.

"The station was built as part of the expansion period just before the war, so they knew it was coming," said John.

"All the effort went into building a station that would defend the country," he added.

Impact on Great Yarmouth

Great Yarmouth, a thriving fishing port during the early part of the 1900s, saw its fair share of action in WWII.

Its economy suffered as the town effectively shut down.

"Yarmouth changed considerably because it became a frontline town very quickly - people were banned from going in," said Colin Tooke, a local historian.

BBC Radio Norfolk's Andrew Turner takes a look at the impact the war had on the Norfolk town.




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