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Norton Aerodrome


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LeadFarmer
On 27/02/2012 at 20:48, CJax kid said:

I grew up on the gleadless valley estate close to the old base at Norton. I regularly would take the family dogs down Lightwood lane for long walks and on some occasions would walk on a foot path across farm land that took you to the south eastern side of the old camp. At the edge of the camp on the edge of woodland there is a big concrete bunker. It was a considerable structure, Steel doors either end and inside chairs, steel frame bunk beds, a couple of decades of rubbish and graffiti. It was a wellies on exploration inside as there always seemed to be about a foot of water in it. Growing up during the cold war I was convinced that if the russians had pressed the button that bunker may have been one of the few places to shelter. Being so close to sheffield city centre..probably not!! but the thought was comforting to at least one young gleadless lad..wonder if anyone else came across it?? Its not visible on google earth..Ive looked. Will take a walk down memory lane during the summer and take some photos of it and post.

Replying to an old post, but heres some photos I took a few years ago of the bunker within the aerodrome. It was my playground as a kid back in the late 70's & 80's. I used to peer inside but it was a dark damp and frightening place as a young kid...

 

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The bunker is hidden from view by the tree at the end of the dead end track to the right..

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Number 16 Balloon Centre at RAF Norton was the headquarters and main base for the Sheffield Balloon barrage ( original HQ @ 641, Attercliffe Road). The first operational use of the barrage was made on 26 August 1939 and, at full strength, ( WAAF's and  locally recruited members of members of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force) they could deploy a total of 72 of the 63 x 31 ft balloons at a height of around 6,000 ft. No 939 Sqdn was responsible for the western area ( HQ Broom Grove Road),No 940 Sqdn for Rotherham ( HQ...Station Hotel, Rotherham) whilst No. 941 positioned itself in the middle of the zone ( HQ Scott Road).

The balloons operated from a number of sites around the zone and consisted of a crew of ten and a motorised winch. As the chronic shortage of men became ever more obvious moves were made to operate the potentially hazardous balloon barrages with all women crews and Sheffield was chosen for the experiment...This was an overwhelming success and by 1941 thousands of WAAF's and their NCO's were taking over balloon barrage sites throughout the country.

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John Greenwood

i remember going to airshows in the 50's loads of static planes and fly passes

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My grandad used to teach my mother to drive on the old aerodrome.  I  think many other people used it for driving lessons too.

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My parents blew certain parts of the norton aerodrome up the bunkers i believe, it was a disused air base in WW2 they also pulled other parts of it down to the company that they was known by was A.D.H Demolition Limited also famous demolition lady of our time (DOT HULL SHEFFIELD), ill try to find some photos i know we have

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Banjo PickingBuddy

I was a member of 317 Sqdn ATC back around 1959, I see the row of huts close to the road that we used are still shown on Google Earth. 

Anyone remember WO Nichols, Sgt Aston, Cpl Tinsley from back them?

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RAF Norton was an active base during WW2. and for some years after .It was the HQ for Number 16  balloon centre responsible for 72 balloons around the Sheffield Gun Defended Area and was the first unit to have all female crews.

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My Father was a bus/tram driver during the war years for Sheffield Corporation. He once told me that the aerodrome was used at nights during the blitz to store the Corporations buses, to save them from damage.

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ManoutotCity

I lived opposite the camp on Raeburn Road,  late 5Os when the maisonettes were newly built so had a grandstand view of what to a young lad, was a fascinating place. Yes definitely  two ‘gate guards’ ; a wartime monoplane fighter  ( I’d have said a Hurricane but bow to better recall of others. Similarly, I’d have said in camo colours but unsure now. Certain however that’s its small (jet fighter) companion was silver though couldn’t now state its type). Recall the ’At Home Days’. Also the active maingate/guardroom. I believe that  the place even had its own (WAAF) band!

My understanding was that the Station  was mainly  a wireless maintenance unit - they had Bedford QL box and GS body wagons which I believe followed the Op Overlord invasion force into Normandy, I guess in support of the Tactical Air Force.

It was also a local barrage balloon site, as others have stated.

RAF NORTON also had a dubious reputation with aircrew as the Med Unit/hospital took flying nervous exhaustion cases and it seems that the term ‘Low Moral Fibre’ was part of the vocabulary there. I think there was a link with the The Matlock Hydro Hotel which was used for  similar purposes - though possibly for Commissioned Officer Aircrew, whilst Norton was  for WOs/NCOs? When I was last in The City, the shell of the old medical centre was still standing - the low building closest to the ‘Bagshaw roundabout ‘.

People always assumed that there was a runway there which of course, there wasn’t!

Saw the place progressively falling apart in the remaining years I was in Sheffield. 

Heard about but don’t recall,  the big Admiralty sheds at Four Lane Ends (I think in the vicinity of the big schools and the new St James? Shopping Centre which I think were finally demolished as late as the 60s but I don’t recall them. I was told that they were used for rebuilding old biplanes which were flown in and out of Apperknowle grass strip...  but truthfully,  beyond my positive knowledge. In summary,  Gleadless and surroundings an interesting  area in this context.

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