A Retired General in WW2
A General in Peacetime

Not on the Map

Entrance Road to RAF Finmere

The Monday Photo

This junction is shown on some post World War 2 maps as a sharp bend, but before the war it used to be a crossroads, not a ’T’ junction. But why did this happen? It’s all because of RAF Finmere.

After the airfield was built in 1941/2, the lane that goes from this junction to Tingewick (Leading towards the distant woods in the photo) was closed. From this junction during WW2 (and, I think, until the airfield closed in the 1950s) it went only to the main airfield entrance.

One of the runways, now almost parallel to the modern dualed A421, went straight across the course of our lane. The runway stops short now, but you can see it to your right as you turn off the A421 to come down the lane.

Details of operational RAF bases (and other things) were not shown on our maps because of the Cold War; why help the enemy? So as a part of RAF Finmere the road could not be shown until the base closed in 1956.

But before RAF Finmere was built this was a crossroads; what happened to the other road that led from here? Nearly all of it disappeared under the airfield, though a little bit was reused as an internal road. The lane joined another road at a ’T’ junction that one runway was built right on top of.

Before 1941 you could turn right at that 'T' junction and shortly reach the main road, now the A4421.

That spot is easy to find today because it became an access point to the airfield for maintenance or emergencies; there’s a gate there still. But if you turned left it wasn’t far to Barton Hartshorn.

With these changes Barton Hartshorn would become a village on a dead end road. They would have no direct access to the main road or Finmere railway station, and no direct access to Tingewick either. At a time when few owned a car or motorcycle and petrol was restricted anyway, this would have been a great problem.

The solution was to build a new road. From the bend at the West end of Barton Hartshorn it went across the fields, more or less following the hedgerows, to reach the main road close to Finmere Station.

What’s left of the old lane is now a private track, that heads North from Barton Hartshorn until it stops at the airfield perimeter.

The village still had an extra mile to go to reach Tingewick, one of the nearest villages of any size, but it was a much shorter journey by road to Finmere Station. The new road also just happened to mean a shorter journey from the station to the airfield...

What changes due to historical events have changed where you live?

This post's photos were taken with a Pentax camera and lenses.

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