According to a newsrelease issued on 12th April, Broadland District Council is to spend money on an "unexploded ordinance sweep to check for live ammunition given the site’s wartime use". If they had read the EDP's letter page recently they would have seen that the likelihood of finding something is rather high! Below is a copy of the (full) letter sent to the EDP:
"Following up on the agreement by majority of Broadland Rural District Conservative Councillors to accept the Joint Core Strategy at the Broadland RDC meeting on 22 March. I would make reference to page 18 in the JCS 'Concept Statement in respect of Rackheath Eco-Community' - Paragraphs 4.50 to 4.53. headed 'Unexploded Ordnance'. As the UK based 467th Bombardment Group Veterans Association historian it is appropriate at this point to mention that I spent 5 years researching and writing the history of the Group and especially while it was at Rackheath. The Para 4.50 - 'there is no evidence of discovery of unexploded ordnance' - I wonder who has checked that out. I would add as a matter of interest in May 2010 I found 'a live although showing signs of wear' '50 calibre machine-gun shell off the southern end of the main runway - I would add that this is all on private property areas and before entering I first obtained permission to do so.
Para 4.51 relating to the layout of the airfield - the information is incomplete as apart from the 90,000 gallon fuel storage tank near Salhouse rail station there was also another fuel storage tank of identical capacity on the western side of the airfield - there is a possibility of soil contamination by spillage of lead treated gasoline used at that time for the aircraft engines. On 15th April 1945 Napalm bombs were dropped for the first time on a target in German occupied territory when the 467th Group 'planes at Rackheath were loaded with these unstable bombs to attack Royan, France - the jellifed petroleum was packed in a heavy cardboard casing which was about 8 feet in length and 18 inches in diameter and it is fact that some of the bombs presented a problem when their detonator popped out like a loose cork. There is a possibility that some of the content of those Napalm bombs leaking while being handled and loaded on to the B-24s on their various hardstandings and possibly causing some contamination to the soil.
Probably many of the local inhabitants and also Broadland RDC Officers and Councillors are unaware that ten days after the USAAF personnel vacated Rackheath airfield on 5th July 1945 members of the RAF 231 Maintenance Unit took up occupation (in February 1948 became 94 M.S.U).Their duties included handling stocks of surplus to requirements bombs and various explosive materials, including float flares which were transported to Rackheath. The bombs ranging from 250-lb to 4,000-lb High Explosives were stacked on both sides of the main runway right up to July 1948 - when the bombs reached a certain age they were 'shipped out' of Rackheath mainly by rail to north-western coastal areas of the UK and replaced by 'later-dated stock'.
I consider that these facts relating to the airfield at Rackheath should be more widely known to the public at large and especially to the companies that may become involved in any part of the development work, that is if the so-called eco Town at Rackheath ever comes about."
The Evening News have taken up the story and printed an article which already has two pertinent comments.