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Richard Flagg
24-12-2008, 16:16
There is no referance to Selsey / Church Norton in the Willis & Hollis bible that I can see, does anyone have a map of the airfield. I know there is very little to see there now apart from a hangar and a memorial, can anyone point me in the right direction of the location of these two?

PNK
24-12-2008, 19:52
Richard,

Richard Drew's site has Selsey and Funtington, including a period aerial photo. http://www.atlantikwall.co.uk/atlantikwall/atlantikwall_html/001_atlantikwall_site/home.html.

bvs
03-05-2009, 08:14
There is no referance to Selsey / Church Norton in the Willis & Hollis bible that I can see, does anyone have a map of the airfield. I know there is very little to see there now apart from a hangar and a memorial, can anyone point me in the right direction of the location of these two?

Hi Richard
This thread prompted me to join !
Yes the Wallis/Hollis book is a little confusing about Selsey,I live in W Sussex and looked into this a little - some years ago.
It appeared that they put Selsey in the wrong location,but confusingly had 'Ferry Halt' as the nearest station,the 'Selsey Tram' had a 'Ferry Halt' station just south of Sidlesham near Broad Rife bridge (just NW of Selsey Airfield location),but also confusingly I was under the impression that the Selsey Tram closed in 1935 and have not heard of it reopening during the war.
The area Wallis/Hollis have marked as Selsey does have similarities to a minor airfield location,and I did do a quick walk there many years ago,always meant to go back with a camera but never did ! The location I think may be close to a 30's planned civil aerodrome (Rose Green ??) but not sure if ever used.
I never did get to the bottom of it.
Some Selsey Tram pics here

http://www.colonelstephenssociety.co.uk ... llery.html (http://www.colonelstephenssociety.co.uk/ST%20WSR%20Photo%20gallery.html)

regards B

PNK
03-05-2009, 10:55
We had a chalet in Selsey in the early 60s (1960-1964 IIRC) in a place called "Little Spain". The track to the complex passed some old bramble covered buildings and I think an air raid shelter. I remember being told this was part of an old airfield. In those days I new nothing (being 8!) so I was gutted when decades later I found the airfield was some distance away to the east!
My younger sister and I used to walk into Selsey town to by toy zoo animals from a shop there. This was on our own!
How times have changed!

bvs
03-05-2009, 11:12
We had a chalet in Selsey in the early 60s (1960-1964 IIRC) in a place called "Little Spain". The track to the complex passed some old bramble covered buildings and I think an air raid shelter. I remember being told this was part of an old airfield. In those days I new nothing (being 8!) so I was gutted when decades later I found the airfield was some distance away to the east!
My younger sister and I used to walk into Selsey town to by toy zoo animals from a shop there. This was on our own!
How times have changed!

I know what you mean...when I were a lad - I was never at home...except when hungry of course :)

edit...actually thinking about it ISTR there was an ELG at Earnley,and I guessed (years ago) that it may have been located at the holiday complex...is that the place you refer to ? nr Marsh Farm.May have had WW1 use ??

bvs
03-05-2009, 11:38
Earnley is mentioned as WW1 on this website,but actual location seemingly unverified

http://www.abct.org.uk/feedback.html

tyffie
31-05-2009, 12:13
The airfield you refered to at Little spain,Selsey was a single runway running NE/SW built I was told as an ELG. I was told this by an ex Hawker Typhoon pilot who lived in Selsey until he died in 1998. The runway can easily be seen on aerial photos by the gaps in the hedges and the filled in ditches. There is a large building to the south of it that has always been known as the Hanger, also on the main road into Selsey just north of the new roundabout is what I was told was the control tower which has been converted into a house. I have not been able to verify this information with any documentary evidence yet.

PNK
31-05-2009, 15:28
I know that "Little Spain" was built on 9 holes of a golf course but it could have been an ELG at one point but I doubt whether it would have had any facilities at all. If it was used I haven't found any mention of it. It could be the later ALG further east took all the credit.

bvs
31-05-2009, 23:23
I know that "Little Spain" was built on 9 holes of a golf course but it could have been an ELG at one point but I doubt whether it would have had any facilities at all. If it was used I haven't found any mention of it. It could be the later ALG further east took all the credit.

Let me know if you are ever down this way and we can have a 'nosey'

regards b

Blackadder
23-11-2009, 00:49
Aerial of Selsey with rough runway directions marked on

http://i583.photobucket.com/albums/ss276/anon240577/SelseyALGrwys2007.jpg

PNK
23-11-2009, 08:01
The bombing ang gunnery range between Selsey and Bracklesham would probably rule out any ELG activity near Earnley.

walwyn
27-12-2010, 22:39
The airfield you refered to at Little spain,Selsey was a single runway running NE/SW built I was told as an ELG. I was told this by an ex Hawker Typhoon pilot who lived in Selsey until he died in 1998. The runway can easily be seen on aerial photos by the gaps in the hedges and the filled in ditches. There is a large building to the south of it that has always been known as the Hanger, also on the main road into Selsey just north of the new roundabout is what I was told was the control tower which has been converted into a house. I have not been able to verify this information with any documentary evidence yet.

The 'control tower'(corner of Chichester Rd and Park Lane ?) was already there in 1943 and was always a house ( I was 3-4 at the time) and lived at "The Elms" 300 yards further down towards Selsey on the left and bang opposite to the entrance of Golf Links Lane.
Prior to living at "The Elms" we lived at "Blythe Cottage" which was pulled down in 1943/4 as it stood on the roadside (on the Chichester road) , right at the end of the NE:SW runway of ALG Selsey.I have 'photos of it's former glory if you wish.

PNK
27-12-2010, 23:00
Welcome to the forum walwyn. Yes, the photos would be very interesting.

The road/track that led to the Chalets (1962-4) had a bramble covered building with what looked like a chimney poking out the top. As kids we thought this was a quaint little cottage. Very quaint as it may only have been 6 or 7 feet from ground to top!
What triggered this post was that the decoy buildngs remind me othe this old building. Was there one in the area? The buildings location is hard to pinpoint as the area has changed a lot in the last 46 years but I would estimate it was somewhere around SZ856943.

buccaneer66
27-12-2010, 23:25
A good job the railway was no longer operating as well it closed in 1935.

short shetland
31-07-2011, 15:44
I lived almost on the top of Church Norton during ww2, my gran"s beautiful cottage , almost at the western end of the 04 22 wire tracking was demolished for this airfield. It can easily be seen where the road was widened some years later. I was at C/Norton when the first squadrons of Spit"s arrived. They landed from the north east, over the open ground where the memoial stands. That piece of road was always open if there was no flying.

The "modern" house further along on the left was used by squadron commanders and their names were still on the doors long after the war.

As our house was the first to-wards Selsey we had many of the pilots in and out and one of the WAAF officers came in on D-day morning and told us IT had started. Some of the Belgian pilots whom we knew didn"t come back.

This large meadow was a private airfield before the war and a bit further on into the trees on the left is the small hanger where I remember seeing light aeroplanes parked. It"s still there but now but full of farm machinery.

Going through the lych gate into the churchyard, there were Spitfires parked against the wall on the left and the grave stones as one can see still there on the church side. Quite a contrast !
Do hope this message gets through as I have plenty more info" on this place.

Short shetland

short shetland
31-07-2011, 16:24
Hallo walwyn M didn"t know you lived at the Elms I"d like a photo of gran"s "Blythe" cottage, I"ve alway tried to remember what it was like, I remember the inside, the "copper in the kitchen and the beautiful garden. I"m not sure that the White House, corner of Chichester rd and Park Lane was the control tower for the airfield. I remember uncle J did Home Guard duty there because of it"s flat foof. Do you also remember when we used to go to the Norton church yard and watch the typhoons firing their rockets into target in Pagham harbour. There was a contol tower just up from where we watched that we always thought was for the firing range there but it was only a scaffolding structure with a wooden office on the top.
Anyway it"s good to know you still remember it all so well.
How"s Monaco?

I still do quite a bit of bird watching at Pagham so if I can show anyone where some of this history still is or was, do please let me know It"s like hallowed ground us.

short shetland

PNK
31-07-2011, 19:00
Thanks for the local information. I can only remember sections of the area but can't join them up. The control tower at the firing range is interesting and explains why so little remains of some ranges, even into the 50s and 60s.

Richard Drew
31-07-2011, 21:44
RAF Selsey ALG, Sussex. (http://www.atlantikwall.co.uk/atlantikwall/sussex/selsey01/html/page01.htm)
5350North side.

5351The 30's hangar.

5352View from hangar over the airfield.

5353 Memorial.

5354Church and yard.

Richard

short shetland
01-08-2011, 19:13
Just to widen local information about Church Norton a little further; about 50 yards beyond Park Lane - off to the left on the Selsy rd- which was just a farm track then, a Stuka was shot down in "40. It came over the main road slammed into the fence on the right where it stopped. Everybody soon crowded round it. and the deep scar it made on the pavement was still there for years afterwards In later years whenever I drove past I looked for this gash and it was like being taken back to that summer evening all those years ago.
About 200 yards down Park Lane a P47 came to grief in "44 or "45. I saw it crash and explode. Sadly the pilot was killed.
Being at my Gran"s new house "The Elms", ( we had a grand stand view ie "Thr Elms" was the only house on the left side, all the rest was fields ) her lovely thatched house "Blythe Cottage" having been pulled down for the airfield.
My brother is "Walwyn" I didn"t know he on the web site till I saw his name. If any one wants any more info" about some of the other incidents about Selsey/Church Norton during the war, do please get in touch, there IS plenty more.

Short Shetland

short shetland
06-08-2011, 00:47
PNK.
Re Earnley and Bracklesham
It"s all a bit vague there but I wonder if you are referring to the gunnery targets in Chichester harbour entrance.
Back, I think in the fifties I have seen Vampires shelling the outer target with cannon fire and I guess the inner one as well.
I have scuba dived both these old tagets and although no real depth, there are lot fish and so on.
I suppose there is probably about fifteen feet depth at high water.
Again the outer target is a piece of Mullberry Harbour and another small dredger next to it. Shortshetland

PNK
06-08-2011, 09:46
Bracklesham was in the harbour entrance area and had two bombing targets plus a wreck. Firing was for up to 20mm and RP. Manhood (Selsey) opened in 1949 and was setup as bombing plus 20mm and RP but I have a suspicion the bombing target was not used. Bracklesham was joint FAA/RAF and Manhood RAF. Pagham was bombing and firing the map below shows locations for Paghams towers and arrow but is not confirmed yet. The firing areas have not been marked.


5408

Bracklesham and Pagham were both opened in WW2 with Pagham marked on 1942 maps but Bracklesham appearing later, probably 1944. All range were closed by the late 50s altough Pagham may have closed a lot earlier. Any info on the siting of the Pagham towers would be most helpful as I can't quite see how the firing (RP) would have worked safely.

short shetland
07-08-2011, 18:20
Hallo PNK.

I wrote at length about the targets in Chichester harbour entrance (your chart picture obviously shows where they were and still are! I did mention in my note that I had scuba dived on both. As for closure I"m not sure of the dates.
As far as Pagham/ Church Norton are concerned I did say that my brother and I had watched Typhoons rocketing and now and again other types inc" a Mosquito. The exciting thing about all this was we could actually see the rockets leave the rails and slap into the mud
On one occasion a Typhoon, I guess had a hang up and climbed away only to have it"s rpg"s launch over the sea !
If you look at the map of the Church yard you will see the main path runs passed the "West Door" and cotinues to a low wall from where we watched the firing. I can"t remember now but I would suspect that beyond the wall was "out of bounds" then.
The director scaffold tower was some hundred yards away along the direction of the path.
If you look accross the mud you will see the church spire at Pagham. The channel some sixty five years ago was out towards the spire and aircraft cme in over the Siddlesham area for their run.
Again the entrance to the harbour has changed considerably since then and any overshoot would have have been over the sea. I can only remember the one tower marked on your chart.
You mention safety, I don"t think it was quite the issue it is these days.
I used to go to Portsmouth and Southsea on business back in the seventies and live ammunition was fired from Fort Cumberland out towards the Nab. I must say I was quite surprised to hear the bangs and see the muzzle flashes and then to see the the fall of shot.
Some of Pagham harbour was until early last century-I think farmland. Certainly from the church path there were some stone buildings that I remember. There were stories that the sea had broken in.

It all seemed very exciting at the time.

Short shetland

PNK
08-08-2011, 12:16
Short Shetland, Many thanks for the reply. I suspect the tower was only used for air to ground firing and that the bombing range part of it was dropped at some stage, probably mid war.

short shetland
08-08-2011, 23:16
Hallo PNK,
Yes I"m sure you are perfectly correct about the tower at Pagham. I think we always associated it with the Typhoons.
Strange really but apart from one Mosquito doing it"s stuff I really can"t remember any others types using the Pagham range.
Trying to put a time frame on all this is difficult but it was obviously for the invasion. Whether we watched the range before D-day had started I can"t remember.
.
As a matter of interest, there was some enemy activity over Selsey at night as we found some strips of ""German Window"" scattered about. Black paper on one side and the foil on the other ?

I mention this as one day there was one of "ours" flying very high over ( can"t remember what it was ) the area and a bit later there was foil coming down. Foil both sides ! Usually, apart the Yanks flying high on their way out, most stuff was flying pretty low. Talking of low flying, I think it shook every one ridged one morning when we were presented with the "RAF Recognition Flight" zooming over the tiles in a Ju88, a 190.

I suppose one always thinks "it"s all happening here" but with Mullberry just off ther East Beach and doodlebugs about, it could be quite lively at times, especially the "AA" at night ( we could hear the whistles being blown at the gun sites just before the siren went off ).

Anyway I digress.
Short shetland.

PNK
09-08-2011, 19:05
Digress away, it's all interesting and it relates loosely to the Selsey/Church Norton thread. Or start yourself a new thread?

short shetland
23-09-2011, 17:51
Hallo REF.
I know it sounds a silly question but do you know your way to Cuurch Norton from Chichester, if so I can take you from there. I lived almost on top of this airfield during the kast awr and can drop you on the spot.

Richard Flagg
25-09-2011, 15:43
Hi short shetland, thanks for the offer, I managed to visit the airfield shortly after I posted originally and found the hangar and memorial. Not sure when I will be down next - its a fair trek from me!

shortshetland
23-10-2011, 14:05
Hallo PNK.
Selsey Bill "airfield"!

I"ve just seen an article about the "Piper cub", I"d forgotten all about this little aeroplane.
When the Yanks arrived they brought a small flight of these with them to Selsey Bill in WW2. I forget how many there were but I think from memory there were three or four.
As we were living at "The Elms" and at that time, there were no houses round the our place and we could see their "field" accross the meadows from where they were flying .
They seemed to be in the air quite a lot and when there was a good south west wind, the pipers would virtually "hovver" in the air. Probably the pilots were playing about.
If you look on the Google map you"ll see Beach Road and where it splits in two was a row of council houses and the
the piper field was behind these houses.
All good stuff.
Shortshetland

PETERTHEEATER
24-10-2011, 07:55
Welcome to AiX shortsheltland and thanks for the personal account. To a Piper Cub any reasonable sized field was an airfield!

shortshetland
29-10-2011, 23:24
Hallo PNK
Another operation that happened at Church Norton when I was there was low flying aircraft on occasion: ( RAF Mustangs come to mind ) laying down smoke accross the mudflats which if the wind was in the right direction rolled over us like a peasouper.
Sorry PNK I"m digressing again but having started thinking of those times bits and pieces keep popping into my mind Shortshetland

John Screech
24-04-2012, 13:24
Hi All, I am new to this forum, but do have an interest. I recently moved down to Selsey after spending many happy holidays here as a kid. Talking about Church Norton and the airfield there, I was metal detecting in the field immediately south of the path from the Church jut before it ends at the harbour shore. I was with my Father at the time and I guess this was about 1974 or 75. We got a decent blip and dug down about a foot and there was a cylindrical object with 4 fins on the top. I guess it was about 10 inches or so diameter and when scraped a little the sides were still shiny.

As it was obviously a bomb we called the local police station in Selsey who sent out a copper, and he was quite sure before he arrived it was going to be a tin cap. One look down the whole and he was off smartish to call the bomb disposal team. From what I hear they took it out to Pagham harbour and detonated it. We were talking to the girl who's parents owned the field and she was quite amazed that for years she had been riding her horse over the bomb and never knew.

It got me thinking as to whether this bomb was intended for Selsey airfield, or was part of the stick that fell on Selsey early in the war. I guess I will never know, but I just thought it might be interesting to folks on here.

John

PNK
24-04-2012, 13:47
John,

Welcome to the forum. Pagham Harbour was used as a bombing and air to ground firing range during the war so it might have been a stray from there if it wasn't a German one. I wonder if the BD team (probably RN from Portsmouth) kept a log of the incident and therefore the type?

John Screech
26-04-2012, 13:20
Thanks PNK.

If it was a stray it was pretty close to the Church and houses there, but it's possible of course. It would be interesting to find out if there is a record of it somewhere. Might see what I can dig up, if you pardon the pun.