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Ketteringham Hall HQ


Ketteringham Hall (Station 147) was the Second Air Division Headquarters from December 1943 to June 1945.

The headquarters were previously located at Camp Thomas in Old Catton from September 1942 to October 1943.

The hall was requisitioned for wartime use from the Boileau family. Their ancestors had purchased the house and park in 1836 and made extensive alterations in the Tudor style, as the house was originally built in the Tudor period.

Some family members refused to move out and continued to live in part of the house.

However, the interior was remodelled for use as the operational HQ.

On the ground floor of the hall were the Operations Section, war room and Intelligence Section.

The chapel, which the Boileau family built in 1840, was used as the operations room and a mezzanine floor was built to allow officers an overall view of a larger operations map.

On the first floor, over the main entrance, was the office of the Division Adjutant General. Also on that floor were the offices of the Commanding General, the Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff.

On the second floor those officers had their quarters and a small dining room.

The wing facing the pond was occupied by the Boileau family and in the annex was the Signals Section.

Nissen huts and other buildings were constructed in the grounds, mostly under cover of the parkland trees, creating a small village.

At a visit by veterans in 1987, one reminisced that she saw two shows by James Cagney in the nissen hut known as the 'Opry House'.

There were about 700 people stationed at headquarters, including up to 300 women, at any one time.

The estate was returned to the Boileau family after the war. It was then sold to the Duke of Westminster in 1948.

It was firstly used as a school and in 1968 was leased to and later purchased by Lotus.

This successful sports car and racing team had moved from London to the former airfield at Hethel two years earlier.

If you're interested in the story of the Second Air Division at Ketteringham Hall, you can look up photographs and other items in our digital archive.


Ketteringham Hall is located 7.5 miles to the south-west of Norwich.

It is set in parkland and is close to the site of the Hethel airfield, where the 389th Bombardment Group were based.

If you want to visit the hall, please contact us. You'll need permission before you visit as all sites are private property.

The hall can be reached along the A11, turning left at the junction signed Ketteringham.

On reaching the High Street in Ketteringham, turn left into Church Road.

Remaining buildings

Ketteringham Hall itself remains intact.

It is now used as office space and also houses a coffee shop. The only other building to survive is one of the three nissen huts which made up the mess hall.


A memorial plaque was dedicated at Ketteringham Hall on 25 May 1987.

It honours those who served in the Second Air Division during the Second World War.

It is located on the wall of the sheltered garden seat beyond the conservatory.