Does the Ghost of Royal Australian Air Force Flight sergeant haunt the church at Langham in Norfolk?
In June 1996, my wife (who is an American) and I went for weekend trip to Norfolk to escape London. We had a marvellous few days there. The weather was fine and the beaches uncrowded. We decided to drive along the back roads away from the coast to see what we could find.
We stopped at a small place called Langham, and went to have a look at the little church there. It was open and nobody was around. We went inside and, by the altar. saw a thrush fluttering about, looking for a way out. Amy walked back down the aise to open the door and I tried to guide the bird towards it. She opened the door and came face-to-face with a young man dressed in a dark blue uniform. He stood looking at her for a moment, smiled, the vanished. She thought she was hallucinating, but she was able to describe his face and his uniform in some detail. She distinctly recalled the half-wing and the letter “O” above his breast pocket, and that his tunic was dark, like a sailor’s, and that he had stripes and a crown on his sleeve.
Amy knew nothing about military uniforms, and less still about those worn by the British. When we arrived home a day or so later, I showed her photos of RAF uniforms, but the blue was the wrong shade. She later positively identified the uniform of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and the rank of flight sergeant. The “O” was a brevet work by observers (later navigators). RAF Langham was once home to 455 Squadron on the RAAF. The observer’s badge was superceded in 1942 and 455 Squadron occupied Langham in 1944. Perhaps the soul she saw was a long-serving airman, or perhaps he served with an RAF squadron early in the war. It’s a tantalising mystery but I have no doubt that she saw what she claimed to have seen. She is a very level-headed woman, not given to flights of fancy.
The clincher for her was Heather and Geoff, our friends and neighbours, both of whom served for many years with the RAF. Heather was a believer and told Amy she’d seen the spirit of a dead flyer who was likely doing what he enjoyed in life: enjoying the sights and sounds of an English summer’s day. Heather thought that the young man died a violent death and that perhaps he didn’t know that he had passed on. Whatever the case may be, I hope he finds rest.
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