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Thread: WW2 Airfields in East Anglia

  1. #1
    Senior Member Monkey boy's Avatar
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    Default WW2 Airfields in East Anglia

    I had a little time on my hands today, and I can remember someone asking about Airfields in the UK. So this is my attempt at trying to find as many WW2 bases as I could in East Anglia.
    A few of them are still operational, being used by the USAF & the RAF, but many are now derelict. either being used for vehicle storage, poultry farming, or just left to decay.
    I have named as many as I could remember in Norfolk & Suffolk, and I know of a few that I have missed, due to the bases having a grass landing strip rather than the farmiliar Triangular concrete layout.
    If you can name any of them please let me know.
    Thanks
    MB
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    Default Unidentified East Anglian Airfields

    A hurried guide to some of the numbered airfields :-

    # 4 Chilton, Great Waldingfield
    # 8 Upwood
    # 9 Depden
    #10 Rivenhall
    #14 Little Walden
    #15 West Wratting
    #19 Waterbeach
    #27 Witchford
    The ones labelled 'New Placemark' :-
    West of Wyton is Alconbury
    South of Bury St Edmunds is Lavenham

    There are many more disused Airfields skulking around
    - I'll add some more when I have time and try to identify
    which were USAF and RAF and list some units if possible.

  3. #3

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    Amazing isn't it?! Like someone pulled the trigger on a shotgun -- reminds me of a visit to the Commonwealth Grave Commision's HQ in France where there is a wall map showing the cemetaries.

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    Here is another one still visible. It is not in an high res area, but visible

    It is an old, disused airfield near Bradwell. I have been here on my sailing holiday once.....
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    Senior Member Monkey boy's Avatar
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    Thanks all for the help in naming the airfields. I have updated the file & found a few more.

    I have found 104 so far in Eastern England. the vast majority being USAF bases. Hence the East of England in the latter stages of WW2 was called "little America"
    The bases further inland were RAF Heavy Bomber bases,
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    Default More idents!

    Another fruitful evening - you may have sorted these out yourself by now, but here goes :-

    # 3 North Witham
    # 5 Thurleigh
    # 6 Henlow
    #12 Debden
    #13 Wethersfield
    #19 Waterbeach
    #20 Halesworth
    #21 Metfield
    #22 Horham
    #23 Rattlesden(Felsham)
    #24 Knettishall
    #25 Shepherds Grove
    #26 Raydon
    #28 Parham(Framlingham)

    #18 is not an airfield (I think) but the tracks of Cambridge University
    Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory

    Your efforts gave me a welcome look at East Anglian Airfields again - They were much clearer in the 60s when I did some flying training.
    I have discovered much more about the USAAF in the East - a lot of details are in the following links.

    http://www.babergh-south-suffolk.gov.../airfields.pdf

    http://www.455th.ukpc.net/tomfeise/8thusaaf/bases.htm

    There are more airfields that I know of - but that's for another day.

    Thanks for your efforts!!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Monkey boy's Avatar
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    updated some more of the Airfields, there's 124 of them all named too

    I do know of a few more, but they were grass strips & there is nothing left to pin point where they were.

    i think I have managed to turn the whole of Eastern England into a sea of blue dots
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    Master Finder McMaster_de's Avatar
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    Default Gransden Lodge / Little Gransden

    John Laing and Son Ltd also built Gransden Lodge; in 1942 the first aircraft to arrive were Wellington's of No 1418 (Experimental) Flight. It was with these aircraft that a number of electronic devices were developed. In January 1943 another Special Duties squadron was formed here, No 192; they were engaged in electronic intelligence (ELINT).

    In April 1943 the station became fully operational as part of No 8 Group providing training as the Pathfinder Navigation Training Unit but it was the RCAF squadron No 405 (Vancouver) that was to make Gransden Lodge its home for the war; they arrived from Leeming in Yorkshire on the 19th.

    No 142 Squadron Mosquitos arrived on 27th August 1944 and were engaging the enemy on the 29th. as the start of countless operations that they would make to the "Big B" (Berlin).

    The Canadians flew back home in June 1945 for a further period of training but the sudden end of hostilities resulted in No 405 being disbanded in September; the Mosquitos were disbanded at the same time.

    Little Gransden, as it is now known, is used by a flying school.
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    Master Finder McMaster_de's Avatar
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    Default Little Staughton

    The airfield was not built until 1942, as a standard bomber station. It was only to exist for less than three years but saw plenty of action as a repair base for damaged American B-17s until February 1944 and then as a Pathfinder station with Lancasters and Mosquitos.

    The new Lancaster squadron, No 582 officially formed on 1st April 1944 and they were joined the next day by the Mosquito crews of No 109 squadron from Marham in Norfolk who saw action over Cologne only three days later; many more sorties were to be flown by them The Lancasters were to go into action on the 9th and took part in many intensive raids in France and Belgium. Both squadrons were very active on 5th/6th June, the eve of D-Day and continued afterwards with many successful and heroic missions. Mosquito type XVI, crewed by Flying Officers A.C. Austin and P. Moorehead dropped the last bombs of the war at 02:14 hours on 21st April 1945.

    At the end of 1945 the airfield was placed under care and maintenance but was effectively closed to service flying and is now in very limited use by a small number of private aircraft.
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    Master Finder McMaster_de's Avatar
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    Default Twinwood Farm

    It was mid-1941 when the RAF began to use the grassed field, by April 1942 it had three concrete runways and additional temporary buildings. From then until the end of the war the Blenheims, Beaufighters, Beauforts and Mosquitos of No 51 Operational Training Unit use 'Twinwoods', as it was generally known.

    Even before that fateful December day in 1944 (the 15th) Twinwood Farm had established an association with Glen Miller and his American Band of the Supreme Allied Command as it was originally known. It was based in Bedford in early July 1944 and they used the airfield on a couple of accessions as they undertook their exhausting tours. They gave a concert at the airfield on 27th August.

    The order detailing Maj. Miller's journey to France for another tour was issued on 12th December but fog delayed departure and a friend offered to help him out with an aircraft. This was to be a Canadian-built Noordugn UC-64A Norsman. It was a cold, rainy and foggy afternoon and Glen Miller said to the band's manager, Lt Don Hayes, as he was boarding the aircraft, "Haynsie, even the birds are grounded today". The aircraft took off at 1.55pm and was never seen again.

    The airfield closed in June 1945. Although the site returned to agriculture it has become a mecca for Glen Miller enthusiasts.
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey boy
    turn the whole of Eastern England into a sea of blue dots
    Now if they'd just up the resolution....

  12. #12
    Master Finder McMaster_de's Avatar
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    Old Warden Airfield / Shuttleworth Airfield was never used by the RAF/USAAF during WWII.
    You search it, I will find it!

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by McMaster_de
    ... Gransden Lodge; in 1942 the first aircraft to arrive were Wellington's of No 1418 (Experimental) Flight. It was with these aircraft that a number of electronic devices were developed
    I must have a look through my family papers. My elder brother was an AntiAircraft Gunner Captain (London Welsh I think) and he was seconded to fly with the RAF on what we later learned was Radar Research. His plane was shot down over Germany in March 1942 on one of the first 1000 bomber raids, on Lubeck. He's buried in the British military cemetary in Hamburg.

    He wore the Observer wings on his army uniform and his work was checking to see how far the Germans had gotten to with their radar research.

    I was in the USA at the time and I don't know or don't remember where he was based. Perhaps you do?

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    Master Finder McMaster_de's Avatar
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    Can you tell me the name of your brother?


    This must be that raid:

    28/29 March 1942

    Lübeck

    234 aircraft - 146 Wellingtons, 41 Hampdens, 26 Stirlings, 21 Manchesters. 12 aircraft - 7 Wellingtons, 3 Stirlings, 1 Hampden, 1 Manchester - lost.
    This raid was the first major success for Bomber Command against a German target. The attack was carried out in good visibility, with the help of an almost full moon and, because of the light defences of this target, from a low level, many crews coming down to 2,000 ft. The force was split into 3 waves, the leading one being composed of experienced crews with Gee-fitted aircraft; although Lübeck was beyond the range of Gee, the device helped with preliminary navigation. More than 400 tons of bombs were dropped; two thirds of this tonnage was incendiary. 191 crews claimed successful attacks. German sources show that 1,425 buildings in Lübeck were destroyed, 1,976 were seriously damaged and 8,411 were lightly damaged; these represented 62 per cent of all buildings in Lübeck.

    The casualties in Lübeck were 312 or 320 people killed (accounts conflict), 136 seriously and 648 slightly injured.
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  15. #15

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    His name was John Frimston Wyn Griffith. The plane crashed near Neumunster and initially the crew were buried in the cemetary there, un-named.

    But shortly after the end of the war, where I served in the US Army; 63rd Infantry Division and then in Military Government stationed in Ansbach, I got leave and permission to take a jeep up through the British Zone.

    I located the farm where the plane crashed and left a note in the Register in the cemetary office saying I thought that the unknown crew were likely to include my brother. The RAF crew included Canadian, New Zealand and I think Australian and South African nationals.

    I really appreciate your abilities -- I'm 80 now and it will be good to be able to leave some more information for my family in England.

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