Monument record ELO 009 - Beccles (Elough) Airfield

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Second World War USAAF airfield, 2 miles SE of Beccles.


Grid reference Centred TM 45301 88259 (2057m by 1534m)
Map sheet TM48NE


Type and Period (12)

Full Description

Second World War USAAF Airfield - details see S1. In Ellough, 2 miles SE of Beccles built for the 8th USAAF as station 132. Since the war the airfield was used by various light aircraft and now most of the runways have been broken up.
The hangar and site at the eastern end of the airfield has been occupied by British Airways helicopters for offshore oil and gas rig operations in the North Sea. Was the most easterly war time airfield in England and the last in Suffolk to be completed (August 1942). Used by the USAAF, it was handed to the RAF and then to the coastal command on 14 August 1944. It was used as a rescue post (ASR). In November 1945, it was closed to flying. Includes mess iste, T2 hangars and gun nest (near control tower) worthy of protection (S2).In 1960 a Royal Observer Corps Post was built in the south east corner near the perimeter fence it was built for 3 men to live in who would spot nuclear detonations in the event of war, these bunkers however where not bomb proof nor shielded from radiation so if there was a detonation of a nuclear device the men would have died(S3).
SE of Beccles. Battle Headquarters (S4).
A former military airfield, opened in 1943 and closed as a military site in 1945. The airfield was originally constructed for the United States Army Air Force but was transferred to Royal Air Force Bomber Command in the summer of 1944, then in August of the same year to Coastal Command. It was used between September and October 1944 by 618 Squadron, who were training in the use of specialist bombs dropped from Mosquito aircraft, along with 119 Squadron flying Albacores and 819 Squadron of the Fleet Air Arm flying Swordfish biplanes. From October 1944 to October 1945 Beccles was used by 280 Squadron operating Warwick aircraft for Air-Sea rescue duties. For part of the time they were joined by 278 Squadron and 279 squadron. The airfield was equipped with three concrete runways, 50 loop-shaped hard standings, two T2 aircraft hangars and temporary accomodation for the airfield personnel. Numbers of personnel at the base varied, but in December of 1944 there were 2667 men and 27 women. The airfield also had a control tower (recorded as TM 48 NW 32), and a possible battle headquarters (recorded as TM 48 NE 36). Wartime construction methods typically involved the use of "temporary" building materials for many types of airfield buildings. After the airfield had closed the site was used as a German prisoner of war camp. This was a work camp, where prisoners worked as labourers in the local area. It could have been in use up until 1948. After the camp closed part of the airfield was disused or had returned to agriculture. By 1977 the eastern end had reopened as a helicopter port, and this use along with industry, was given as the function of the site in 1985. By 2003 the eastern part of the site was used again as an airfield by Rainair Flying Club. The outer western side of the airfield is part of the Ellough Industrial Estate (S5).

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <S1> Bibliographic reference: Miscellaneous Bibliographic reference. Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum Publication - Airfields and Airstrips in Norfolk and Suffolk.'93.
  • <S2> Bibliographic reference: Email. Cuthbert, M., email to Pendleton, C., SCCAS. 27/10/04.
  • <S3> Machine readable data file: Website.
  • <S4> Digital archive: Defence of Britain Project archive. UORN: S0003869.
  • <S5> Index: English Heritage. Pastscape.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

Record last edited

Jul 19 2022 3:23PM

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