Monument record HLN 007 - Halesworth Airfield

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Halesworth Airfield built in village of Holton, 2 miles NE of Halesworth.


Grid reference Centred TM 4060 7967 (1947m by 2037m)
Map sheet TM47NW


Type and Period (5)

Full Description

Halesworth Airfield built in village of Holton, 2 miles NE of Halesworth. Partially in Westhall parish but no part actually in Halesworth itself. Built in 1942-43, by Richard Costain Ltd and John Laing and Son, for use as a bomber station. Standard runways. Nissen huts for 3,000 people were dispersed in the countryside to the south of the flying field.
In Jan 1945, the 5th emergency Rescue Squadron took over from the USAF unil. On June 5th, it was transferred to RAF Bomber command and on August 5th, 1945, it was allocated for use by the Royal Navy and was utilized for the Admiralty as an advanced flying training base. It was closed for flying in Feb 1946 and was used by the ministry of food for storage before being sold in 1946. While most of the land is agriculture, a large turkey farm was established on the runways by the Le Grys, then taken over by Bernard Matthews Ltd in Jan 1976. Some of the perimeter and newly erected buildings have (from the 1970's) formed the SCC Holton Depot with a special course for learner lorry drivers. Some of the concrete is still visible. Operations block considered worthy of preservation. (S3).
HER plotting approximate, based on RAF AP of circa 1946 (shows buildings etc) & 1950s OS mapping only.
A former World War Two military airfield opened in 1942 and closed in 1946. It was constructed between 1942-1943 as a bomber station with three concrete runways, about 50 hard standings and two aircraft hangars (type T2). Dispersed barrack sites for up to 3000 personnel were located to the south of the airfield, as where mess and other communal facilities. It was designated as Station 365 by the Americans. The airfield was actually used by both fighter and bomber units of the United States Army 8th Air Force: these were the 56th Fighter Group and the 489th Bomber Group. The former were responsible for pioneering successful bomber escort tactics with the P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft. In November 1944 the base was temporarily deactivated until January 1945 as the crews were sent to other units. In 1945 the base was utilised for a number of roles including emergency- and air sea rescue by the 5th Emergency Rescue Squadron. It was then handed back to British control: briefly nominally Bomber Command, then the Royal Navy, who used the airfield for Fleet Air Arm training. The airfield closed to flying in 1946 and was subsequently used as a Ministry of Food storage depot. The land was finally sold in 1963, and was utilized partly for argriculure, poultry farming and a depot for Suffolk County Council. Some new buildings were erected on the site since 1970. In May 2000 a museum about the wartime airfield was opened. Near to the museum a number of war memorials to the personnel of units that served have been erected (S4).

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <S1> Bibliographic reference: Freeman, Roger A. 1978. Airfields of the Eighth - Then and Now. Freeman, Roger A., 1978..
  • <S2> Bibliographic reference: Smith, G.. 1995. Suffolk Airfields in the 2nd World War. Graham Smith, 1995..
  • <S3> Bibliographic reference: Email. Cuthbert M., email to Pendleton C (SCCAS). 27/10/04.
  • <S4> Index: English Heritage. Pastscape.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

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Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Jul 18 2022 12:30PM

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