Monument record THB 015 - Theberton airfield; Leiston airfield; Saxmundham airfield

Please read our .


Former mainly military airfield, in use between 1934 and 1965.


Grid reference Centred TM 43111 64342 (2776m by 1680m)
Map sheet TM46SW


Type and Period (6)

Full Description

Former airfield 2 miles NE of Theberton, known as Theberton, Leiston or Saxmundham airfield.
Constructed in 1934 when two 16 acre fields were joined to create a grass airstrip for use by enthusiasts and RAF pilots. At beginning of 2ndWW various obstacles, such as steam-engines and agricultural equipment used as anti-landing obstacles to deter enemy usage (S1).
Used primarily as a 2nd WW fighter base (built 1943) by both USAAF and RAF for P47Ds, B26Cs, P51Cs, B24s, B17s, Me 109s & A20Bs. Three runways formed a standartd A-shaped pattern and there were 2 F2 hangers and a number of canvas covered blister hangers. The dispersed camp, mess halls and domestic quarters were located a mile to the west.
In July 1945 the 375th Fighter group moved to Germany & on 10th October the RAF took it back. It became number 18 Recruitment Centre, Technical Training Command.
In 1955 part was sold, the remainder 10 yrs later. St Ives Sand & Gravel Company removed the runways and concrete.
Mostly now in agricultural use (S2)(S3).
For 1945/6 Aps see Suffolk CC MapInfo layer (though S end missing).
A World War Two airfield opened in 1943. During World War Two it was used by the United States Army 8th Air Force 358th and 357th Fighter Groups. Their main duties were escorting bomber aircraft. The airfield featured three concrete runways with a technical site on the west side of the flying area, accomodation sites dispersed further to the west and a fuel store to the east of the airfield. There were a number of blister and type T2 aircraft hangars. Leiston was officially designated as Station 373 by the Americans, but was also informally known by the airmen as Theberton or Saxmunden after the nearby towns. After the war the Royal Air Force took over the airfield as Number 18 Recruit Centre. It closed to flying in 1946 and was sold off in the Mid 1950s for agriculture (S5).
More details with the Friends of Leiston Airfield?

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <S1> Bibliographic reference: Miscellaneous Bibliographic reference. Airfields & Airstrips of Norfolk & Suffolk by a Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Mus Pub, 1977/1979/1.
  • <S2> Bibliographic reference: Smith, G.. 1995. Suffolk Airfields in the 2nd World War.
  • <S3> Bibliographic reference: Freeman, Roger A. 1978. Airfields of the Eighth - Then and Now.
  • <S4> Serial: Suffolk Industrial Archaeological Society Newsletter. August 2010.
  • <S5> Index: English Heritage. Pastscape.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

Record last edited

Aug 4 2022 10:15AM

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.