Monument record RAT 039 - Rattlesden Airfield

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Built in 1942 as a class A bomber airfield, later used as Bloodhound missile site in Cold war. Decommissioned & sold 1967/8, now used by the Rattlesden Gliding Group.


Grid reference Centred TL 9633 5614 (1764m by 1695m)
Map sheet TL95NE


Type and Period (7)

Full Description

Built by George Wimpey and Co Ltd in 1942 as a Class A Bomber airfield. Living and mess sites were on the east side of the airfield. Airfield is four miles south of A45 between Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds. It was originally a satellite for Rougham. In April 1943 units from Rattlesden were moved to the main base at Rougham. Rattlesden remained without a combat unit until November 1943. The USAF left in July 1945 and the airfield was transferred to the RAF on Oct 10th. It was used as a Ministry of Food food buffer depot but was finally inactivated on Aug 15th 1946. Airfield was handed back to RAF in October 1947. It was used for an RAF Bloodhound Missile site, but when this was abandoned the whole airfield was sold in 1967/68 and returned to agricultural use. Clearance work undertaken by St Ives Sand and Gravel for sale in the Ipswich area. Since the 70's the Rattlesden Gliding group have used one operational runway and the control tower as their clubhouse. Gliders still use the airfield and airspace.
A World War Two military airfield opened in 1942, closed in 1946 but later reused as the site for an RAF Blood Hound Missile squadron and Home Office Buffer Depot (please see TL 95 NE 26 and TL 95 NE 27 for details of this later reuse of parts of the airfield). During World War Two the airfield was used by the United States Army 8th Air Force 322nd and 447th Bomb Group, the airfield was designated Station 126 by the Americans. The wartime airfield was equipped with three concrete runways and two aircraft hangars (Type T2)- one of which survives as it became part of the Post-War depot. A number of further wartime buildings including a nissen hut, control tower, stores and part of the runway survive. Wartime construction methods typically involved the use of "temporary materials" for many building types. The northern part of the airfield is now used by a gliding club (S3).

Sources/Archives (3)

  • <S1> Bibliographic reference: Freeman, Roger A. 1978. Airfields of the Eighth - Then and Now.
  • <S2> Bibliographic reference: Smith, G.. 1995. Suffolk Airfields in the 2nd World War.
  • <S3> Index: English Heritage. Pastscape.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

Record last edited

Nov 7 2013 1:43PM

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