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Earls Colne

Military site : airfield

Earls Colne was built in 1941 as an airfield for No.3 Group, RAF Bomber Command, although never used as such. Assigned to the US Eighth Air Force (as Station 358) in 1942, its 36 hardstands were increased to 50, bringing the airfield up to Air Ministry 'Class A’ standard.

Part of the site occupied land requisitioned from the Marks Hall estate, whose Jacobean mansion was taken over by various USAAF HQ units in December 1942.

Earls Colne’s first operational tenants were B-17Fs of the Eighth Air Force's 94th Bomb Group in May 1943. Its Flying Fortresses moved to Rougham, Suffolk, on 13 June, having lost nine bombers that day during a mission to Kiel.

The following month, B-26 Marauder ‘medium’ bombers of the 323rd Bomb Group moved in, staying at Earls Colne until July 1944 – having transferred to the US Ninth Air Force in October 16, 1943.

Meanwhile, Marks Hall had operated independently, first as headquarters for the Eighth AF’s 4th Bomb Wing, before becoming the command and control centre of the Ninth AF’s IX Bomber Command.

The RAF’s 296 and 297 Squadrons, flying Halifax aircraft in army co-operation roles, then occupied Earls Colne from September 1944 till May 1946.

Today the site includes an industrial park, golf course, leisure centre and an airstrip used by a flying school. It is also home to the Essex Air Ambulance.

Detailed history

Not yet known

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known

Service

Units

People

  • William Archer

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Engineer/Gunner | 323rd Bomb Group
    Died of Injuries (DOI) B-26C 41-34709 323BG/453BS while serving as Engineer.Gunner. The crashed near Great Barton, Suffolk due to poor weather and engine failure at low altitude on 11 Sep 1943 while on return from mission to Deaumont-Le-Roger. Sergeant...

  • Jack Arnold

    Military | Bombardier B-26 Marauder | 323rd Bomb Group
    See Brave Men, The Flying Wedge, by Ernie Pyle. See also, informaiton on William Collins.

  • Allen Brazelton

    Military | Senior Master Sergeant | Maintenance Sergeant | 312th Air Service Group
    SMSGT ALLEN I. BRAZELTON (USAF RETIRED) – ASSIGNMENT HISTORY ...

  • Albert Brenan

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio operator | 323rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 453BS 323BG, 9AF USAAF. 72 x combat missions. Failed to Return (FTR) mission to Caen, France 6-Jun-44. hit by at least three flak hits in bomb bay and wing, moved out of formation allowing crew to bale out, went into spin and exploded on...

  • John Brush

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 323rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 455BS, 323BG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) mission to V-1 target near Desvres, France a direct flak hit near the left engine forced crew to bail-out. Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 2056. Awards: POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Frank Burgmeier

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator - B-26 Marauder | 323rd Bomb Group
    Lt. Burgmeier grew up in Upstate New York. He married his wife, Tedi, in July 1943, just days before he left for his tour of duty as a navigator for the 323rd Bombardment Group. He kept a diary, which has been invaluable to historians studying the...

  • John Burgmeier

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | P-51D Pilot, 9th Weather Recon. Sqdn. (Provisional) | 323rd Bomb Group
    Flew a tour of bombing missions with 323BG, 8AF USAAF. Cross trained for fighters and after a crash course in meteorology. Transferred to 9th Weather Recon. Squadron (Provisional) 9AF, 22 x combat missions to VE Day at St. Trond, Belgium. ...

  • Edward Cameron

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator, Radio Operator Gunner | 94th Bomb Group
    Shot down 13 June 1943 in B-17 #4229715 'Klo Kay. ' Killed in Action (KIA).

  • A Carrell

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Armourer / gunner | 323rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 453BS, 323BG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) bombing mission to Germany 23-Dec-1944. A/C B-26 41-31896 took a direct or near direct hit in port engine and went into a uncontrolled spin. Crew did not manage to bale out. Killed in Action ...

  • Oliver Carroll

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 94th Bomb Group
    Oliver Carroll was a Bombardier in the 94th Bomb Group / 410th Bomb Squadron. Shot down in B-24 # 42-29710 on the 29 May 1943 mission to naval depots in Rennes, France. Prisoner of War (POW). He later served in Korea and left the USAF with the rank of...

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Aircraft

  • 41-31896 'Circle Jerk' 'Louisiana Mud Hen'

    B-26 Marauder
    Assigned to 323BS, 453BG, 9AF USAAF. 121 x missions flown. Failed to Return (FTR) bombing mission to Germany 23-Dec-1944. Took a direct or near direct hit in port engine and started into a uncontrolled spin. Crew did not manage to bale out 6 x KIA....

  • 41-31918 Flounder Gus/Can't Get Started/Texas Tiff

    B-26 Marauder
    B-26B 41-31918 "Can't Get Started" of the 454th Bomb Sq, 323rd BG was shot down by an Me-262 on 20 April 1945; 1st Lt Dale E Sanders & his crew became POWs for the last two weeks of the war in Europe.

  • 41-31961

    B-26 Marauder
    Assigned to 453BS, 323BG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) mission to Caen, France 6-Jun-44. hit by at least three flak hits in bomb bay and wing, moved out of formation allowing crew to bale out, went into spin and exploded on impact. 3 x POW, 4 x...

  • 41-35000 'Swamp Chicken'

    B-26 Marauder
    Assigned to 455BS, 323BG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) mission to V-1 target near Desvres, France a direct flak hit near the port engine, caused its departure from the A/C and forced crew to bail-out. 1 x RTD, 4 x POW, 1 x KIA. MACR 2056.

  • 41-9017 Heidi Ho

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Boeing B-17E ...

  • 42-29670 Thundermug

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 31/1/43; Pueblo 18/2/43; Salina 15/2/43; Brookley 19/3/43; Smoky Hill 23/3/43; Dow Fd 18/4/43; Assigned 333BS/94BG Earls Colne 22/4/43; transferred 544BS/384BG [SU-K] Grafton Underwood 16/7/43; Missing in Action Hamburg 25/7/43 with...

  • 42-29710 Hell Below

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 8 February 1943; 94th BG Pueblo 18 February 1943; Salina 25 February 1943; Laurel 18 March 1943; Smoky Hill 25 March 1943; Syracuse 10 April 1943; Dow Field 15 April 1943; Assigned 94th Bomb Group / 410th Bomb Squadron [GL-W] at...

  • 42-29715 Klo Kay

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 8/2/43; 94BG Pueblo 18/2/43; Salina 25/2/43; Brookley 18/3/43; Smoky Hill 23/3/43; Presque Is 7/4/43; Assigned 410BS/94BG [GL- ] Bassingbourn 17/4/43; Earls Colne 12/5/43; Missing in Action Kiel 13/6/43 with Capt Bolling Rawlinson ...

  • 42-29724 Little Minnie

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 9/2/43; Pueblo 19/2/43; Salina 24/2/43; Brookley 19/3/43; Smoky Hill 23/3/43; Dow Fd 15/4/43; Assigned 332BS/94BG [XM-B] Bassingbourn 20/4/43; Earls Colne 12/5/43; Rougham 13/6/43; ...

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Revisions

Date Contributor Update
10 March 2017 09:11:12 SavvyGA Changes to description
Sources

Added Kiel mission of June 13, 1943

Date Contributor Update
08 March 2017 17:09:08 SavvyGA Changes to description
Sources

Added modern usage details.

Date Contributor Update
07 January 2017 14:13:14 SavvyGA Changes to description
Sources

Freeman (various titles);
Marks Hall archives

Date Contributor Update
07 January 2017 08:38:44 SavvyGA Changes to description
Sources

Marks Hall archives;
USAAF unit summaries (Maurer)

Date Contributor Update
05 January 2017 16:56:43 SavvyGA Changes to description
Sources

Grammar

Date Contributor Update
05 January 2017 16:55:22 SavvyGA Changes to description
Sources

Grammar amndd.

Date Contributor Update
05 January 2017 16:54:11 SavvyGA Changes to description
Sources

Grammar amended

Date Contributor Update
05 January 2017 16:53:05 SavvyGA Changes to description
Sources

Amended grammar

Date Contributor Update
05 January 2017 16:49:11 SavvyGA Changes to description
Sources

Revised with data from Freeman (various); Maurer; Marks Hall records.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:02:16 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Barry Anderson, Army Air Forces Stations (Alabama, 1985) / Roger Freeman, Airfields of the Eighth Then And Now (London, 1978)

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