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Military site : airfield

Detailed history

Three Emergency Runways, each 3000yds long and 250yds wide, with 500yd overruns at either end, were built for the RAF in WW2 and Woodbridge was the first to open. Even without the overruns, Woodbridge had a runway half as long again and five times the width of the main runway at a typical UK bomber airfield. It was divided by markings and runway lighting into three distinct tracks, the southernmost of which was for aircraft with the direst need to return to earth.

Because of its location and facilities, Woodbridge soon became the destination of choice for 8th Air Force aircraft in serious difficulty, whether caused by battle damage, fuel shortage, mechanical or weather issues.

The RAF Operational Record Book for Woodbridge shows that by July 1944 there were 138 USAAF personnel based there, some for Air Traffic Control duties but mostly for engineering support. The units involved are unknown.

The day and night bombing effort over Europe increased and by the end of hostilities in Europe, the crews of some 4000 Allied aircraft had very good reason to be grateful to Woodbridge.

But Woodbridge was to become a very important base for the USAF in the Cold War era. The 20th Fighter-Bomber Wing were in control from June 1952 to June 1958. The following month, the 81st Fighter Group took over and remained in charge until July 1993.

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known


Date Contributor Update
02 December 2014 18:32:31 MikeO Created entry with name, latitude, longitude, usaaf from date, usaaf to date, construction date and history

Aspects of Bomber Command's WW2 Emergency Runways; Osborn; Journal of the Airfield Research Group, April 1999