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Halesworth

Military site : airfield

Halesworth was constructed in 1942-1943. Initially planned as a bomber airfield, its location close to the Suffolk coast meant that it was in an ideal position to operate escort fighters, where range was a critical factor. Consequently, the 56th Fighter Group with their P-47 Thunderbolts moved in - one of the most successful Fighter Groups in the USAAF. In April 1944 the fighters were replaced with the B-24 Liberators of the 489th Bomb Group, who occupied the airfield until November. The 5th Emergency Rescue Squadron occupied Halesworth from January 1945, equipped with P-47 Thunderbolts, CA-10 Catalinas and lifeboat-equipped B-17s. The airfield was also briefly used as a training base for P-51 pilots before the end of the war in Europe. The Royal Navy took over Halesworth in August 1945, using it as a training base, before it was closed for flying in early 1946. It was sold in 1963.

Detailed history

Not yet known

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known

Service

Units

  • 474th Sub-Depot
  • 489th Bomb Group

    489th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 489th Bomb Group flew B-24 Liberators out of Halesworth, Suffolk, for several months from May 1944 until later in the year. The Group flew tactical missions in support of ground forces in northern France. It was in this tactical role that the crews...

  • 56th Fighter Group

    56th Fighter Group

    Group
    Flying P-47 Thunderbolts throughout their time stationed in England, the Group, known as "the Wolfpack", had more ace pilots than any other Eighth Air Force Fighter Group. The 56th Fighter Group also destroyed more enemy aircraft in air combat than any...

  • 496th Fighter Training Group

    496th Fighter Training Group

    Group
    Goxhill had been a fighter training base since 1942 but it was only in December 1943 that a Fighter Training Group was established there. Pilots who had received the basic training in the USA would practise ETO operational procedures and gunnery before...

  • 18th Weather Squadron
  • 328th Station Complement Squadron
  • 844th Bomb Squadron
  • 845th Bomb Squadron
  • 846th Bomb Squadron
  • 847th Bomb Squadron

People

  • Wilfred Abel

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 56th Fighter Group
    On 2-Sep-43 while piloting P-47C 41-6537 [UN:Q] 56FG/63FS 1LT Wilfred A. Van Able's flight was attacked by German aircraft near Armentierres, France and he was shot down. He was able to successfully parachute to the grouns and was captured as a Prioner...

  • William Aggers

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 495th Fighter Training Group
    Assigned to 61FS, 56FG, 8AF USAAF. Baled out during navigation mission when visual contact with leader was lost in overcast in P47 41-6401 Returned to Duty RTD. 31-Dec-43. Transferred to 495FTG 8AF USAAF.

  • John Aiken

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bomber pilot | 489th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 844BS, 489BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) mission to Mainz, Germany. Mid air collision with B-24 42-94913, both A/C fell out of the sky. Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 9636. Awards: PH.

  • James Allison

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 78th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 82FS, 78FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 83FS, 78FG 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 5th Emergency Rescue Squadron. End of War. Awards: WWII Victory.

  • Richard Alvis

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 4th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 63FS, 56FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 5th ERS. Transferred to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF.

  • Bruce Anderson

    Military | Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 489th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 844BS, 489BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) mission to Mainz, Germany. Mid air collision with B-24 42-94913, both A/C fell out of the sky. Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 9636. Awards: AM, PH.

  • Donald Armstrong

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 56th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 62FS, 56FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 5th ERS. Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Roy Atchison

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 56th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 61FS, 56FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 5th Emergency Rescue Squadron. Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Thomas Barket

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 352nd Fighter Group
    Assigned to 486FS, 352FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 5ERS, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 555FTS, 496FTG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 5ERS, 8AF USAAF. Killed following mid-air collision with B-24 42-50359 'TARFU' from Seething 13-Mar-45. Awards: PH.

  • John Barnes

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Enlisted Man | 56th Fighter Group

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Aircraft

  • 41-6199

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47C-2-RE 41-6199 was assigned to the 56FG/63FS at Halesworth, UK. On 27-Sep-43 the aircraft, piloted by 1LT Harry P. Dugas, was despatched to provide withdrawl support for B-17 formations retunring from attacking Emden, Germany. The aircraft was...

  • 41-6232

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47C-RE 41-6232 was assigned to the 56FG/61FS at Halesworth, UK. On 3 Sep-43 the aircraft, piloted by 1LT Hiram O. Bevins, was struck by ground fire while the pilot was reportedly "flying on the deck" returning from a bomber escort mission. 1LT Bevins...

  • 41-6268

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    On 8-Oct-43 P-47C 41-6268, 56FG/63FS piloted by, 2LT Dover C. Fleming Jr., was shot down over Holland while escorting B-17s attacking at Bremen, Germany. The aircraft crashed into the Ijsselmer near Amsterdam, Holland. 1KIA MACR 939.

  • 41-6537

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47C-5-RE was assigned to the 56FG/63FS at Halesworth, UK. On 2 Sep-43 the aircraft was piloted by 1LT Wilfred A. Van Able and despatched to escort bombers. The flight was attacked by German fighters near Armentierres, France and 1LT Van Able was shot...

  • 41-6587

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47C-5-RE 41-6587 was assigned to the 4FG/334FS at Debden UK. On 3-Nov-43 the aircraft, piloted by 1LT Ivan R. Moon, took off from Halesworth as a more forward location and was despatched with other fighters from 4FG to provide escort to B-17s...

  • 42-74626

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47D-6-RE 42-74626 was assigned to 56FG/62FS at Halesworth, UK on 11-Nov-43 the aircraft, piloted by 2LT Malcolm Van Meter, was depatched with others from the Gruop to provide withdrawl support of B-17 formations attacking at Munster, Germany. 2LT Van...

  • 42-74722

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47D-6-RE 42-74722 was assigned to 56FG/63FS at Halesworth, UK. On 11-Nov-43 the aircraft, piloted by 1LT Wayne J O'Conner, was despatched with others from the 56FG to escort B-17 formations attacking at Munster, Germany. The aircraft was last see...

  • 42-7891

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47D-1-RE was assigned to the 56th Fighter Group/62nd Fighter Squadron at Halesworth, UK. It was asssigned to 1LT Voorhis H. Day and was shot down by Germany fighters on 17-Aug-43 while being flown by 1LT Day on a missionto provide fighter escrot to...

  • 42-7893

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47D-1-RE 42-7893 was assigned to the 56FG/63FS at Halesworth, UK. On 29-Nov-43 the aircraft, piloted by 2LT Frederick C. Windmayer, was despatched with other P-47 of 56FG to provide penetration support to bombers that were attacking at Bremen,...

  • 42-7924

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47D-1-RE 42-7984 was assigned to the 4FG/334FS at Debden, UK. On 3-Nov-43 the aircraft, piloted by F/O Frank D. Gallion, had been relocated to Halesworth, UK as a more forward base for despatch on this mission to escort B-17 bombers attacking at...

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Revisions

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)

Roger Freeman, Mighty Eighth War Manual (London, 2001)

Michael Bowyer, Action Stations 1: Wartime Military Airfields of East Anglia 1939-1945 (Cambridge, 1979)

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