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Military site : airfield

Lavenham was built as a standard USAAF bomber airfield, with fifty hardstandings, T2 hangars and 2,000 and 1,400 feet runways. John Laing and Son Ltd. carried out the work in 1943, and the airfield opened in April 1944. The 487th Bomb Group occupied the base until the end of the war in Europe. Initially equipped with B-24 Liberators, the Group switched to B-17 Fortresses, and it was with these aircraft that the Group completed most of its 185 missions by April 1945. The airfield was not used by any other military flying units after the war.

Detailed history

On the control tower, there are now two memorial plaques. Some original paintwork has also been preserved inside the building, which is STRICTLY PRIVATE. It is possible to visit the site, but not the inside of the building, and permission must be obtained from the Lavenham Tourist Information Office before visiting.

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known




  • Robert Allard

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner and Top Turret Gunner | 487th Bomb Group

  • Richard Allbright

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 486th Bomb Group
    Prisoner of War (POW) crashed near Dresden on 17 Apr 45 in B-17 'Old Miss Agnes' #4338001

  • Benedict Andrew

    Military | Staff Sergeant (Technician Third Grade) | Flight Engineer | 487th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) when B-17G #43-38926 'Weary Willie' piloted by Lieutenant William J. Waldron was attacked by fighters.

  • Reuben Baganz

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 487th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) when B-17G #43-38926 'Weary Willy' piloted by Lieutenant William J. Waldron was attacked by fighters on 24 Dec 1944.

  • Anthony Bamberg

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot/Command Pilot | 487th Bomb Group
    nthony Owen "Tony" Bamberg was the fourth of five children born to Lorenz and Mayme (Kain) Bamberg. He was born on April 14, 1920 in Alton, Iowa. Tony enlisted in the US Army on February 10, 1941 and ultimately transferred to the Air Corps (which would...

  • Irving Barnett

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 487th Bomb Group
    Entered service October 1942 at New York City, NY. Aircraft Mechanic training at Keesler Fld, MS and Gunnery Inst at Kingman Fld, AZ. Flew new B-17 from Langley Fld, Va via Northern Route to Valley Wales. Arrived in Lavenham August 1944. Flew 30...

  • Benjamin Bowman

    Military | Lieutenant | B-17 Pilot | 487th Bomb Group
    Went on active duty February 1944. Served first as a basic training flight instructor; attained rank of 1st Lt. Deployed in February 1945 as a lead pilot to the 487th Bomb Group, 838th Squadron, Lavenham, England.

  • Sabatine Branco

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator; Waist Gunner | 487th Bomb Group
    Flew 34 combat missions from 1/8/45 to 4/21/45. Most of them in a B-17G 'Dinah-Mite' #44-8694.

  • Donald Broadbent

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier | 487th Bomb Group
    Flew 34 missions as part of 'Elliots' Idiots' crew

  • James Brown

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 487th Bomb Group
    James R. Brown was Pilot of B-17 #42-39811, shot down on a night leaflet operation to France, 5-6 July 1944. Crashed near Overschie, a suburb of Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Missing Air Crew Report – MACR 6988. Initially evaded, helped by members of the...

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  • 42-102497

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 9/3/44; Hunter 10/4/44; Dow Fd 29/4/44; Assigned 836BS/487BG [2G-A] Lavenham 1/5/44; Missing in Action Darmstadt 24/12/44 with Willard Curtiss, Frank Callaghen, Salvaged Saporito (3 Killed in Action); Tom Collins, Ed Ghezzi, Jim...

  • 42-30298 Ragin Red II

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 11/5/43; Gore 24/5/43; Smoky Hill 29/5/43; Dow Fd 3/6/43; Assigned 525BS/379BG [FR-M] Kimbolton 13/6/43 TENDER TIT TILLIE, then RAGIN' RED II; transferred 837BS/487BG [4F] Lavenham 15/7/44; 78th Fighter Wing 24/10/44; transferred...

  • 42-30857 My Devotion

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 9/8/43; Gore 10/8/43; Cheyenne 11/8/43; Assigned 510BS/351BG [TU-J] Polebrook 22/9/43; on practice mission 23/5/44 with Chas Walker fire broke out in cockpit, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Rob Martin burned when oxygen bottle...

  • 42-3134

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 20/2/43; Presque Is 20/4/43; Assigned 407BS/92BG [PY-P] Alconbury 23/5/43; transferred 1 Base Air Depot, Burtonwood 8th FC 29/1/44; 381BG RR aircraft Ridgewell 6/3/44; 838BS/487BG RR aircraft Lavenham 17/7/44; Salvaged 14/6/45.

  • 42-3507 "DUFFY'S TAVERN"

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Tulsa 15/7/43; Scott 20/10/43; Assigned 613BS/401BG [IN-D] Deenethorpe 26/10/43; transferred 838BS/487BG Lavenham 15/7/44; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) South Plains 1/10/45. DUFFY'S TAVERN.

  • 42-3542 'SHADY LADY II'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 27/7/43; Pendleton 15/8/43; Assigned 509BS/351BG [RQ-V] Polebrook 23/9/43; transferred 487BG Lavenham 16/7/44; 24m transferred 819ASG/78FG Duxford, in landing accident with Paul Patterson 14/5/45, Salvaged 21/5/45. SHADY LADY II.

  • 42-37760 'Avenger'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 19/8/43; Assigned 532BS/381BG [VE-F] Ridgewell 20/9/43; after 6 missions transferred AFSC, 487BG Lavenham; APH & Azon duties at Knettishall /44. AVENGER.

  • 42-37780

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 26/8/43; Scott 20/10/43; Assigned 401BG Deenethorpe 27/10/43; transferred 511BS/351BG [DS-G] Polebrook 18/11/43; on 26/4/44 with Tony Zotollo force landed base with only one u/c wheel, no injuries; {24m} transferred 836BS/487BG [2G- ]...

  • 42-37792

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 29/8/43; Assigned 545BS/384BG [JD-B] Grafton Underwood 2/11/43; transferred 836BS/487BG Lavenham 16/7/44; transferred 34BG Mendlesham; retUS Bradley 24/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 12/9/45; Reconstruction Finance...

  • 42-39760

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 24/8/43; Scott 18/11/43; Assigned 401BG Deenethorpe 11/11/43; transferred 509BS/351BG [RQ-M] Polebrook 25/11/43; {30m} transferred 838BS/487BG [2C- ] Lavenham 16/7/44; about to t/o on training flight 26/7/44 with Clayton Hutcheson,...

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Date Contributor Update
05 October 2016 10:33:22 Lucy May Changes to aircraft associations

Connected aircraft records that have 'Lavenham' in their biography fields.

Date Contributor Update
01 April 2015 16:50:41 usxpat Changes to history

Date Contributor Update
08 March 2015 11:52:48 VeronicaLavenham Changes to known as


Date Contributor Update
08 March 2015 11:51:23 VeronicaLavenham Changes to usaaf from date, usaaf to date, construction date and closure date


Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:02:17 AAM AAM ingest

Barry Anderson, Army Air Forces Stations (Alabama, 1985) / Michael Bowyer, Action Stations 1: Wartime Military Airfields of East Anglia 1939-1945 (Cambridge, 1979)