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Military site : airfield

Debach was one of the last Eighth Air Force heavy bomber bases to be completed. It was built by the 820th Engineer Battalion (Aviation) between late '43 and early '44. Pronounced locally as 'Deb-idge', the base was built to a class A standard with accommodation for nearly 3,000 men, the majority in newly-built Nissen huts to the south-west of the main field and a smaller number at nearby Thistledon Hall. The damage to the Hall by this occupation was so great that the decision was taken to demolish it after the war, leaving only the foundations of the building behind. The 493rd Bomb Group flew their first mission from here on D-Day, 6 June 1944. Problems with breaking-up runways dogged the Group's flights and repairs had to be made in the early part of 1945. After U.S. forces left the air field was used as a camp for German PoWs.

Detailed history

Correction to the Station Summary
Thistleton Hall was only used for temporary accommodation in the early days of occupation by the men of 493rd BG whilst the Nissen huts were being completed. Once they were finished the Hall was vacated. It was then used as the NCO's club until another new building was built for that use.
The Hall survived intact, and undamaged until after the departure of the 493rd BG.

It is believed that the interior woodwork was removed whilst the camp was being used for EVW's in the late 40's/early 50's

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known




  • Stanley Abraham

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 493rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 863BS, 493BG, 8AF USAAF. Awards: AM (5OLC), WWII Victory, EAME (2 x Battle Stars)

  • William Adickes

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 493rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 862BS, 493BG, 8AF USAAF. Awards: DFC, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Larry Adlon

    Military | Private First Class | Basic Soldier, Duty Soldier III | 490th Bomb Group

  • Cyrus Aidala

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 493rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 862BS, 493BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) in B-24 42-94812 'Little Warrior' 29-Jun-44; flak hit caused conflagration, flames from cockpit to rear of bomb bay. Killed in Action (KIA) MACR 6721. Awards: PH.

  • Louis Alexander

    Military | Sergeant | Airplane and Engine Mechanic | 480th Sub-Depot
    Louis Peter Alexander from Milwaukee, Wisconsin enlisted in the US Army Air Forces in June 1942, and was assigned to the 480th Sub Depot of the 493rd Bomb Group at Debach in April 1944. During his service Alexander befriended six-year-old June Palmer,...

  • Vernon Alexander

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 493rd Bomb Group
    Gayle flew with the 493rd Bomb Group, based at Debach in Suffolk. A native of Kentucky, he flew both B-24 and B-17 bombers in combat. He and his crew named their B-24 ‘Kentucky Kloudhopper’. On his 19th mission, a raid against Merseberg, his B-17 was...

  • Alex Alford

    Military | Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 493rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 12 September 1944 in AC #43-38098. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Guy Almes

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Ball Turret Gunner | 493rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 863BS, 493BG, 8AF USAAF. 35 x combat missions. ETD Awards: AM (5OLC), WWII Victory, EAME (2 x Battle Stars). Post war: Guy was a career air force officer, retiring in 1974 as a 2nd Lieutenant.

  • Bernard Amsden

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Crew Chief | 493rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 863BS, 93BG, 8AF USAAF. Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Robert Arbib

    Military | Staff Sergeant | construction Engineer, Clerk
    Member of the 820th EAB. Involved in the first phase of construction of Debach Airfield.

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  • 41-29464 The Unlimited

    B-24 Liberator
    Originally assigned to 34th Bomb Group, 18th Bomb Sqdn, damaged on landing Debach, England 31 May 1944; lost 26 Nov 1944, over Germany with 491st BG; MACR 10763

  • 42-30939

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 23/8/43; Scott 25/9/43; Assigned 369BS/306BG [WW-A] Thurleigh 21/10/43; transferred 863BS/493BG [G6- ] Debach 8/44; on local flight 17/8/44 with Jim Linden, Co-pilot: Ed Kaputa, Navigator: Ken Noel, Bombardier: Searle, Flight...

  • 42-31150 'Wonga Wonga'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 25/9/43; Gr Island 8/10/43; Love Fd 12/10/43; Assigned 332BS/94BG [XM-Q] Rougham 15/10/43; battle damaged Diepholz 22/2/44 with Julius Blake, crew ? (10 Returned to Duty); crash landed Debach A/fd, Sfk. UK. And skidded into Signal...

  • 42-32087 Old Glory/Ain't Misbehavin'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 23/1/44; Gr Island 17/2/44; Presque Is 12/3/44; Assigned 728BS/452BG [9Z-M] Deopham Green 13/3/44; Missing in Action Gdynia 6/8/44 with Louis Graber, Co-pilot: Morris Freed, Navigator: Fran Maloney, Bombardier: Nick Milcic, Flight...

  • 42-39846 Widdle Twinkle

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 18/9/43; Scott 27/10/43; Assigned 614BS/401BG [IW-M] Deenethorpe 3/11/43; transferred 487BG Lavenham 15/7/44; then to 860BS/493BG Debach, on local flight 16/8/44 with Capt Wesley Love, Co-pilot: Charles Boyce, Navigator: Fred...

  • 42-50442

    B-24 Liberator
    Crashed on Mission 554 of 15 August 1944. Target : Florennes / Jusaine airfield, Belgium

  • 42-52750

    B-24 Liberator
    Shot down by Flak on the 14 June 1944 mission to Laon, France. Crashed near Steene (Nord Department), France. Pilot : Orville H. Brewer Jr; Co-Pilot Lothrop Caldwell; Navigator Wilfred N. Hansen; Bombardier Coleman C. Duncan; Radio Operator/Gunner...

  • 42-6151 Round Trip

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 6/8/43; Cheyenne 9/8/43; 424 Sub Gp Gr Island 3/9/43; Assigned 508BS/351BG [YB-M] Polebrook 24/9/43; 26m transferred 486BG Sudbury 17/7/44; 490BG Eye 8/44; 863BS/493BG Debach with Chas Gibson, damaged by fire 11/6/45; Salvaged ....

  • 42-94789

    B-24 Liberator

  • 42-94812 LITTLE WARRIOR

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24H, 42-94812, named, LITTLE WARRIOR, was assigned to the 850th Bomb Squadron, the 490th Bomb Group, and the 8th Air Force USAAF. It was transferred to the 862nd Bomb Squadron, the 493rd Bomb Group, in the 8th Air Force USAAF in Britain. It...

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Date Contributor Update
09 November 2017 12:19:51 Lucy May Changes to person associations and aircraft associations

Connected aircraft and person records with 'Debach' in biography fields.

Date Contributor Update
29 July 2017 11:33:53 Darren Jelley Changes to history

493rd BG Museum archives

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

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