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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

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  • 474th Sub-Depot
  • 489th Bomb Group

    489th Bomb 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

    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

    Activated as 496th Fighter Training Group on 11 December 1943 at Greencastle by VIII Composite Command. ...

  • 18th Weather Squadron

    18th Weather Squadron

    Browse 18th Weather Squadron photographs and other documents in the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library digital archive here:

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


  • Tzolag Aaronian

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator | 389th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) at Krefeld in B-24 "Wynn" Our Little Lady #42-95088. The 9 man crew bailed at around 2200 feet altitude over Sevelen, Germany while trying to reach allied lines around 15 miles NW of Krefeld. 8 of the crew were captured. Tzolag...

  • Sidney Abelson

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 489th Bomb Group
    B-24H #42-94888 'Special Delivery II' collided with another B-24 on return from a mission to Kassel. KOM

  • 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 P-47 41-6401 31-Dec-43. Returned to Duty RTD. Transferred to 495FTG 8AF USAAF. Awards: AM, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • 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.

  • Philip Albarelli

    Military | Staff Sergeant | 489th Bomb Group

  • James Allison

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot
    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. Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.

  • 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.

  • Melvin Anderson

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 489th Bomb Group

  • Robert Anderson

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 489th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 844BS, 489BG, 8AF USAAF. B-24 'Fay Day' took off for mission, unable to reach altitude, aborted mission. Attempting landing, A/C turned sharply to the left and crashed. Gas tanks and bombs exploded shortly thereafter. 25-Jun-44. Killed in...

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  • 41-28832

    B-24 Liberator
    B-24 'Heaven Can Wait' #41-28832 shot down by flak and crashed at Ursen on 6/29/44, 10 POWs.

  • 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...

  • 42-107069 'Round Trip Topsy'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Tulsa 11/2/44; Gr Island 15/2/44; Grenier 5/3/44; Assigned 401BS/91BG [LL-M/N/W] Bassingbourn 1/4/44; battle damaged 70m Altenbeken 26/11/44 with Warren Smith; enemy aircraft set #2 & on fire but ship managed to reach UK and crash landed...

  • 42-22456 Liberty Belle

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Shot down 15 March 1944 on an escort mission to Brunswick, with Pilot Lt John Kozey Jr - Prisoner of War (POW) - Missing Air Crew Report - MACR 3052.

  • 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...

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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)

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

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