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Military site : airfield

First allocated to the Eighth Air Force as a bomber base in August 1942, Rackheath was then earmarked as a fighter base but, because of delay in construction, was never used as such. Built during 1943, the station had three concrete runways, 50 loop hardstandings and two dispersed T2 hangars. The 467th Bomb Group, equipped with B-24s, occupied Rackheath from March 1944 to July 1945. During that period it flew 212 combat missions and, during the last few months of the war, led the Eighth Air Force in bombing accuracy. Witchcraft , a B-24H of the Group, held the record of 130 combat missions, the most for this type of bomber in the Eighth Air Force. Returned to the RAF and closed in 1945, the airfield quickly reverted to agriculture, with most of the concrete surfaces broken up for aggregate. However, the technical site became the Rackheath Industrial Estate, with several of the wartime buildings modified or extended. The Control Tower has been preserved and renovated as offices.

Detailed history

Not yet known

English Heritage's record description

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  • Ernest Adams

    Military | Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 467th Bomb Group
    Flew on B-24 'Slick Chick'. MACR 9843. B-24H #42-95224 'LONELY HEART'. Returned to base on mission to Hamburg after CP fell from A/C bomb bay into the North Sea. RTD.

  • James Andersen

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 467th Bomb Group
    Damaged by flak and landed in Sweden on 6/21/44 in B-24 'Six bits' #42-52525 Interned (INT).

  • Frank Ayers

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 467th Bomb Group
    Crashed into North Sea in B-24 'Umbriago' #44-40068, Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Benjamin Babitz

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 467th Bomb Group
    Transferred 467th BG

  • Robert Barclay

    Military | Sergeant | Supply | 467th Bomb Group

  • Elmer Barndt

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 467th Bomb Group
    Crashed near Aachen Germany on 10/14/44 in B-24 'Miss Judy' #42-52507, Prisoner of War (POW). ...

  • Learned Barry

    Military | Colonel | Pilot | 467th Bomb Group
    9 Months in Europe, Sept 44 to June 45, 18 Combat Missions (13 as Lead Pilot & Crew) . Also flew Air Sea Rescue during the Korean War stationed in Okinawa. Became Assistant controller of the Air Force. After retirement he became Comptroller of the...

  • Gustavus Bentley

    Military | Lieutenant | Pilot | 467th Bomb Group

  • Raymond Betcher

    Military | Sergeant | Ground Crew - Mechanic | 467th Bomb Group
    Mechanic on 'Witchcraft' which flew 130 non abort missions over Europe during WWII. Named his engine "Doris + ?". (Ray's wife was pregnant at the time he named the engine!) For more info, Google "Ray Betcher Witchcraft" for several news articles and a...

  • Benjamin Blackwell

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 467th Bomb Group

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  • 41-28730 'Blonde Bomber'

    B-24 Liberator
    Assigned to 790BS, 467BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) mission to Berlin. Shot down assumed enemy fighters 29-Apr-44. 6 x POW 4 x KIA MACR 4942.

  • 41-28749 Wild Irish Rose

    B-24 Liberator
    Assigned to 790BS, 467BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) mission to Berlin. 3 Fw190's hit formation, A/C hit in #4 engine which began wind milling, also in starboard stabilizer causing it to drop out of formation. A/C turned over several times...

  • 41-28981 Wolves Inc.

    B-24 Liberator
    B-24 disappeared into a cloud bank on its return from a mission to Stuttgart, Germany, on 4 March 1945. It crashed into the North Sea and only two of the crew, Sgt Perry and Sgt Moskowitz, were picked up in rescue launches. They thought the aircraft...

  • 41-29368 Tail Wind

    B-24 Liberator
    Original aircraft with the 789th Squadron; second Group aircraft lost on the 11th July 44 mission to Munich. Three of the Lt. Underwood crew were killed, the remainder taken POW.

  • 42-110187 Belle of the East

    B-24 Liberator
    On 29 June 1944, B-24 'Belle Of The East' #42110187 was shot down by flak and crashed near Brumby

  • 42-52512

    B-24 Liberator

  • 42-52525 Six Bits

    B-24 Liberator
    Damaged by flak and landed in Sweden on 21 June 1944. Crew interned.

  • 42-52546

    B-24 Liberator

  • 42-52571 'Snooper'

    B-24 Liberator
    Mission to marshalling yards at Hannau, Germany. Shortly after leaving the target, the ship was observed to have #2 engine feathered and losing altitude until out of sight. The ship was last seen by aircraft of the 93rd BG approximately 35 miles SW of...

  • 42-95162 'Perils Of Pauline'

    B-24 Liberator
    MACR#7375 - Remarks: Ship had sustained suspected flak damage and dropped out the formation. Finally went into a spin where only the Pilot and Engineer successfully bailed out. Radio-operator fell out of bomb-bay prior to bailing out, Bombardier is...

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Date Contributor Update
23 January 2017 13:40:37 Rob in Norwich Changes to usaaf from date, usaaf to date and construction date

Rob Edwards: Use start and finish dates from the memorial on Rackheath Industrial estate. Construction year from the text contant of this record.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:02:18 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 (2nd edn, London, 2001)

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