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RAF Old Buckenham: Wikis


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Royal Air Force Station Old Buckenham
USAAF Station 114

Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Patch 8thUSAAF.png

Located Near Old Buckenham, Norfolk, England
Aerial Photo of Old Buckenham Airfield - 30 March 1946
Type Military airfield
Coordinates 52°30′10.57″N 001°03′39.32″E / 52.5029361°N 1.0609222°E / 52.5029361; 1.0609222
Location code OE
Built 1942
In use 1943-1960
Controlled by United States Army Air Forces Eighth Air Force
Occupants 453rd Bombardment Group
Battles/wars European Theatre of World War II
Air Offensive, Europe July 1942 - May 1945
RAF Old Buckenham is located in Norfolk
RAF Old Buckenham, shown within Norfolk
Consolidated B-24 Liberators of the 453d Bomb Group on a mission over enemy-occupied territory.

RAF Old Buckenham is a former World War II airfield in England. The field is located 2 miles (3.2 km) SE of Attleborough in Norfolk, and is currently in civilian use as Old Buckenham Airport.



Old Buckenham airfield was built during 1942-43 for the United States Army Air Forces Eighth Air Force. It was given designation USAAF Air Station 144.

The airfield was opened in late 1943 and was used by the 453rd Bombardment Group (Heavy), arriving from March Field, California on 23 December 1943. The 453d was assigned to the 2nd Combat Bombardment Wing, and the group tail code was a "Circle-J". Its operational squadrons were:

  • 732d Bomb Squadron (E3)
  • 733d Bomb Squadron (F8)
  • 734th Bomb Squadron (E8)
  • 735th Bomb Squadron (H6)

The group flew B-24 Liberators as part of the Eighth Air Force's strategic bombing campaign.

The 453d BG entered combat on 5 February 1944 with an attack against an airfield at Tours. Throughout combat, the unit served chiefly as a strategic bombardment organization. Targets included a fuel depot at Dulmen, marshalling yards at Paderborn, aircraft assembly plants at Gotha, railway centres at Hamm, an ordnance depot at Glinde, oil refineries at Gelsenkirchen, chemical works at Leverkusen, an airfield at Neumünster, a canal at Minden, and a railway viaduct at Altenbeken.

The group took part in the concentrated attack against the German aircraft industry during "Big Week", 20–25 February 1944. Besides strategic operations, the group engaged in support and interdictory missions. Bombed V-weapon sites, airfields, and gun batteries in France prior to the invasion of Normandy in June 1944; on 6 June hit shore installations between Le Havre and Cherbourg and other enemy positions farther inland. Attacked enemy troops in support of the Allied breakthrough at Saint-Lô in July. Bombed German communications during the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944-January 1945. Ferried cargo on two occasions: hauled gasoline, blankets, and rations to France in September 1944; dropped ammunition, focal, and medical supplies near Wesel during the airborne assault across the Rhine in March 1945.

James "Jimmy" Stewart, the Hollywood movie star, was Group Operations Officer at Old Buckenham during the spring of 1944.

The 453d Bomb Group flew its last combat mission in April. Initially it was prepared for possible redeployment to the Pacific theatre using B-29 Superfortresses. However hostilities in Europe had ceased before the group had time to start its movement and it returned to New Castle AAFld, Delaware on 9 May 1945 to be inactivated on 12 September 1945.

Air Ministry use

In May 1945, Old Buckenham reverted to Air Ministry control and was used as a, satellite for maintenance units until being closed on 20 June 1960.

Civil use

With the end of military control Old Buckenham has largely been converted back to agriculture with much of the concrete areas being ground into aggregate and being sold in the Norwich area. Today a single-bay perimeter track remains and one small section of full-width runway which is used by crop spraying aircraft in the 1970s and 80s and is now part of a 100-acre (0.40 km2) airfield site.

In May 1983, during the 2nd Air Division reunion, the 453rd Bomb Group dedicated an extension to the Village Hall at Old Buckenham as a memorial to the members of the Group who lost their lives serving in the UK. The room contains various wartime artefacts and memorabilia and a large bronze plaque listing those who are remembered.

Another memorial to the 453rd was dedicated during the reunion in 1990. It is of black granite in the shape of a B24 fin and is near Touchdown Aero Centre buildings.

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

External links



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