Thursday 21 August 2014

Ghost fields of Suffolk (...and Norfolk ) - Framlingham, Rougham, Thorpe Abbots, 390th BG, 100th BG, 94th BG

...currently on my hols in the beautiful county of Suffolk. Above, 12th century Framlingham castle

...visited the 390th BG Memorial air museum housed in the original wartime control tower of Framlingham station 153 located just outside Parham village, some five miles from Framlingham. On display are recovered aircraft wreckage and engines, uniforms, documents, photos and rare memorabilia.

We also stopped at Rougham, east of Bury St Edmunds, from where the 94th BG flew during the war. Here the control tower has again been remarkably restored and preserved while the rest of the airfield is mostly given over to an industrial estate..

On 24 December 1944, Brig. Gen. Frederick Castle won a posthumous Medal of honour in the biggest 8th AF raid of the war ..

I also had to visit Thorpe Abbots, home to the 100th BG memorial museum, described by Martin Bowman in his "Airfield Focus" booklet as a 'national treasure'. Thorpe Abbots is just over the county border in Norfolk east of Diss - and, I found, very difficult to locate since the authorities apparently do not allow road signage from the main A143 Norwich/ Gt Yarmouth road. The speakers in the 'glass-house' atop the tower broadcast radio chatter, engine start-up and fly-by noises - very atmospheric!

View from the 'glasshouse' on top of the control tower at Thorpe Abbots looking towards the 'unlucky' hard-stand 13 as seen on the airfield model below with its typical 'frying-pan handle' dispersals, bottom right corner..and a view of the surviving taxiway in front of the control tower..the main runway at Thorpe Abbotts, one of the longest constructed during the war in East Anglia, ran parallel to the taxi-way bottom right..

..although the old airfield is now virtually fully returned to agriculture, stretches of the southern perimeter track are reasonably well-preserved  - heavily-laden B-17s once picked their way along this route...

Model displays in the museum

I also called in at Leiston, home to the 357th FG during WWII. The old airfield - today the 'Cakes and Ale' caravan park - now has its own 'Heritage Centre'. There was nobody around but at the park reception they kindly gave me the key to the 'memorial hut'...

'Bud' Anderson's well-known 'Old Crow' in its revetment post D-Day, now occupied by caravans 1-11 


  1. I must visit these places myself at some point, it is great to see that some people have had the sense to preserve the old control towers and accompanying builds for future generations.

  2. Hello fellow happy holiday maker! Yes, plenty of ghosts, old, and older, in these parts. Not far from where I am at the mo is what was RAF Bircham Newton, which is now the Construction Industry Training Board training centre. As a result, the main buildings are all in current use, and the whole site is very much alive. As RAF Bircham Newton, it went back to the Great War, and an amazingly variety of a/c flew from it - wikipedia gives but a taste: