Rougham Airfield, Bury St Edmunds
Former USAAF 8th Airforce airfield with surviving watch tower.
Period of construction:
1900 - 1949
Transport Trust plaque:
Rougham Hall, Rougham, IP30 9LZ
Bury St Edmunds
Rougham airfield was built in 1941/1942 with three intersecting concrete runways - the main runway of 2,000 yards was aligned approximately E-W. As the airfield was designed for a USAAF bomb group, fifty concrete hardstands were constructed off the encircling perimeter track. Two T2-type hangars were erected, one on each side of the airfield.
The technical site was on the southern side of the A14 and most of the living sites dispersed in woodland south of the main road around the village of Rougham. Accommodation was provided for some three thousand personnel in Nissen and other temporary type buildings.
The airfield was named RAF Bury St Edmunds, with the USAAF designation Station 468 (BU), and opened in September 1942 for use by the United States Army Air Force Eighth Air Force. From 13 September 1943 to 18 June 1945, Bury St. Edmunds served as headquarters for the 4th Combat Bombardment Wing of the 3d Bomb Division. The first USAAF group to use RAF Bury St. Edmunds was the 47th Bombardment Group (Light), which arrived from Greensboro AAF North Carolina in mid-September 1942. Equipped with the Douglas A-20 "Havoc" bomber, the 47th quickly moved to RAF Horham as construction was not complete. The 322d Bombardment Group (Medium) arrived in December 1942 from Drane AAF, Florida, flying Martin B-26B/C Marauders. On 13 June, the 322d moved to RAF Andrews Field in Essex, to be replaced by the 94th Bombardment Group (Heavy) which arrived from RAF Earls Colne on 15 June 1943 equipped with the B-17 Flying Fortress.
After the war, the airfield was returned to RAF control in December 1945 and was left unused for several years before being formally struck off in 1948. The airfield's concrete runways and hard stands were broken up and most of the site returned to agricultural use. The former technical site has been developed into the Roughham Industrial Estate and both T2 hangars are still in operational use, for storage. The control tower, used for many years as a private dwelling, has now been restored and is used as a museum by the Rougham Tower Association.
Once again known as Rougham Airfield, it now has two grass runways available for civil use and there are frequent airshows, gliding and model aircraft events.
Bowman, Martin W, Bomber Bases of WW2 3rd Air Division, 8th Air Force USAAF 1942-45: Flying Fortress and Liberator Squadrons in Norfolk and Suffolk, Pen & Sword Aviation, ISBN-10: 1844158284 (2009)
Bowman, Martin W., USAAF Handbook 1939-1945, Stackpole Books, ISBN 0-8117-1822-0 (1997)
Bowyer, M. J. F., Action Stations. 1 Wartime Military Airfields of East Anglia 1939-1945, Patrick Stephens, ASIN: B0013CL1N4 (1979)
Delve, Ken, East Anglia: (Norfolk and Suffolk) (Military Airfields of Britain), The Crowood Press, ISBN-10: 1861267282 (2005)
Freeman, Roger A, Airfields of the Eighth: Then and Now, After the Battle ISBN 0900913096 (1978)
Freeman, Roger A, The Mighty Eighth - The Colour Record, Cassell & Co, ISBN 0-304-35708-1 (1991)
McLachlan, Ian & Russell J. Zorn, Eighth Air Force Bomber Stories: Eye-Witness Accounts from American Airmen and British Civilians of the Perils of War, Patrick Stephens, (1991)
Maurer, Maurer, Air Force Combat Units Of World War II, Office of Air Force History, ISBN 0892010924 (1983)
Miller, Donald, Eighth Air Force: The American Bomber Crews in Britain, Aurum Press, ISBN-10: 1845133366 (2008)
Pons, Gregory, 8th Air Force: American Heavy Bomber Groups in England, 1942-1945, Histoire & Collections, ISBN-10: 2915239827 (2006)
Scutts, Jerry, Lion in the Sky: US 8th Air Force Fighter Operations: 1942-1945, Patrick Stephens, ISBN-10: 0850597889 (1987)
Restricted viewing - contact the RTA on the website above. The rest of the site is privately occupied.
How To Find:
By road: Off A14, 4kms east of Bury St Edmunds.
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