Heritage Locations

Seething Airfield


World War 2 US Airforce bomber base

Constructor:
Unclassified

Period of construction:
1900 - 1949

Transport Trust plaque:
No

Transport Mode:
Air

Address:
Seething Airfield, NR15 1EL

Postcode:
NR15 1EL

Nearest Town:
Norwich

Heritage Centre:
Yes


Seething airfield was built in 1942-43 by John Laing & Son Ltd., to the standard Class A requirement for heavy bombers, with a main runway 1,829 m (6,000 ft.) long aligned SW-NE and two secondary runways. The encircling perimeter track was three miles long. To meet USAAF requirements, there were fifty-one hardstands and two T-2 hangars, placed one on each side of the airfield.

The airfield was opened on 1 December 1943 and was used by the United States Army Air Force Eighth Air Force 448th Bombardment Group (Heavy). The 448th arrived from Sioux City AAF Iowa and was assigned to the 20th Combat Bombardment Wing. The group tail code was a "Circle-I". It's operational squadrons were 712th Bomb Squadron (CT), 713th Bomb Squadron (IG), 714th Bomb Squadron (EI) and 715st Bomb Squadron (IO).

The 448th flew B-24 Liberators as part of the Eighth Air Force's strategic bombing campaign. The group enered combat on 22 December 1943, and until April 1945 served primarily as a strategic bombardment organization, hitting such targets as aircraft factories in Gotha, ball-bearing plants in Berlin, an airfield at Hanau, U-boat facilities at Kiel, a chemical plant at Ludwigshafen, synthetic oil refineries at Politz, aircraft engine plants at Rostock, marshalling yards at Cologne, and a Buzz-bomb assembly plant at Fallersleben. The group took part in the intensive campaign of heavy bombers against the German aircraft industry during Big Week, 20-25 February 1944.

In addition to strategic operations, flew interdictory and support missions. Bombed V-weapon sites, airfields, and transportation facilities prior to the Normandy invasion in June 1944, and on D-Day attacked coastal defenses and choke points. Struck enemy positions to assist the Allied offensive at Caen and the breakthrough at St Lo in July. Dropped supplies to airborne troops near Nijmegen during the airborne attack on Holland in September. Bombed transportation and communications centers in the combat zone during the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 - January 1945. Dropped supplies to troops at Wesel during the airborne assault across the Rhine in March 1945. The group flew its last combat mission on 25 April, attacking a marshalling yard at Salzburg. It returned to Sioux Falls AAF South Dakota the US in Jul 1945.

The camp was of temporary buildings dispersed in farmland to the south of the airfield. With the end of military control, most of the airfield returned to farming, though the eastern section, including part of the main runway and a section of perimeter track, was taken over in in 1960 by the Waveney Flying Group for the operation of light aircraft. They have built three small hangars and a clubroom and the airfield is active most days of the week.

To the south of the airfield, on some of the former dispersed barrack and communal sites, several of the old living quarters and associated buildings are still in existence. Some of these buildings are in a reasonable condition, although they are derelict and overgrown. The former control tower has been renovated and has become a memorial museum to the 448th B.G. It contains a Group Roll Of Honour and various artifacts and memorabilia. In front of the control tower, dedicated during a veterans' reunion in 1990, stands a memorial to the men of the 448th B.G. who were missing or killed in action during service at Seething.

Two other memorials were dedicated during a veterans' reunion in 1984. One is on the airfield itself near the Waveney F.G. club-house and consists of an engraved stone plaque and rose garden; another similar plaque is in the churchyard of Seething Parish Church, which is a mile or so north of the airfield. The "Stars and Stripes" hang in the church itself while an oak sapling has been planted near the village hall to commemorate the Group's close association with the village.


Bibliography:

Bowyer, Chaz, History of the RAF, Dolphin, ASIN B000O52SBU (1984)

Chant, Christopher, History of the RAF: From 1939 to the Present, Caxton, ISBN -10 1840671092 (2000)

Falconer, Jonathan, RAF Bomber Airfields of World War 2, Ian Allan, ISBN 0 7110 2080 9 (1995)

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, ISBN 0304357081 (1991)

Maurer, Maurer,Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, ISBN 0892010924 (1983)

Nesbitt, Roy Conyers, RAF: An Illustrated History from 1918, ISBN -10 0750942898 (2007)

Robertson, Bruce
, The RAF, A pictorial history, Hale, ASIN B0015MBVFU (1979)

Taylor, J. W. R., Pictorial History of the RAF (3 vols), Ian Allan, ASIN B00187V17A (1968)

Wright, Alan, British Airports, Ian Allan, ISBN-10 0 7110 2452 6 (1996)



Opening Times:
The airfield is privately owned; opening times for the museum vary - visit website or telephone 01603 614041.

How To Find:
By Road: Off B1332 SE of Norwich.

Facilities:


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