Ellough (Beccles) WWII Airfield :: Shared Description

Built for the USAAF and completed in 1943 Ellough airfield had the three concrete runways and a perimeter track, typical of many bomber airfields in East Anglia. It was allocated the airfield number 132. It is possible that Ellough was intended to be used by the 3rd Air Division, 95th Combat Wing. The 95th had two Bomber Groups, the 489th at Halesworth and the 491st at Metfield. Other Combat Wings had three Bomber Groups, but never used as a main operational base. It passed briefly to RAF Bomber Command as a secret research base before passing to Coastal Command in August 1944. Until closure in 1945, the airfield was used by various RAF and FAA squadrons operating such diverse types as Warwick, Barracuda, Walrus, Swordfish, Sea Otter and Albacore on air-sea rescue and anti-shipping duties as well as clandestine operations, flying SOE personnel into France. At one time Ellough was called HMS Hornbill II. Many disabled aircraft landed here that were unable to make it back to their own base. The last military aircraft to land on the main runway was a Vampire which made an emergency landing there in about 1954. One of Ellough’s few claims to fame is that in 1944 it was used by Mosquitoes of 618 Squadron to practice dropping spinning bombs called 'Highball' which were prototypes of the bombs used by 617 ‘Dambuster’ Squadron to breach the dams of the Rheur. During early development, 40-gallon drums filled with sand were used to prove the theory. Barnes Wallis is known to have been there during this period. Two of the original hangars remain as well as many smaller administrative buildings and the hospital and mortuary which were little used at the time. After the war, Beccles remained dormant until 1965 when it became a heliport serving North Sea oilrigs until that operation transferred to Norwich airport.
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by Adrian S Pye
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14 images use this description:

TM4488 : Ellough Airfield - The Guardroom by Adrian S Pye
TM4488 : Ellough Airfield - Briefing room by Adrian S Pye
TM4488 : Ellough Airfield - this was the Norden bombsight building by Adrian S Pye
TM4488 : Ellough Airfield - Offices by Adrian S Pye
TM4488 : Ellough Airfield - ablutions block by Adrian S Pye
TM4588 : Light aircraft at Ellough (Beccles) Airfield  by Roger Jones
TM4488 : Ellough Airfield - Operations block by Adrian S Pye
TM4488 : Ellough Airfield - Hospital by Adrian S Pye
TM4587 : Entrance to Skydiving Centre, Ellough Airfield by Roger Jones
TM4488 : Ellough Airfield - Bomb shelter by Adrian S Pye
TM4488 : Ellough Airfield - Sergeant's shower block by Adrian S Pye
TM4488 : Ellough Airfield - Shower block by Adrian S Pye
TM4488 : Ellough Airfield - Crew briefing rooms on the Administrative/HQ site by Adrian S Pye
TM4488 : Ellough Airfield - part of the hospital by Adrian S Pye


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Created: Wed, 17 Nov 2010, Updated: Mon, 20 Aug 2018

The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2010 Adrian S Pye, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.

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