RAF Bungay - USAAF Station 125

Text © Copyright Evelyn Simak, May 2014
Images are under a separate Creative Commons Licence.



The airfield, designated USAAF Station 125, was situated a couple of miles to the south of Bungay, on the fringes of the village of Flixton. Constructed by Kirk & Kirk Ltd, it was planned as a satellite to RAF Hardwick but was still unfinished when the Twelfth Air Force 428th Bombardment Squadron, 210th Bombardment Group (Medium) arrived with fourteen B-25 Mitchell bombers in October 1942. In December 1942 eight B-24 Liberators of the 329th Bombardment Squadron, 93d Bombardment Group (Heavy) based at RAF Hardwick were also sent to Bungay. Their task was to prepare for special intruder operations and they returned to Hardwick in March 1943.

More construction work was carried out, lasting until November 1943, when the airfield was finally ready to receive the Eighth Air Force 446th Bombardment Group (Heavy) which was assigned to the 20th Combat Bombardment Wing. Its operational squadrons were 704th, 705th, 706th and 707th Bombardment Squadrons. On completion in April 1944, the airfield had three intersecting runways, two T2 hangars, 50 hard stands, a headquarters site, a technical site, sick quarters, four defence sites, eight communal sites and a WAAF (Women's Auxiliary Air Force) site.

The 446th BG operated mainly against strategic objectives on the Continent. The group also supported the Normandy landings and assisted fighting ground forces in France. In the summer of 1945 it returned to Sioux Falls AAF in South Dakota.

After the war, the airfield was turned over to the Royal Navy and for some time the station became HMS Europa II, a satellite of HMS Sparrowhawk, where three Fleet Air Arm squadrons were located. In 1946 it was returned to RAF control and assigned to No. 53 Maintenance Unit. It then became a maintenance sub-unit of 94 MU which had its HQ at RAF Great Ashfield. Bombs, balloon cable cutting cartridges, depth charges, 7-inch parachute flares and German ammunition were stored on the runways and in the buildings. The airfield was closed in 1955, and put up for sale and disposed of in 1961/1962.

The 446th Bomb Group is commemorated in a number of memorials: In the spring of 1986 a new set of oak gates were hung at St Mary’s Church, which is located near the old airfield. The gates were bought from donations made by veterans and they replaced those originally presented in 1945 by the Americans. A small memorial plaque carries the inscription, "These gates were presented in memory of the men of the 446th Bombardment Group, USAAF, who gave their lives in the defence of freedom, 1941-1945". There is also a memorial bench in the church porch. A memorial stone stands beside Abbey Road, near the main gate onto the airfield. Another memorial can be found at the nearby Aviation Museum.


TM3186 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Memorial stone by Evelyn Simak TM3186 : St Mary's church, Flixton by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Aero Club building by Evelyn Simak TM3187 : 446th Bomb Group (H) memorial by Evelyn Simak TM3187 : 446th Bomb Group (H) memorial - plaque by Evelyn Simak


Until 1983, the Martlesham Heath Parachute Club and several agricultural crop sprayers still used the main runway and perimeter track, which until then remained in good condition. Work on breaking them up started in the following year. Most of the wartime buildings on the airfield, including the control tower and hangars, were demolished and the airfield has since returned to agricultural use.


TM3387 : Fields by Uplandhall Farm by Evelyn Simak TM3286 : Track onto the former Flixton airfield by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : Mosses and lichens on corrugated concrete wall by Evelyn Simak TM3387 : The perimeter track on the old Flixton airfield by Evelyn Simak TM3387 : Wheat crop field on the former Flixton airfield by Evelyn Simak


Some of the buildings on the Headquarters site (Site 2) have long since been removed, but some others are still in place and intact. These are the large Operations group building with its many rooms and only one window; the bombsight & repair building with excellent ventilation, and a small hut beside the track onto the site. The brick walls surrounding a transformer plinth are also still standing, albeit overgrown.


TM3186 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) -  small hut by Evelyn Simak TM3186 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) -  workshop by Evelyn Simak TM3186 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - workshop by Evelyn Simak TM3186 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Ops Group building by Evelyn Simak TM3186 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Ops Group building by Evelyn Simak


The site of the former Sick quarters is gone. Only one building, the one which housed the operating theatre, and a small guard or picket hut at the entrance to the site remain in place, now in a private garden. Many thanks to Mrs J Custerson for permitting access.


TM3186 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Sick quarters by Evelyn Simak TM3186 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Sick quarters by Evelyn Simak


Site 3, a Communal site, was situated in the grounds of the former Boys (or Bois) Hall which is now a wood traversed by a public footpath. A number of concrete tracks, hardstandings, hut bases and a blast shelter all dating from the war have survived. Several buildings also remain in this area, the largest being the gymnasium. One building on the former Officers mess site which adjoined Site 3 has since been converted into a stable block. Two small roofless brick-built structures of the same design as the transformer shelter still extant on the Headquarters site (Site 2) can be found beside an old overgrown track about 200 metres distant from each other.


TM3186 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Site 3 by Evelyn Simak TM3086 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Site 3 by Evelyn Simak TM3086 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Site 3 by Evelyn Simak TM3086 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Site 3 by Evelyn Simak TM3086 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Site 3 by Evelyn Simak


The buildings of one of the eight Communal sites, Site 4, have survived almost complete and in good condition, comprising offices, the cook house, the MT engine shed, boiler houses and a Red Cross hut.


TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - cookhouse entrance by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - office building by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - office building by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - MT vehicle shed by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Red Cross hut by Evelyn Simak


The PX and Supply & tool stores building is situated beside the track leading onto the site from the east. It contains two murals created by the airmen who worked there.


TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - the PX by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - entrance to Stores by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Mural by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Mural by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Mural by Evelyn Simak


Three long accommodation blocks standing in parallel rows are just across the meadow from here. There are also two (now inaccessible) air raid shelters near the crossroads.


TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - accommodation blocks by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - air raid shelters by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - accommodation blocks by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - accommodation blocks by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - small hut by Evelyn Simak


A shower and ablutions block, adjoined by a brick-built blast shelter, is located a short distance to the south.


TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - shower block by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - shower block by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - shower block by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - shower block by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - shower block by Evelyn Simak


One of the largest buildings on the site housed the Aero Club and its associated dining halls. This building is most noteworthy because of the number of murals it contains. These murals were created by the men who were based here during the war.


TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Aero Club building by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Aero Club building by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Aero Club building by Evelyn Simak


TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Aero Club mural (1) by Adrian S Pye TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Aero Club mural (2) by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Aero Club mural (3) by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Aero Club mural (4) by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Aero Club mural (5) by Evelyn Simak

TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Aero Club murals (6 + 7) by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Aero Club mural (8) by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Aero Club mural (9) by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Aero Club mural (7) by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Aero Club mural (10) by Evelyn Simak


Please note that all these buildings are situated on private land and can be accessed only by permission of the respective owners. My grateful thanks go to Mr L.A. Hinsley for allowing access onto his land at the Grange, and to Mr A.R. Hinsley for giving permission to photograph the HQ site buildings on his farm.

Nothing has survived on the WAAF (Women's Auxiliary Air Force) site which used to be located a short distance further to the south by the junction of Grange and Park Roads. This area is now taken up by a mushroom farm.

Adjoining the WAAF site in the north was Site 6, which would seem to have been another Communal site. When the buildings were demolished to make room for the mushroom farm, a mural depicting a mermaid was rescued by the owner, David Mann. The mural was made by Sergeant George P Hutschenreuter, a 446th Bomb Group B-24 Liberator ground crew member based here. It is now on display in the 446th BG hut at the Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum. In a small overgrown wood on the edge of this site several concrete platforms can be found as well as one wooden hut still standing albeit much overgrown. There is also an air raid shelter on this site. The interior of this shelter is flooded.


TM3187 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Mural by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Site 6 by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Site 6 by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Site 6 by Evelyn Simak TM3185 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Site 6 by Evelyn Simak


The airfield had four Defence sites, one each for each of the squadrons based here. These sites were dotted around the edge of the airfield well away from the runways. Only a couple of buildings have survived, albeit in a very dilapidated condition, such as the large Nissen hut on the defence site of the 704th Squadron.


TM3287 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Defence site by Evelyn Simak TM3287 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Defence site by Evelyn Simak TM3287 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) - Defence site by Evelyn Simak


Information about the airfield, complemented by exhibits, can be found at the Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum which is only a short distance away from the airfield.


TM3187 : RAF Bungay (USAAF Station 125) by Evelyn Simak TM3187 : The Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum in Flixton by Evelyn Simak TM3187 : The Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum in Flixton by Evelyn Simak TM3187 : The Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum in Flixton by Evelyn Simak TM3187 : The Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum in Flixton by Evelyn Simak


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