Bottisham Airfield Museum

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Bottisham was opened in 1940 as a Royal Air Force station. There were a number of tenant units that flew from this station at various times between 1940 and 1943 with a large variety of aircraft types, from Tiger Moths to Spitfires, and the RAF Mustang I.

With the entry of the United States into the war Bottisham was assigned to the USAAF as Station 374 as a fighter station. With the influx of large numbers of US personnel and fighters, the base was expanded and new Pierced Steel Planking (PSP) was laid in the dispersal areas.  The 361st Fighter Group arrived on 30th November 1943 and flew their first combat mission on 21st January 1944 equipped with the P-47; however the heavy P-47’s were finding it difficult to operate from the soft runway, so a team of US Army engineers laid a 1,470 yard runway constructed from Pierced Steel Planking in just three days.

Bottisham wartime

In May 1944 the group traded the P-47 for the P-51 Mustang, the ideal platform to conduct long range penetration missions into the heart of the Third Reich, flying escort missions for the bombers, as well as counter-air patrols, fighter sweeps, and strafing and dive-bombing missions. It attacked such targets as airdromes, marshalling yards, missile sites, industrial areas, ordnance depots, oil refineries, trains, and highways.

September 1944 the 361st moved to Little Walden which had recently been vacated by the Ninth Air Force who were by now operating from France. Being a Class A airfield, Little Walden was considered a superior base for continued operations due to its concrete runways and better facilities.


Based around the original 375th Fighter Squadron dispersal buildings, Bottisham Air Museum tells the story of this Cambridgeshire airfield and the role its personnel and aircraft played in defeating Hitler’s Luftwaffe over the skies of Europe. From the tension of the invasion threat in 1940, to the American entry into World War Two that saw the 361st Fighter Group arrive to make an important contribution to the Eighth Air Force’s bombing offensive, Bottisham Air Museum grabs the story of the fighter air war and shares it with all.

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Wilbraham Rd
Cambridge CB25 9BU
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