Rougham Control Tower Museum

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Today the airfield is known as Rougham; however during World War Two the site was known as Bury St Edmunds as this was the nearest town. This station was constructed for the USAAF between 1941 and 1942 to the standard Class A specification seen on many other airfields. Class A was the specification set for an airfield that was to be used as a heavy bomber station with three runways, 50 hard standings, two T-2 type hangars for aircraft maintenance, a bomb dump and enough accommodation to house around 2900 personnel dispersed in the surrounding countryside. Although some construction was still underway the station opened in September 1942 and was officially known as AAF Station 468.

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Although built to accommodate heavy bombers, the first USAAF group to use Bury St. Edmunds airfield was the 47th Bombardment Group (Light) which arrived in mid-September 1942. The 47th was equipped with the Douglas A-20 Havoc bomber but the group quickly moved to Horham.  Bury St Edmunds then became the home of 322nd Bomb Group (Medium) flying the B-26 Marauder before the group left for Earls Colne in June 1943, exchanging bases with the 94th Bombardment Group (Heavy) flying the B-17 Flying Fortress.

The 94th largely flew strategic bombing missions attacking German industry such as aircraft production, oil supply, and rail marshalling yards receiving two Distinguished Unit Citations. The first was awarded for the mission over Regensburg on 17th August 1943 after near continuous attacks by enemy fighters,  while the second was for mission against an aircraft parts factory in Brunswick on 11th January 1944 where the group fought their way through adverse weather, heavy flak, and savage fighter attacks.

Like many bomb groups, it switched to a more tactical role in support of the D-Day landings in Normandy, attacking enemy artillery in support of ground forces during the breakthrough at Saint-Lô, Operation Market Garden, the Battle of the Bulge, and the allied crossing of the Rhine.

 

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The 94th flew a total of 316 combat missions, losing 148 aircraft. After VE Day the group dropped leaflets to displaced people and German civilians before returning to the USA in December 1945. The station was now returned to the Royal Air Force, however on 11 September 1946, the facility was turned over to the Air Ministry before being closed in 1948.

Today the control tower and other buildings stand as a memorial to all those who flew from Bury St Edmunds, and houses a museum containing a number of artefacts and stories of those who flew from the base, including Brigadier General Frederick W Castle who won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on Christmas Eve 1944.

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Rougham Industrial Estate
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP30 9XA
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