Could take awhile to get names on this page...Please Be Patient. [Below Names are here TEMPORARY. They are available PERMANENTLY on the alphabetic pages from MENU OF NAMES ABOVE.]
IMPORTANT Bob Green: Whitehall, PA. RAF Alconbury. For anyone who served at RAF Alconbury, Bruntingthorpe, Chelveston or Molesworth, you are invited to the RAF Alconbury website. Email me stating with which base you were associated, when you were there, your squadron, and any other brief information for details about your association with your base(s).02/20/10
Gerald Keener: Texarkana, TX. RAF Bentwaters, Nov 1980-Dec 1983, 81st Group. What great fun having lunch at the pub, chucking back a few pints Saturday night at Cinderelas in Ipswich or the Jazz Club. It has been a long time since I have been that free. Dated a girl named Juile Mott, she was a great person. 06/05/11
James A Beech: Medford, OR. RAF Bentwaters, Apr 1986, Medical Sq. 06/05/11
Les Nadon: New Hampshire. RAF Bentwaters, 1984-88, 81st Security Police, B Flt. Should have never, ever left. Best place in the world! Served with MSgt Bachynski and later ran A Flt NAAPA's.06/05/11
Allan Stearns: Fort Walton Beach, FL. RAF Bentwaters, May 1975-May 1978, Wing Safety Officer. I was the wing explosives safety officer. Lived in Woodbridge town, had two sons born at RAF Lakenheath. Loved the assignment. Great folks. I need to return for an up to date look at the old facilities, if they exist. I was in the command post a lot, so the museum is probably as I remember it. I had the highest security clearances due to the nature of my job and the items we had "hidden" on the base. Retired today as LtCol. 07/23/11
Graham West: Woodbridge, England. RAF Bentwaters, British Civilian, Early 1980's, 81st TFW, Refueling Maintenance. I was born in Woodbridge and have lived here all of my life. I had the honour of working in the refuelling truck workshop for a few years and met many great friends through being there. I realise now they have been the best days of my life. I would love to hear from anyone who knows me. Especially remembering the many crazy times with Maurice. To jog peoples memory of me I was in my early 20's and used to drive a '69 Charger, painted up just like the General Lee, remember me now? Best wishes to all. (Alt Email: email@example.com) 07/23/11
Adrian M 'Joe' Fauvie MSgt(Ret): Charleroi, PA. RAF Bentwaters, Mar 1977-Jun 1983, 81 Security Police Sq. When I arrived at RAF Bentwaters I was a SSgt working SPS Scheduling. Then I worked "B" Flight Security. As A TSgt I worked as a Security Staff NCO with Major Zickler Capt Wright and CMSgt John Hill. I worked Pass and Registration as a TSgt working with SMSgt Rickard and Col Heubusch. Other People I can Remember are Ron Faile, Douglas Yokum, Jim Teague, TSgt Keeney, Don Rushlow, TSgt Swatoy, Bernie Erb, Jim Penningston, TSgt George, MSgt Lumbardo, Major Duran, TSgt White, Msgt Bob Ball,Zuniga,Capt Saal,First Sgt Lee Swaine, Laura Vanselow, and so many more that I just can't list all of them. If you go to the 81st SPS homestead.com/B flight Security Photograph (?), you can see what a great bunch of guys they were. I remember all of those guys, and I am in the back row second from the right. I wish we could turn the clocks back but all of us have memories that will be with us forever. This is an Outstanding sight that can be cherished forever. Thanks to everyone. 07/23/11
Terry McGreevey: Roanoke, VA. RAF Bentwaters, Mar 1962-May 1963, 2164 Comm Sq. Previously assigned to RAF Alconbury from Mar 1960-62 with the 1266 AACS Sq. 07/23/11
Jonathan (Jon) Burchard: Perth Western Australia. RAF Woodbridge, Oct 1986-Jan 1990, 581st AGS 78th AMU. Served with a lot of people. Too many to name. Great Times, miss England. Will return one day. 07/23/11
Barry Wilson: RAF Fareham(?), 1956-1957, 3919th Combat Support Group (SAC). Trying to trace anyone who knew/knows my father SSGT Edward A Wilson, married in Cheltenham in Oct 1957 with I believe a TSGT Jonathan R Allen as his Best Man. 07/23/11
John Spears: RAF Bentwaters, Jan 1960-Apr 1964, Print Shop, Tech Site by the Motor Pool. I lost about 40% of my hearing from jet noise, the print shop was 120 feet from the taxi way. I need to contact others that have the same problem. 07/23/11
Alyson Sawkins: Ipswich, Suffolk UK. RAF Bentwaters/RAF Woodbridge, 1965-76. I am looking for my father George Bullock. I believe he is from Georgia. My mother name is Carol. I was born in 1967. If you knew George Bullock please contact me. 07/23/11
James Ray Monko: Terre Haute, Indiana. RAF Bentwaters/RAF Woodbridge, 1977-78, 81st MMS. I was there with Mark Sebald, Wayne Johnson and Tom Edmond. We had a great time. Froze our butts off in Norway on TDY. 07/23/11
Christopher Paul: RAF Bentwaters, Nov 1954-1955. Looking for my dad. I never knew him. He was a, Sgt?? apparently, and his first name was Eddie? Interested to know if anybody knows who he could be? My mothers name is Janet, then Adcock then from Norwich. They split when he returned to the States as she could not leave her family! Please help if you can. I will cause no person any harm with any knowledge I gain. 07/23/11
Don C Real MSgt: Tucson, Az. RAF Bentwaters, 1970-74, Dining Hall Supv. Anyone working in the dining hall at that time please contact me at 520.747.5238. 07/23/11
Blair Kennedy: Jupiter, FL. RAF Bentwaters/RAF Woodbridge, 1980-83, 81 CRS, ECM shop. Haven’t spoken to anyone from that time since I left. I’m on FaceBook. 07/23/11
Donald Bruce Jones: JupitDetroit, MI. RAF Bentwaters/RAF Woodbridge, 1979-81, Cook/Baker. Memories; Led Zeppelin at Kebworth, Pink Floyd, The Wall, at Earls Court, Underground in London, getting buzzed in the barracks, midnight chow after a night out, living off base in Saxmundon, Down at the pub. Friend of the party gang dies in fire after one of those electric heaters caught his blanket on fire. Everyone had to outdo everyone else's stereos. So on and so on. Good times, still dream about being there Should have done my 4 years there, Retired after 20 years. Now belong with veterans hospital in Detroit working on a 2nd retirement. 52 years old, over 30 years since then will never forget it. Michael Lee, Carl Banks, Jack Stevenson, everyone in the chow hall. Gained my manhood over there to a married woman from Maine, Cindy Tardy. Hello, stand up Detroit. 07/23/11
Billie G Hester: Lesterville MO. RAF Bentwaters, 1963-66, 92nd TFW. Enjoyed our time in England. Would like to hear from you. 09/19/11
Joe Wommack: Lakeland,FL. RAF Bentwaters, Nov 1962-Aug 1966, 92nd TFW. Wish more people would up date to currents status. 09/19/11
Rick Henry: Kemah, TX. RAF Bentwaters, Feb 1964-May 1967, OSI Detachment,81st SP. Seems like yesterday. 09/19/11
Bobby G Shaffer: Ashland, KY. RAF Bentwaters, 1983-85, Flight Medicine. My wife and I enjoyed our time there.When we first got there we lived a few weeks in the Nissen huts, then lived in Debenham for about a year before moving to base housing. Sad to say we are now divorced. She worked in the BX alterations store. Her name was Jody. I'm sure many of you visited her at one time or another. Though I wasn't officially attached to one of the flying squadrons, I did go TDY many times with the 67th ARRS. I would go with Tammy Weickle one of the Flight Surgeons. Does anyone remember John Nelson? He now lives in Utah. I do hope someday to travel to England to visit some of the old haunts. 09/19/11
Thomas Payne: Sedalia, CO. RAF Woodbridge, 1963-67, F-101 Avionics. Lived in Felixstowe and loved England. 09/19/11
Barbara Williams nee New: Las Vegas, Nevada. RAF Woodbridge, 1950s early 1960s. Just updating my e-mail blokebar@cox net. My late husband LA Williams aka Zeke sang with a group called 'The Stripes of Glory' led by Jodie Holmes ,who also was best man at our wedding in Detroit in 1963.I would love to hear from anybody that remembers him.These were the good old days.. 11/13/11
Daniel H. Smithson: Marion, AR. RAF Bentwaters, Nov 1982-Nov 1984, 81 SPS. Love to hear from anybody from that time and saw several names I still remember. 11/13/11
Donald Pennington: Flagstaff, AZ. RAF Bentwaters, Jun 1963-Jan 1970, 91st-92nd-78th. It was a good decade to have been in USAF and at RAF Bentwaters/RAF Woodbridge if anyone remembers me, please contact J-Bars rule and MJ-1s do wheelies. 11/13/11
Deborah Taylor: Wivenhoe, Essex UK. RAF Bentwaters?, 1957-58. Searching for Jose (Joe) Castello, a police dog handler at a Suffolk airbase in 1957-58. 11/13/11
Carol J Taylor: Lockport, NY. RAF Woodbridge 1980-1981 81st EMS(Bomb dump). Bowled on the Womens Base Bowling Team, and also on EMS 1. We bowled in the USAFE tournament in Germany, and went into a cathouse with other RAF Bentwaters bowlers. Was promptly escorted out with a firm grasp on my arm by the lead cat. Who would have thought that 30 years later, I’d be living in a Nevada county where prostitution is legal? Would like to hear from anyone who remembers me. Married Ricky McLellan in 1981,(also EMS). 11/13/11
Phillip T Griffin (Ret): RAF Bentwaters/RAF Woodbridge, 1977-79, Red Section, Maintaining F-4D's. Lived RAF Woodbridge. My jet was tail #778. My Flight Chief was MSgt Day. I was a young buck sergeant back then full of piss and vinegar having the time of my life. 12/16/11
Stephen Young (Ret): Cleveland, OH. RAF Bentwaters, Sep 1965-May 1968, 81st Airpolice K9 Handler. Played football on Bentwaters Football team, 1967 USAFE Champions. I was a reserve center and guard. The quarterback was Jim Giest, had a runningback Eddie Saunders, a tackle named Curly. 12/16/11
Bill Vinson: Boynton Beach, FL. RAF Bentwaters, Aug 1959-Aug 1962, 7519 Comm.Sq. Trying to hook up with Bob Burrus or Brenda Hickman. Love to hear from you. 01/17/12
Carol J Taylor: Lockport, NY. RAF Woodbridge, 1980-81, 81st EMS,Bomb dump . Bowled on the Womens Base Bowling Team, and also on EMS 1. We bowled in the USAFE tournament in Germany, and went into a cathouse with other RAF Bentwaters bowlers. Was promptly escorted out with a firm grasp on my arm by the lead cat. Who would have thought that 30 years later, I’d be living in a Nevada county where prostitution is legal? Would like to hear from anyone who remembers me. Married Ricky McLellan in 1981 (also EMS). 01/17/12
Patrick Hogan: Keokuk, Iowa. RAF Bentwaters/ RAF Woodbridge(?).I am, Erin Hogan-Law, Patrick's daughter. Is there anyway you can put me in contact with person who left the comment about softball with my dad? He has been talking about great memories playing ball in England. Thanks! 01/17/12
Michael Panicali (Capt):Jackson TN. RAF Bentwaters/RAF Woodbridge, Aug 1990-Sep 1992, 81st EMS (Phase)/91st AMU/92nd AMU. Acted as roving OIC, lost touch with everyone after returning to the US. 01/24/12
Patrick J 'Paddy' Clerkin:Summerville, SC. RAF Bentwaters, Sep 1977-Sep 1981, 81 TFW, Supply Sq, CEM. April 1970 to Aug 75 Player/Coach Base Soccer Team. USAFE Champions 1980 and 81. RAF Mildenhall, Base soccer team/Player Coach. 1973 USAFE Champions. 1974 USAFE Champions playing with RAF Lakenheath. 01/24/12
Stewart Rowland:Indianapolis, Indiana, RAF Lakenheath, 1978-82, 48 Security Police Squadron and RAF Bentwater/Woodbridge 1985-1991 (Retired), 81 Security Police Squadron. Now working for Ministry of Defense at RAF Alconbury, 423 Security Forces Squadron. Liked it here so much I decided to stay. Had a great time my entire stay at all of the assignments. Work with a lot of great people, LTC Towns, LTC Larkins, Maj Mson, CMS Weinburger, MSgt Cates and a whole lot more. Made some great friends. Worked with Scout Troop 811, when I retired from the AF I transferred to Leasingham Scout Troop (British Scounting), finally received my woodbadge. Stayed with Scouting till 2002 and left after 25 years. Love to hear from anyone who was there at the same time. 01/28/12
Caroline Hayes Coleman: RAF Bentwaters, 1957. Looking for Floyd Russell. Please contact me if anyone knows him. 01/28/12
Mary L Spencer-Kostelac:Pensacola, Florida. RAF Bentwaters, Mar 1981-Jun 1985. Originally from Gt. Yarmouth, Norfolk England. 02/11/12
G.A. Di Cintio:Brooklyn, NY RAF Bentwaters,1969-71 .81 TAC Hospital. Being from Brooklyn and after serving in Vietnam in 1968, England was somewhat of a culture shock for me. However, made great friends and shared many memorable experiences. Spent many days in Ipswich and still fondly remember those train rides to London. 07/26/12
Ben Snyder LTC:Pickerington,OH. RAF Bentwaters, lived on RAF Woodbridge, 1963-66, RAFB Accounting and Finance Officer . Comptroller at RAF Lakenheath from 1972-1976 and visited RAF Bentwaters from time to time. 1972-1976 We had the greatest group of guys that I ever worked with and it was probably my most "fun" assignment ever. It was such a shame that they just let the base completely run down. I still have many fond memories from there. 08/6/12
Jasper "Jay" E Harris: RAF Sculthorpe, 1962-?, (Submitted by Kim Harris Denicola). I just found some papers in my Dad's fishing box that I thought were very cool. My Father is now 87 but is still a Wonderful Man who loves his country very much. My father was stationed in England beginning in 1962 and we lived there for several years. and he was in the US Air Force, in case anyone might know him. The papers I found were from 1963 from the Sculthorpe Rod and Gun Club...it showed where he purchased fishing items ie: rod, reel, line, flys and several lures all equaling 21.70. I have even found some of the lures he purchased by matching the code numbers still on the box to this receipt. I thought it was really cool but also thought your website might also be able to connect some of the men my father knew with him. Just thought I would try. 09/2/12
Bobby G. Shaffer:Ashland, KY. RAF Bentwaters, 1985-88, 81st USAF Clinic-Flight Medicine. Wife Jody worked in BX Alterations. 21/12/12
Steven Fox:RAF Bentwaters, 1978-80, 81st USAF Clinic. I lived in a little house in Dennington and had way way too much fun. 02/01/13
Paul McGuire: RAF Woodbridge, 1981-83, 67th ARRS, Engine Shop. Worked with TSgt Clemons, Animal, Tom Hizer. 02/01/13
Ron Little: Locust Grove, GA. RAF Bentwaters, 1983-86, 510th AMU, 510th Crew Chief of Aircraft 988. Many deployments Turkey, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Norway. Lived in Ipswich and Shotley Gate. Attended Faith Baptist Church. 02/01/13
John M Lloyd: Wellington, Kansas, RAF Bentwaters/RAF Woodbridge, Nov 1976-Nov 1978, RAF Greenham Common/RAF Welford, Nov 1975-Nov 1976, worked in the Fire Department at both assignments. 23/01/13
Tim Polodna: RAF Bentwaters/RAF Woodbridge. I began my five years of active duty the 81st EMS. I lived on base and was dorm chief for two years, made senior airman because of this. Worked for Lt Col Minor in the orderly room. Am now 50. Best years of my life. So young and ignorant about life and the world. Three years in England and was sent to MI, Wurtsmith AFB. Hated it. Beautiful part of country but had not seen or experienced 'ice fishing' prior to this. Left active duty for five years and was in reserves at Richards-Gebaur AFB in KC MO. Was so tired of hearing the whine of A-10's, and wound up back in my home state at yet again another A-10 base! RAF Bentwaters/RAF Woodbridge was a transit base, so I was so fortunate to see pretty much everything in the NATO flying arsenal. Best memory was of seeing an SR-71 do a touch and go on a weekend when I was doing work off duty to get ahead. Actually was at the start of the flightline waiting for the bus and saw it come in. The pilot turned his head, and in 'civis' I snapped too and saluted, got a snap salute back and he hit his burners and was gone. Incredible! It is so strange to look back and see everything I took for granted and was so fortunate to be allowed to be a part of. Left reserves, bad decision on my part, at the beginning of desert storm. Finally realized just what the A-10 was made for and how stupid I was for pining for the 15's and 16's. The 15's were loud. but I seem to remember the 111's being about the most ground shaking, next to an F-4. Had a long TDY just once to Germany, and wish now that I had stayed in and tried to get an assignment there. Beautiful country and people. Again, just to young and ignorant to realize what was in front of me. Finished at Richards-Gebaur on duty working an air show. I remember seeing a 117 do a fly-by. The first time I had seen one, of course by this time they had been used in Iraq, but still I had never actually seen one, let alone seen one fly. So strange an experience. Having grown up in the age of Star Wars movies, it was surreal. I welcome anyone's thoughts of the period, I believe 82-85 or so, including those I pissed off. I remember you, my mistakes, my achievements, my British family, and all. Again, the best part of my life. Alternate email: Tim Polodna: 06/07/13
David M Kramarczyk: RAF Bentwaters, Jul 1967-Sep 1969, 81st Tac Hospital, Bentwaters. Medic, Vet Tech. Names I recall Larry Breton, Jerry Temple. 23/02/13
Hoyet Lee Brown Jr: RAF Bentwaters/RAF Woodbridge, Apr 1977-Apr 1980, 81st Transportation. We lived in base housing in the town of Woodbridge.My rank at that time was T/Sgt. 12/03/13
Jeff Shannon Benton: RAF Bentwaters/RAF Woodbridge, 1978-1979, Egress on the F-4’s. Enjoyed my time there, wish I could have gone back. 01/04/13
Judy Cullen: Belton, Texas, RAF Woodbridge, 1984-88. My sons both graduated from Woodbridge American High school. I loved living there. It was wonderful. When we first arrived, we lived in a Quonset hut for six weeks while we were looking for a house. It was a great experience for all of us. 06/07/13
John W Vrana II: RAF Bentwaters/RAF Woodbridge, 24 Jul 1987-14 Jul 1989, 81 TFW/ INT. 06/07/13
LT Col (Ret Maj Gen) John J Burns: RAF Bentwaters, 1959-62, Squadron Commander for the 522nd and then 523rd or vice versa? Judi Burns, Fort Walton Beach area, Daughter of Gen Burns and wife Pat Burns. Those 3 years were some of the best times for this AF “Brat”, though I loved it all. Our military family was very close at RAF Bentwaters (as with all base locations) and we kept in touch with most. Dad passed in 2000 and Mom in 2008. I am thankful to my parents and to everyone in our military family for such a great life. You are all mighty special people! 09/19/13
Col Guy H Foster: Overland Park, KS. RAF Bentwaters, 1963-67, From Son, Brock Foster 'Brat'. Looking for anyone who knew my father, or any other “brats” from that time. 11/04/13
Charles 'Chuck' Morgan: RAF Bentwaters, Air Police. Tina Mattocks is looking for Charles? Also name of Englehardt and Petersen. 11/04/13
Don Monroe: Roseburg, OR, RAF Bentwaters, 1971-76, 2164 Communications Sq. Met my wife on a blind date, were married in 1974 we are still married almost 40 years later. 12/10/13
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During World War II the Eighth Air Force alone lost 26,000 men in action, although the exact numbers cannot be known. What is sure are the memories left behind in East Anglia after an intense three years of operations by young men who are still remembered with deep respect and affection to this day. Although most of the American forces left Britain after Victory in Europe, a few bases were reactivated as the Cold War got under way. USAFE Badge As matters grew worse in international tension some new bases were loaned to America for use with the Thor Missile System. By the early 1960's this phase had passed, and these sites were stood down. With the fall of the Iron Curtain came further reductions in US forces held in Britain. In 1993 the twin bases at RAF Woodbridge and Bentwaters were returned to the British. In 1995 Alconbury closed after 53 years of US flying presence. Later that year Chicksands was returned to the British after 45 years in US hands. By the end of 1996 the USAFE had only 246 planes in Europe, its lowest ever level. It had peaked at 17,850 in 1945, fallen to 371 in 1950, peaked again at 2,132 in 1954, fell to 1,079 in 1964, and 700 in 1974, rose to 852 in 1989 and declined since then as the Cold War ended. The bases in the area of West Suffolk which figured in this story are listed below. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
a) Royal Air Force Beck Row airfield, as it was first known, opened in 1934 and was immediately important as part of the Mildenhall to Melbourne Air Race won by the de Havilland Comet. Today the Mildenhall Air Show is internationally know n, but what is less well known is that important airshows have been staged at Mildenhall since before the Second World War. The Silver Jubilee Air Review was held here in July 1935 in the presence of King George V, with over 350 aircraft on show. The first squadrons (99 and 149) at Mildenhall flew Heyford bombers and were on standby during the 1938 Munich crisis. By 1939 Wellington bombers were delivered and 99 Squadron was then re-stationed at Newmarket Heath. 149 Squadron remained at Mildenhall flying its first raid in Wellingtons in September 1939 against the German fleet near the Kiel Canal. From late 1940 to 1942 149 Squadron was part of the night bomber offensive. In 1941 the film "Target for Tonight" was made here. Stirling bombers were introduced in 1941 and in April 1942 149 Squadron moved to Lakenheath. In November 1942 the airfield was changed from grass surface to concrete. In April 1943 operations resumed with Stirlings of XV Squadron and 622 Squadron was formed. In December 1943 both squadrons converted to Lancasters. Number 622 Squadron disbanded in August 1945 and was replaced by 44 Squadron, here until August 1946. In February 1949 four squadrons of Lancasters arrived and later converted to Lincolns. However the Lincoln was already out of date and in March 1950 these squadrons disbanded. b) United States Air Force In mid-1950 the Americans came to Mildenhall and high security was installed. By June one squadron of B50's of 93rd Bomb Group arrived and stayed until February 1951 when 509th Bomb Group replaced them. The 2nd and 22nd Bomb Group followed in succession. In October 1951 Strategic Air Command (SAC) took control of Mildenhall. Tankers arrived in 1953 and in 1957 B47's first arrived. In 1959 the base become a transport centre and the C124's arrived and Mildenhall became home of 322nd Air Division. Later the controlling unit became 513th Tactical Airlift Wing. Mildenhall was to become the USAF's "Gateway to Europe" as a staging post for flights from the USA. Galaxies, Starlifters and C130 Hercules all flew through Mildenhall. In 1965 the first 5 EC135's moved to Mildenhall to take advantage of its longer runway. They started to fly one 8 hour mission a day as Operation Silk Purse. In 1966 the 513th Troop Carrier Wing had to leave France and moved to Mildenhall. By 1968 Operation Silk Purse was flying 24 hours a day. In 1972 the US 3rd Air Division HQ moved to Mildenhall from South Ruislip, where it still remains. In 1976 KC135 Tanker operations moved to Mildenhall from Torrejon in Spain. SR71 Blackbird In 1982 the first of two SR71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft was permanently stationed at Mildenhall. These planes were at first a closely guarded secret. Reports soon circulated among locals who saw them land or take off, but were usually dismissed as they were so rarely seen. Eventually it was acknowledged that the Blackbird was a reality. A10 In June 1987 the 513th Tactical Airlift Wing was re-designated the 513th Airborne Command and Control Wing. In 1990, with the closure of other UK bases, SAC's 11th Strategic Group and 13 KC135s moved from Fairford to Mildenhall which then held all of the in-flight refuelling KC135s in the UK. In February 1992 the 100th Air Refuelling Wing was set up at Mildenhall made up of the 513th TAW merged with SAC's 306th Strategic Wing which was deactivated. The 100th Regional Support Group was set up at the same time but in July 1994 was replaced by the expanded role of the 603rd RSG. This was deactivated in general restructuring in September 1996. In 1995 the 352nd Special Operations Group moved here from Alconbury. Still known as RAF Mildenhall, this base covers over 1,000 acres and the main runway is over 3,000 yards long. RAF Mildenhall operates its own website at www.mildenhall.af.mil. It is aimed at re-locating USAFE personnel.
RAF Lakenheath and the 48th Fighter Wing
RAF Lakenheath was built in 1941 and in January 1942 Stirlings of 149 Squadron started operations here as a satellite of Mildenhall. In April 1942 149 Squadron fully moved to Lakenheath and was based here for two years, later to specialise in mine-laying. 199 Squadron arrived in Wellingtons in July 1943 and then converted to Stirlings. In May 1944 199 Squadron moved to North Creake and 149 moved to Methwold. Lakenheath was inactive until July 1948 when the USAAF flew in B29's of 2nd Bomb Group as part of the Berlin airlift. Transports and Tankers followed and in 1951 93rd Bomb Group flew B50's from the base. Giant B36's and Globemasters followed. High security arrived in 1952 with a high wire fence so that B47's could arrive in 1953 together with other "secret" planes including the U2. In 1956 the B47 strategic bombers moved to the Midlands. In 1960 the Americans removed their nuclear capable fighters out of France and the 48th Wing moved into Lakenheath from Chaumont with F100 Super Sabres and were reassigned from the 17th Air Force to the 3rd Air Force. Both Mildenhall and Lakenheath became SAC bases with this move. Later the 48th FW were to fly F4's, and in 1977 the F111's were introduced which were later to see action over Libya and in the Gulf. In 1980 the F111s were modified by the installation of the Pave Tack system which allowed weapons delivery around the clock, from high or low altitudes.
On 15th April 1986, 18 USAFE F111F fighter bombers flew from Lakenheath to join 15 A6 and A7 attack planes from the USS America and USS Coral Sea in the Mediterranean to bomb terrorist-related targets in Tripoli and Benghazi. One F111 and its crew of two did not return. In August 1990 18 of Lakenheath's F111s are deployed to Saudi Arabia as part of Desert Shield. 14 more go in September, 20 in November and 12 in December. Desert Storm began on 16th January 1991. The F111's were to leave the 48th FW at Lakenheath during 1992 and the last one left in December 1992. Lakenheath now flies the F15E fighter planes with the distinctive twin tails. The first F15E in Europe come to Lakenheath in February 1992. 48 in total were delivered up to May 1994 to the 48th Fighter Wing. RAF Lakenheath operates its own website at www.lakenheath.af.lak but it is of most value for American service personnel relocating to the base.
During the war, Shepherds' Grove was a base for Stirling bombers. It was, in fact, built for the USAAF in 1943, but it was assigned to the RAF's 3 Group as a satellite of Stradishall in April 1944. At the end of 1944 Shepherds Grove was transferred to 38 Group. In January 1945 Numbers 196 and 299 Stirling transport squadrons moved in. These squadrons were involved in supply drops for Special Operations and towed gliders from Shepherds' Grove as part of the Rhine crossing. Stirlings continued to deliver mail and stores overseas until March 1946. In May 1946 the station was taken over by 60 Group as a satellite of Watton Radio Warfare Establishment, and some Ansons and Lancasters were positioned here. In 1950 the station was put on Care and Maintenance. In 1951 it was loaned to the USAF and in August the 116th Squadron of the 81st Fighter Intercepter Wing brought in F86A Sabres, the first in this country. 92nd Squadron joined soon after. In 1952 the 116th became the 78th Fighter Squadron, and 1954 received F84F Thunderstreaks. The 78th moved to Woodbridge in December 1958. In 1959 Shepherds' Grove became a Thor Missile Base and a flight of 82 Squadron operated them until their removal in 1963. The site then changed to agriculture with an industrial estate and extensive use for housing.
Tuddenham opened in October 1943 as part of 3 Group RAF and Number 90 Squadron started flying Stirlings in that month laying mines and special operations air drops. In May 1944 the Stirlings were replaced by Lancasters and they flew a large number of important day and night operations until the end of the war. Part of 90 Squadron formed the nucleus of 186 Squadron in October 1944 and moved to Stradishall in December. In March 1945 138 Squadron moved to Tuddenham from Tempsford, and converted to Lancasters. In April 1946 Numbers 149 and 207 Squadrons arrived, although only on half strength. Tuddenham closed for flying in November 1946. In December 1954 the base transferred to the USAF as a sub-station of Pickenham. From July 1959 to July 1963 107 Squadron was formed and Tuddenham became a Thor Missile base. After this period the base was sold off.
WEBMASTER: Jim Tansey (above with Maureen), stationed at RAF Bentwaters and RAF Woodbridge, Apr 1961 to Apr 1965. Worked at Base Civil Engineers Admin, Fire Dept, and Personal Affairs. Married 5 Oct 1963 to former Maureen Jarrett from 182 Cemetery Rd, Ipswich, Suffolk, England.
Maureen and Jim Tansey Older Pic!
Maureen and Jim Tansey Newer Pic!
This Site Is Always Being Updated! Please Visit Often. Our thanks to Linn Barringer (RIP), Ron Burrell and many more for their help and support. Also to anyone else whom we may have 'borrowed' from. If you see something you like...feel free to take it. This web site is intended for entertainment and informational purposes only. It is maintained for non-profit and non-commercial use. No profit is gained or solicited by this web-site. We reserve the right to edit the content and you have the right to tell us you don't like our edits!
PLEASE READ: Here at the 81st Training Wing we are very proud of the heritage we inherited from the 81st Fighter Wing. However, we don't have the full story on some things. One thing we don't know much about is the Ceremonial Sword we inherited along with the 81st nomenclature. Do you know of anyone who may have the word on this particular artifact? Any help you can give us in this matter will be greatly appreciated. Also looking for the Heraldry of the Pilot's Scarf. V/R, Michael Plummer, 81TRW/HO, tel: 228.377.2112
PLEASE READ: NOW OPEN. . .Bentwaters Cold War Museum
The Bentwaters Aviation Society, are a small group of friends who are working on a museum project at RAF Bentwaters. The Bentwaters Cold War Museum, based in the Wing Operations Centre (Command Bunker). Some rooms will be restored to their original condition, whilst other rooms will be used to show the history of RAF Bentwaters, the units that have been based there, and information on the 'twin' base at RAF Woodbridge. If you would like to help, in any way, we would like to hear from you. We are looking for all types of information, whether this is pictures, memorabilia, stories of your time at RAF Bentwaters/Woodbridge, or any help that you may be able to offer. More information on the museum can be found at: Bentwates Cold War Museum. Please let any ex-service personnel, or friends that you are in contact with, know about the museum project.