RAF Eye

RAF Eye

RAF Eye is a former World War II airfield in England. The field is located 11 miles NE of Stowmarket in Suffolk.

USAAF use

Eye airfield was constructed by the 827th and 859th U S Army Engineer Battalions during 1943, with additional work by British contractors. It was completed early in 1944 and was assigned USAAF designation Station 138. Eye airfield was one of the last wartime airfields to be built in the area and some of the equipment used in its construction remained for many years after the war.

490th Bombardment Group (Heavy)

The airfield was opened on 1 May 1944 and was used by the United States Army Air Force Eighth Air Force 490th Bombardment Group (Heavy). The 490th arrived from Mountain Home AAF Idaho and was assigned to the 93d Combat Bombardment Wing. The group tail code was a "Square-T". It's operational squadrons were:

  • 848th Bomb Squadron (7W)
  • 849th Bomb Squadron (W8)
  • 850th Bomb Squadron (7Q)
  • 851st Bomb Squadron (S3)

The group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators as part of the Eighth Air Force's strategic bombing campaign.

The 490th BG combat in June 1944 with B-24's, bombing airfields and coastal defenses in France immediately preceding and during the invasion of Normandy. Then struck bridges, rail lines, vehicles, road junctions, and troop concentrations in France. Supported ground forces near Caen in July and near Brest in September 1944.

The group converted to B-17's in October and operated primarily against strategic targets until the end of February 1945. The 490th mounted attacks against enemy oil plants, tank factories, marshalling yards, aircraft plants, and airfields in such cities as Berlin, Hamburg, Merseburg, Münster, Kassel, Hannover, and Cologne. Interrupted strategic missions to attack supply lines and military installations during the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945. Beginning in March 1945, attacked interdictory targets and supported advancing ground forces.

After V-E Day, carried food to flood-stricken areas of Holland and transported French, Spanish, and Belgian prisoners of war from Austria to Allied centers.

The 490th returned to Drew AAF, Florida on 3 September 1945, then was deactivated on 7 November 1945.

Postwar RAF use

After the war Eye then transferred to RAF Bomber Command on 1 November 1945 as an active station. However the airfield was gradually run down and was finally sold by the Air Ministry during 1962-63.

Civil Use

With the end of military control, Eye airfield was converted into an industrial estate with a small factory for processing straw being established in the hangars and former technical site. Later, other industrial development and new buildings were built in the same area. There is a a natural gas pumping station in the center of the former airfield.

The world's first poultry litter-fueled generating plant was built on the site in 1992. It produces 12.7MW of power and consumes 140,000 tonnes of chicken litter a year, as well as a proportion of horse bedding and feathers, and is owned by Energy Power Resources (EPR).

Many of the old taxiways and runways remain, along with a T-2 hangar and various wartime buildings in various states of repair and use.

See also

References

  • Freeman, Roger A. (1978) Airfields of the Eighth: Then and Now. After the Battle ISBN 0900913096
  • Freeman, Roger A. (1991) The Mighty Eighth The Colour Record. Cassell & Co. ISBN 0-304-35708-1
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
  • RAF Eye airfield at Control Towers
  • Eye airfield at mighty8thaf.preller.us

External links

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