Airfield Site and Museum

Back Hethel Airfield, Potash Lane, Hethel Norfolk

A small museum now occupies the site of the American Eighth Air Force Station 114.

Hethel airfield was one of the first of the ‘austerity’ airfields that were planned in Britain following the outbreak of the Second World War. The airfield was originally intended for RAF use, but then passed to the Americans who used it in an administrative role, but it was also technically an operational airfield for 320 Bomb Group, but the aircraft themselves were in North Africa. The airfield was further developed and in 1943 it became the operational station for 389 Bomb Group, the ‘Sky Scorpions’, part of the 2nd Air Division and operating the B-24 Liberator. This group were also based in North Africa for a time and it was only in the late summer of 1943 that Hethel joined the rest of the Division in the strategic bombing campaign against Germany.

389 Group flew 307 out of its 321 missions from Hethel for a cost of 116 aircraft. The Americans moved out almost immediately after the end of the war, when for a short time Hethel became a RAF Fighter Station, the operating both Spitfires and Mustangs. The site was finally given up by the military in the 1960s.

The former airfield site is now used by Lotus Cars, with parts of the runway now used to test high performance sports cars.

A museum dedicated to the airfield is now housed in the former gym and chapel. The buildings also include wartime wall paintings.

The museum has restricted opening times, so check the website for availability: http://hethel389th.wordpress.com/

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