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1962 (© Harry Holmes)
RAF Debden - Battle of Britain airfield
Airfield Today:
Army Barracks
Tower Type:
1937 Pre War Fort type 1959/34 (brick), with later tower extension
Other Buildings:
Not known
04/1937 to 1942, A pre-war RAF Fighter Station, was a Sector Station with Operations Block for No. 11 Group during the Battle of Britain. Many different RAF Squadrons based here including: 1, 17, 29, 65, 73, 80, 85, 87, 111, 157, 418, 504 and 601. Airfield attacked several times during the Battle of Britain.
03/1941 to 08/1941, No. 52 Operational Training Unit formed here with Hurricanes, moved to Aston Down.
05/1942 to 09/1942, RAF No. 71, 121 and 133 Eagle Squadrons here with Spitfires V's, transferred to the 8th USAAF.
12/09/1942 to 07/1945, 71, 121 and 133 RAF Eagle Squadrons became 334th, 335th, and 336th Fighter Squadrons of the USAAF 4th Fighter Group 'The Eagles' with Spitfire V's. 01/1943, converted to P-47 Thunderbolts, 02/1944, converted to P-51 Mustangs, lost 241 aircraft in action, ended the war as the highest scoring US Fighter Group with 583 air and 469 ground kills claimed, moved to Steeple Morden.
10/1944, No. 616 Squadron here with Meteors.
/1946 to /1960, diversion airfield for Duxford.
1950s to 1960s, Empire Radio School, RAF Technical Training Command, 1949, became Signals Division of the RAF Technical College.
/60 to /75, RAF Police Training School,
04/1976 to present, after RAF closure became Carver Barracks.
RAF Debden airfield 1937 - 1975 - 4th FG 'The Eagles' -
1945 (© USAAF)
RAF Debden airfield 1937 - 1975 - 4th FG 'The Eagles' -
Operational Fighter, Operational Training Unit, Army barracks
ID Code:
USAAF Station:
Grass, 2 concrete from 1940
3x - C Type, 1x - Bellman, 11x - Blister
2 miles SE of Saffron Walden
OS Ref:
All photographs © copyright as stated
RAF Debden airfield 1937 - 1975 - 4th FG 'The Eagles' -
1944 (© USAAF)
RAF Debden airfield 1947
I was a National Serviceman from 1946 to 48 and
stationed for most of that time at RAF Debden. Although you have a fine picture of the control tower, I thought you may like to see a photo I took in early 1947. I was a Runway Controller there and responsible for the caravan. One day whilst towing it back to its parking place beside the tower, I saw a fox and gave chase, just for fun. The heating in the caravan was by means of a coke-burning stove and, during my chase, it fell over tipping its red-hot coke all over the floor. I parked and went off to the Mess for supper. On my return next morning I saw the stove lying on the ground underneath the caravan, having fallen through the hole it had burnt in the floor. The inside of the van was thick with soot and ruined of
I naturally thought my job was over - I would lose my stripes and be banished to the cookhouse for pan-scouring duties. However, I discovered that my C.O. hated the old caravan, and this was his excuse for getting a new purpose-built one. The fire was termed a freak accident and I was dispatched to Sheffield in a Bedford 30-cwt truck to tow back a brand new four-wheeled caravan - complete with electric heating!

I attach three pictures for your interest - the tower with the old caravan;
a colleague and myself (on the jeep) with the old caravan (in the background can just be seen an HP Halifax which was named Mercury and the new caravan with an Avro Lincoln.

Best wishes, Brian Willey
RAF Debden
1973 (© Steve Bond)
RAF Debden airfield 1937 - 1975 - 4th FG 'The Eagles' -
09/1943 (© USAAF)
RAF Debden airfield 1937 - 1975 - 4th FG 'The Eagles' -
RAF Debden 4th FG airfield + airport control tower pictures 4th FG = © robert truman 2002