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1945 (© 479th FG, USAAF via Al Heigh)
RAF Wattisham airfield
Airfield Today:
Once a fully operational RAF station, Wattisham is now home to a search and rescue helicopter unit, "B" Flight of No 22 Squadron, equipped with Sea King HAR3A helicopters
Tower Type:
1. Watch Office with Tower (Fort type), 207/ 36 (concrete)
2. Wartime tower, type not known - modern RAF tower is an extended conversion of this tower with large VCR
1. Demolished in 1992
2. In use
Other Buildings:
Not known
05/39 to 03/41, 107 Sqn with Blenheims, moved to Great Massingham.
05/39 to 03/42, 110 Sqn with Blenheims, moved to the Far East.
05/40 to 06/40, 114 Sqn and 12/41 to 08/42, 18 Sqn, both with Blenheims.
05/41 to 12/41, 226 Sqn with Blenheims, moved to Swanton Morley.
02/42 to 07/42, 236 Sqn with Beaufighters, moved to Oulton.
09/42, Airfield then had runways built and was transferred to the USAAF,
Hitcham Air Depot, later called 4th Strategic Air Depot, being built to the south in 1943.
05/44 to 11/45, 434th, 435th and 436th Fighter Squadrons of the 479th Fighter Group, 'Riddle's Raiders' with P-38 Lightnings, requipped with P-51 Mustangs 09/45. Named after Group CO Lt. Col. Kyle L. Riddle who commanded the 479th FG from 25/12/43 until his P-38 Lightning was shot down by ground fire 10/08/44. Group then led by Col. Hubert Zemke from 12/08/44 until his P-51 Mustang broke up in bad weather and he became a POW, 30/10/44. Amazingly Riddle evaded capture and returned to regain command of his Group from 01/11/44 until 01/12/45. 479th FG flew 351 missions the first 26/05/44 and the last 25/04/45, with 69 aircraft MIA for claims against the Luftwaffe of 155 air and 279 ground kills. The 479th was the last Fighter Group to join the 8th USAAF, the first to engage in combat with a Luftwaffe jet, 29/07/44, and claimed the very last kill by the 8th USAAF on 25/04/45. Group returned to the USA 11/45 and deactivated 01/12/45.
Post-war Wattisham became a permanent RAF Station in the 1950's and aircraft based here have included Meteor, Hunter, Javelin and EE Lightning, ending with Phantoms 31/10/92. Now used by Army Air Corps and RAF helicopters.
RAF Wattisham airfield
1979 (© Paul Francis)

The pre-war Watch Office with Tower was demolished in 1992 (© via Steve Ward)
RAF Wattisham airfield - 479th Fighter Group -
The modified WW2 control tower 1979 (© Paul Francis)
English Electric Lightning F1a
1979 (© Paul Francis)
RAF Wattisham airfield
Operational fighter
USAAF Station:
RAF Wattisham - 377, Hitcham Air Depot - 470
Grass then 3x - concrete and tarmac in 1942, extended in 1950
4x - C Type, Hitcham 4x - T2
9 miles NW of Ipswich
OS Ref:
All photographs copyright © as stated
RAF Wattisham airfield - 479th FG -
1993 (© DJ Akerman)
RAF Wattisham airfield - 479th Fighter Group -
2003 (© Mark Brotherton)
RAF Wattisham airfield - 479th Fighter Group -
2008 (© Glynn Young)
RAF Wattisham airfield - 479th Fighter Group -
RAF Wattisham 479 FG airfield + control tower = www.controltowers.co.uk © robert truman 2006 - Wattisham -