Record Details

NHER Number:15169
Type of record:Monument
Name:Thorpe Abbotts Airfield, World War Two airfield and battle headquarters


Built in 1942 this World War Two airfield was the headquarters of the United States Army Air Force's 100th Bombing Group. It was returned to the RAF in 1946, but was never used again, being sold off in 1956. However, the control tower and adjacent buildings have now been restored and opened as a museum and a memorial to the 'Bloody 100th'. In woodland nearby is a contemporary (and rare) sunken battle headquarters.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TM 183 807
Map Sheet:TM18SE

Full description

Thorpe Abbots airfield.
World War Two airfield. Headquarters of United States Army Sir Force 100th Bomb Group.
Control tower under restoration 1978.
See newspaper cuttings in file (S1) and (S2).
E. Rose (NAU), 30 August 1979.

Constructed 1942 intended as satellite to Horham but completed as full station. Returned by United States Army Air Force to RAF in 1946 but never used by RAF. Sold off 1956.
See (S3).
E. Rose (NAU), 3 August 1983.

Control tower and adjacent buildings now restored as museum. In wood known as The Grove, at TM 1901 8130 directly in line with control tower is a semi underground bunker consisting of two brick rooms, one inside the other, approached by stairs from north; to south is access to a room at higher level with ladder to roof. Sheets of blue plastic beneath concrete roof suggest it may have been remade.
E. Rose (NLA), 26 July 1995.

However, this blue plastic has been noted on other World War Two sites. [1] notes this as a rare Battle Headquarters, built high so as to avoid water table; retains original fittings.
His survey no. R4-5.
E. Rose (NLA), 10 April 1997.

August 2006. Listed Grade II.
See (S4) for further information.
A. Cattermole (NLA), 12 November 2009.

August 2008.
Proposed replacement of windows and frames of the second floor 'glasshouse' of the control tower.
See (S5) for further details
H. White (NLA), 7 January 2009.

For further information on the operational history of the airfield and photographs of remaining buildings, see (S6).
A. Cattermole (NLA), 13 January 2010.

A Pickett Hamilton Fort is located to the north-west of the control tower at TM 1871 8135.
Information from [2].
A. Cattermole (HES)

Monument Types

  • BATTLE HEADQUARTERS (11008/41) (World War Two - 1942 AD to 1945 AD)
  • CONTROL TOWER (World War Two - 1942 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MILITARY AIRFIELD (World War Two - 1942 AD to 1945 AD)
  • PICKETT HAMILTON FORT (World War Two - 1942 AD? to 1945 AD)
  • MUSEUM (Late 20th Century to 21st Century - 1990 AD? to 2100 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Designation: Listed Building Consent.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Website: Simon Purcell. 2011. Battle Headquarters.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1978. New life for an old tower. 7 July.
<S2>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1980-1983. [Articles on the return of American service men to visit the Thorpe Abbotts Airfield after the restoration of the control tower].
<S3>Article in Serial: 1973. Airfields of Norfolk and Suffolk. Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum. vol 4.
<S4>Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1391732.
<S5>Unpublished Document: Batley, R. 2008. Design and Access Statement, 100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum Control Tower.
<S6>Monograph: McKenzie, R.. 2004. Ghost Fields of Norfolk. pp 103-105.

Related records - none

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