​​Communal Site 1, Station 139​

United Kingdom




​​​At the airfield Station 139, Thorpe Abbots, there were a total of two communal sites with further eight smaller sites. The communal sites were mainly for various social and group activities, including mess halls.

​​​Communal site 1 was located just to the north of Upper Street, around where the woodland remains to this day. Civilians still lived in the village during this period and would interact with the American crews.

One of the mess halls was located in the area where air and ground crew went to eat, known to the American crews as ‘chow halls’. There was a post office exchange that allowed the crews to send off censored letters back to the US or pack up items to be sent back to families. This exchange also sold ‘candy’ which the local children benefitted from as they were given treats by the crews. A cinema was located here for the air and ground crews to visit and try to relax away from their intense jobs and operations. Local children used to try and sneak in, but it was difficult due to strict checks on the doors.

Close by were the Red Cross huts. These were staffed by both men and women, with women who worked for the Red Cross or as nurses on the airfield located here. The ladies of the Red Cross either slept in the huts or billets close by. The nurses were also billeted in the area. Around Christmas, the local children enjoyed visiting the Red Cross huts for refreshments and the Christmas party. Presents were piled around the Christmas tree and were distributed to the children present at the party, which was attended by both crew and local families.

To the west of the village was site 1, where the billets for 351st Bombardment Squadron were. To the south of the village was site 5, today a rectangular wood, with the billets of 418th Bombardment Squadron. Site 3 was off Kiln Lane to the east side before the houses of the village. Here the 349th Bombardment Squadron were billeted. Site 4 was located just slightly south of site 3 in a large wood. The 350th Bombardment Squadron were billeted here.

Today, some of the infrastructure remains around the area but is mostly located on private land.


​​Upper Street, Billingford​, ​​Diss​, Norfolk, ​​IP21 4HP​