​​Eastern Perimeter, Station 139​

United Kingdom




​​​​The airfield Station 139, Thorpe Abbots was spread out over a large area with different functions and facilities for the upwards of 2,000 personnel who were based here. This eastern area of airfield was made up mostly of dispersal pans, where B-17 Flying Fortresses were positioned when not on operations. Most of the infrastructure has now been returned to agricultural use, but some of the dispersal pans remain.

​​​At the northeast corner of the airfield is a small copse of wood, known as Grove Wood. Within the copse is the partially submerged command centre Battle Headquarters. This was used by the senior officers if the airfield was attacked by air or land. The ground combat crews were billeted within the copse and would also act as security to the airfield.

Moving from a north to south direction along Vaunce’s Lane towards Mill Road, along the airfield perimeter, were ten dispersal plans and seven hard standing areas. The majority of these were positioned north of Red Farm.

The entrance into Red Farm was another access point into the airfield during the Second World War. This driveway can still be seen today, with the original concrete, and led to the second fuel store on the airfield, just inside the perimeter. Further along, the track led to where there was a large T2 Hangar. Here, aircraft was taken undercover for maintenance and repairs by the mechanics. This was one of two T2 Hangars that were at the airfield.

Along the perimeter track were dispersal pans and hardstands 13 to 25. Only number 17 is still visible today, with a small amount of track still around Red Farm.

Along Vaunce’s Lane is a signpost for a public footpath which leads into the former airfield. On the opposite side of the road, the hedgerow stops and there is a visible gap. This is level with the main runway running in an east to west direction. A local boy recalled how he and his friends used to take blankets and sit in the field watching the B-17 aircraft take off or land, just several feet above where they sat. He recalled upon reflection that it was a very dangerous position to be, especially on take-off with the aircraft full of fuel and loaded with bombs.


Thorpe Abbots Road, Dickleburgh, ​​Diss​, ​​IP21 4PH​