station 146, seething - home of the 448th bomb group

Bringing stories to life

seething control tower

Situated near the village of Seething, Norfolk, you will find United States Army Air Force Station 146 - Home of the 448th Bomb Group, 1943-1945. In that time, many hundreds of stories were created by the men and women who were stationed there. Herein you will discover some of those stories.

B24 coming home Seething

Bringing History to life

Both my Granddads served their country in the First World War, one in the Royal Engineers and the other initially in the Norfolk Regiment and then in a London Regiment, from where he was seconded on to the staff of General Sir Edmund Allenby. Both sustained injuries through combat, but only one received what they called a ‘Blighty One’, which meant he needed to be shipped back to England.

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When the Second World War began, they both joined their local Home Guard units.  My Dad was ‘called up’ and served as ground crew in the Royal Air Force.  He saw service in the North Africa and Italian Campaigns.  My Mum served in the Woman’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF for short).  She was in the Balloon Command and by December 1942 10,000 men had been released for other duties by approximately 15,700 WAAF barrage balloon operators.  By Autumn 1944 the use of barrage balloons was no longer considered necessary and Balloon Command was disbanded in February 1945. My Mum and her fellow operators all had to re-muster and she ended up working with Spitfires.  

Rugged but Right

Coming together to share their stories

When both my parents were demobbed, they became lifelong members of the Royal British Legion and of the Royal Air Force Association.  I tried to count how many Remembrance Day or Battle of Britain Day parades I have attended.  As I grew up, I started to asked questions as to why and what they were doing. I started to listen to the stories the veterans were telling, some funny, some sad, and some just naughty! By our parents and grandparents’ example, I came to understand what Remembrance meant to them and then to us.

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I always remember the long lists of names of those people who had given their lives in the service of our country and wondered who they were, where they lived, and who their families were.  It was not until 2019 that I attended a Memorial service at which a lady stood up to speak.  As she began, she told of two men who had died in the service of their country and explained a little more about them.   Most importantly for me she gave their backgrounds, and they became real people who had a family, a mum and dad, brothers and sisters who would never see their loved ones again.

James Hardin

Honoring their sacrifice

We all owe so much to those who served during the war and the best way to honor their sacrifice is to keep their stories alive.

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"Many children believe that the war happened in London and not Norfolk." - a local school teacher.

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Our website is dedicated to those who served in the 448th Bombardment Group and around Seething Airfield  as well as those whose paths crossed the threshold of the runway.

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Over time we will be building an online memorial collection of our works and these will be continuously updated as we discover new information. 

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If you are interested in finding out about the people who served here or you want to contribute yourself please contact us.

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8th Air Force 448th Bomb Group
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8th Air Force 448th Bomb Group

History of the 448th bomb group

The origin of what would become the 448th Bomb Group can be traced to a United States War Department document dated 6th April 1943 which contained a list of Army units that were to be activated. Shortly afterwards orders were written that outlined how the bomb group would be constructed. It stated that the core of its Headquarters and 4 squadrons would be taken from the 29th Bombardment Group based at Gowen Field, Idaho.

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Following a massive enlargement of its numbers, training and development, the 448th found itself at Wendover Field, Utah where it went through its training for combat. A further move saw the training continue at Sioux City, Iowa. It was here that the 448th transitioned onto the new B24H from the ‘D model. With the arrival of the new aircraft, training became more intense. A final move to combat was not far away.

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Whilst the aircrews trained hard, the ground echelons were themselves being raised from other Groups or were being created from scratch. It was these ground staff that were quickly headed to the incomplete airfield that was named Station 146 Seething. The sight that greeted the initial 200 enlisted men and 6 officers of the 58th Station Compliment was one of mayhem. The airfield was partially built with incomplete infrastructure and living facilities. They, along with their RAF colleagues, set-to in preparing the airfield as quickly as possible for the arrival of the aviation side.

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Even though the airfield was not finished the runways were already providing sanctuary for battle damaged aircraft.  It is recorded that three fighters, a Mosquito and a Lancaster quickly found safety.  A Wellington is also known to have landed here in the early days, crashing into a house at the end of the runway. These early arrivals were a foretaste of things to come, the proximity of the airfield to the coast meant there was a steady stream throughout the next 2 years.  A most notable damaged visitor was the B17 “Ye Olde Pub” from Kimbolton. 

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Back stateside, the 448th continued to prepare for war.  The start of November saw them leave Sioux City and head to the much colder climate of Herrington Field, Kansas.  It was here that final preparations were quickly made for combat overseas.  The aircraft received new life rafts, IFF equipment, armour, updated radios and many more items.  The aircrew themselves were issued new personal equipment and were subjected to a myriad of paperwork.  On the 11th November 1943, as the United Kingdom observed Armistice day, the first aircraft of the 448th departed Herrington to head off along the assigned route to England.   These heavily overloaded aircraft routed via Morrison Field, Florida to Marrakech, Morocco then up to St Mawgan, Cornwall.  The stories of how the aircraft got to England are many and worth several volumes.   But they slowly arrived and were soon on the final leg to Seething and home.

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Meanwhile the ground echelon were on their way, in less glamorous fashion.   These men were moved on a military train via Chicago, Illinois to Camp Shanks in Orangeburg, Buffalo County, New York . On 23rd November they were finally on the “Queen Elizabeth” and leaving the Statue Of Liberty behind them.  Next stop was Greenock, Scotland, 6 days sail away.  Because of the high speed of the “Queen Elizabeth” it sailed alone, which must have been very unnerving to all those on board.  After they disembarked it was onto more trains and the long tedious trail to Ditchingham where they transferred onto trucks for the three mile drive to their new home.  It was 1st December 1943.

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With the arrival of both the aircraft and ground personnel at the same time Station 146 and the 448th Bombardment Group were here for the duration.  Many people would see service here and thousands of stories would be created.  The lives of those who lived in and around the airfield would never be the same. Station 146 is intrinsically linked to a good many locations in South Norfolk and we aim to seek out those remaining stories and bring them to the scholar, history buff or family that wants to know more about their past.   

          

About Us

We are a three-generation family with a passion for aviation history.

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Ann and Peter have been historical researchers for many years and have had many articles published.

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James grew up with an interest in aviation and became fascinated with Seething Control Tower after the B24 liberator, "Diamond Lil", landed in Norwich in 1992.

We became actively involved with Seething Control Tower in 1995 and James stood as Chairman twice during our time there. As you can imagine it has been a big part of our lives.

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However, in July 2021 we decided the time was right to step away from the museum to pursue our passion for the stories of those who served at and around Seething Airfield. We formed the independent research group, Stories of the 448th. To this date we have helped many families find information about their love ones as well as helping other groups with their research.

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We do not charge for our services nor do we receive any funding from any organisations towards our services. This is our passion and we feel it's important that future generations gain an understanding of not only the bases of World War 2 but also the social histories of those involved.

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With the help of family and friends who share our interest; our mission is to deliver those stories to all, so their memory lives on and their story is never forgotten.

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