HISTORY   Station 137
Lavenham Airfield in Suffolk. Construction started in 1943 and was  built by John Laing & Co, completed in Spring 1944. During 1943, the USAAF 487th Bombardment Group (H) was activated at Brunning AAB in Nebraska. This time was spent building the 836th, 837th, 838th and 839th Bomb Squadrons to full strength and to be fully combat ready.

The 487th arrived at Lavenham Airfield (Station 137) during April 1944 with B-24 Liberators under the command of Lt Colonel Beirne Lay Jr and flew their first mission on the 7th May. Only four days later, Lt Col Lay was flying as Air Leader when his aircraft got shot down. He survived and evaded capture, returned to base after a short while.

During July 1944 the 487th converted from B-24's to the Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress and flew their first mission on August 1st. Christmas Eve 1944, the Eighth Air Force launched their largest mission of the war with 3000 aircraft taking part. The 487th lead at the front with 4th Combat Wing Commander, Brigadier General Frederick W Castle, joining the Harriman Crew as Co-Pilot and Air Leader. He was killed when his aircraft got shot down at Hody in Belgium after ordering all crew to bail out and save themselves while he fought control of the stricken aircraft. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal Of Honor for his leadership and heroism and became the highest ranking Airman to receive this award.

The 487th lost a further 7 aircraft on this mission which became the heaviest loss for them during the conflict. During the war  the group had flown a total of 185 missions, 6021 individual sorties. 233 men were killed in action, 57 aircraft lost to all causes, 22 enemy aircraft destroyed and 14,641 tons of bombs were dropped.

The 487th left Lavenham in July 1945 and the airfield closed in 1948. The restored control tower remains with a  few out buildings and partial sections of runway.
Photo - Bryan Panton
Control Tower
Lavenham