Built in 1943 for the U.S.A.A.F but never taken up.. The
airfield soon came under control by RAF bomber command from
early 1944. In August 1944 RAF coastal command took over.
Originally the RN had lodger rights from No.16 group but
little use was made of this facility before the end of the
war in Europe; only two squadrons of Barracudas operated from Beccles,
one for a five week period in September/October
1944 and March to August 1945. In late October 1944 the airfield was loaned to the
There is some confusion over what status of the RN
presence at Beccles - there is mention of the RN presence
being 'on the Books of HORNBILL' and then later as being
'HORNBILL II' which seems an odd choice since 'H.M.S.
HORNBILL was R.N.A.S. Culham in
Berkshire (now Oxfordshire). Since Beccles was near to RNAS
Halesworth (approx 11 miles by road) logic suggests that it
should have been 'SPARROWHAWK II'...
Click here for a list of
Admiralty Fleet Orders:
Confidential Admiralty Fleet Orders: