Cat no. 805

USAAF Honington

Running time~33:00 Black & White Silent 1944 Honington, Suffolk

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Scenes showing the activities and many of the aircraft at USAAF Honington, repair and supply depot, towards the end of World War II



Damaged aircraft come to the base at Honington for repair. At Pulham St Mary, we see a junk pile of damaged parts. An RAF Stirling tows a glider to Arnhem in 1944, and a man works on the 5000th B17 Flying Fortress, covered in the signatures of the workers who built it. Other B17s are visible.

Shots of a Dakota, a B17 Flying Fortress, hangers and a Bobcat, then further views of Pulham.

There are shots of the shark nose decoration of a B24 Liberator, the watch tower at Honington, an RAF Typhoon's visit, a B17, a Mustang fighter, and gliders being towed to Arnhem, this time by Dakotas.

Aircraft crash, some in flames. Damaged planes land with their cheerful survivors. There are general day-to-day shots of the base. A damaged Mustang and a Marauder are on the runway and there are further views of the 5000th B17.

There are aerial views of the base from a landing plane, followed by a USAAF Lysander type plane, various Mustangs, a crashed B24 and a Superfortress taking off.

Background Information:

Robert Sturgess, a civilian engineer, was the Boeing representative at Honington airbase from 1943-1945. The out- of-date film stock he used was originally brought in for use in aircraft gun cameras to record mission attacks. (see: Cleveland, David, Films Were Made, David Cleveland 2009)

The following information is from the RAF website at
"In late 1942 the station was handed over to the United States 8th Army Air Force and the Advanced Air Depot No1 was set up to repair and modify the B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 3rd Bomber Division. In 1943 the Unit was renamed the 1st Strategic Air Depot and they moved most of their facilities to the Troston site, an area extending between Rymer Point and the present Air Traffic Control Tower. The airfield was enlarged in preparation for the arrival of the 36th Fighter Group (383rd, 384th & 385th Fighter Squadron and later the 1st Scouting Force) in 1944. The Group initially flew the lightning but were quickly re-equiped with the Mustang and they achieved notable success in their role as a fighter escort to the bombers. They also took part in strafing and dive bombing missions and they played an important part in the battle of the Bulge and the assault across the Rhine in 1945. They earned distinguished Unit citation escorting a bombing raid over Hamburg and flew their last mission on 25 April 1945 after completing 342 missions and destroying 449 aircraft against 143 losses. Before the Americans left, several large pits were excavated near the woods opposite Crash Gate 2, and filled with great quantities of equipment, ranging from broken aircraft to small technical and domestic items. Honington was the last American wartime base in England to be returned to the RAF in February 1946."

Featured Organisations:


Robert Sturgess

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