RAF Debden base visit

History of RAF Debden, home of the 334th in WW2

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RAF Debden base visit

Post by 334th_Padre » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:53 pm


On 15th of June 2016 I got into my car and made a journey which would change me. It was a spontaneous decision to go, and I had no idea of the chance I would have to explore this place for the rest of the day.

I lived about 2 hours drive from RAF debden, and it's a cruise along a major trunk road and a short hop along a motorway to reach the area of RAF Debden. Once I exit the motorway, it's navigating down some windey country lanes to arrive at Debden. I'd imagined coming here in a daydream when I'd looked into the history of the 334th after I joined the squadron but could not believe i was actually there for myself. Quite strangely I passed Duxford on the way, and gave a thought to all the history there, but this was new ground, something I had a connection to, and it was close !!

I pulled up on the verge on the opposite side of the road at the southern end of the north-south runway. I was instantly drawn to the sight of the memorial, and the runway leading off in the distance through a gap in the hedge. The memorial is of a light coloured brick structure, with what looked like a slate panel set on the front with the inscription, and it was finished off with a concrete plinth on top providing a bit of cover from above.
RAF MEMORIAL(reduced).jpg
As I walked up to the memorial, I also saw another object behind it. This was another memorial. It was a memorial to the 4th Fighter Group and was initially installed inside the main gate to the base further down the road. The main part of the base is now used by the British Army, and unfortunately not accessible by the public.

When the memorial pictured above was installed in 2015, it was decided that the memorial that was installed by the 4th Fighter Group Association should be moved to a more accessible location. This has meant that members of the public do not need special permission to see the memorial.
As I was looking around, I noticed that there was a way through to the Airfield, but also conscious that this was still MOD property, and if I wandered on there then I could get myself in trouble. I looked around and saw some signage.
The "flagpoles" installed near the entrance did not have any flags raised or lights lit so I cautiously wandered onto hallowed ground. As I did so, a soldier was using the taxiways as his running track. I called to him and asked about accessibility to the airfield. He questioned why I was there, and I explained myself. He told me as long as I'm there for good reason, there shouldn't be a problem with me walking around.

Overjoyed with being able to access the airfield, I stood at the southern end of the north-south runway and tried to picture the hive of activity this place would have seen in the war. Where I was standing I later discovered was the dispersal points for the 336th FS and I was just beginning a great adventure remminiscent of my childhood growing up on RAF bases.
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Maj 334th_Padre
Squadron XO

Per Ardua Ad Astra

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