RAF Shepherds Grove
RAF Shepherds Grove was built for American use, but was opened by 3 Group, RAF on 03 April 1944. The name came from a small copse nearby and the airfield is close to Walsham le Willows in Suffolk.
After World War II F-86 Sabres were stationed here in 1951, and in 1954 F84 Thunderstreaks were based here. At this time, the 78th Fighter Bomber Squadron, flying Republic F84F's were here, as part of the 81st Fighter Bomber Wing.
The nuclear store dates from February 1957. The rectangular area was originally double fenced, and was guarded 24 hours a day. Dogs patrolled between the fences dusk to dawn and in bad weather when visibility was reduced. There are two watch towers, one inside and one outside the surviving perimeter fence, which were manned at all times, as was the gate picket There are two igloo type buildings for the major part of the bombs, in the case of Shepherds Grove these were first Mk7's and later Mk28 thermonuclear weapons. The third igloo building, externally identical to the bomb stores where the main casings were kept on their bomb trolleys, was used for nuclear component storage. This building is only about half as long as the main stores, and contains a huge concrete safe. The two bomb stores are reinforced concrete boxes, mounded in earth, with gravel filled steel doors. The largest building other than these is a large building on a single story, used for maintenance of the weapons. There was also a Nissen hut for general storage, and for painting the weapon casings.
Later when the planes had gone, this airfield was used for Thor missiles, but the Thor site was on the main airfield and not on the bomb storage site. Once the fighter bombers and their weaponry was withdrawn, Thor missile pads were built on the main airfield in 1959 and the new personnel associated with them moved in.
Part of the main airfield site is now an industrial estate.
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