Wattisham is my local airfield, being located just a few miles from Stowmarket. The airfield has a long and distingushed history, having been built and completed just in time for war in 1939 and initally operating as a light bomber base with RAF Blenheims. The very first RAF raid on Germany was mounted from Wattisham. The USAAF 8th Air Force operated the 479th Fighter Group from Wattisham later in the war, and the airfield became a RAF fighter station post war, remaining as such until the Phantoms were withdrawn in 1992. Wattisham was handed over to the Army Air Corps, and is now the home to all frontline AAC Apache units. The RAF still have a small presence with 'B' Flight, 22 Sqn, RAF operating Sea King HAR3A's in the Search & Rescue role. Suffolk police also operate their Air Support Unit from one of the former Phantom Hardened Aircraft Shelters. Despite what many think, viewing and photography at Wattisham is still quite possible, although it has to be remembered that security is higher than in the RAF days. For further information on Wattisham's history, I would recommend Dave Eade's recently published book; 'RAF Wattisham: A Pictorial History', which contains one of my Apache images.

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