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History of RAF Bassingbourn
Control Tower. 1936, adapted 1943. Built to designs of the Air Ministry’s Directorate of Works and Buildings. Rendered brick with asphalt roof.
Although associated with some of the RAF’s first 1000 bomber raids, Bassingbourn – opened as a medium bomber base in March 1938 – is more widely known through its function from 1942 as the USAAF’s flagship station. The control tower, a 1934 design, was extended in association with the remodelling and extension of the airfield in 1942, prior to the arrival of the 91st Bomber Group in October. Proximity to Cambridge and London facilitated visits by many dignitaries, including Eisenhower and the King and Queen, and the ‘Ragged Irregulars’ were chosen as the subject of Wyler’s celebrated colour film of an American bomber raid, known to millions as the ‘Memphis Belle’. It was also the home of the restored ‘Shoo Shoo Baby,’ now in the Wright Patterson Museum, Dayton, Ohio. One of the 4 ‘C-type’ hangars has been demolished.