Sub-fonds - 489th Bomb Group (Halesworth)

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489th Bomb Group (Halesworth)


  • 1942-1987 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

11 boxes; 1 photographic box; 5 audio recordings

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Name of creator


Administrative history

Part of the United States Army Air Force 2nd Air Division, 8th Air Force.
Comprised the 844th Bomb Squadron 1943-1945. 845th Bomb Squadron 1943-1945. 846th Bomb Squadron: 1943-1945 and the 847th Bomb Squadron: 1943-1945.
Constituted as the 489th Bomb Group (Heavy) on 14 September 1943. Activated on 1 October 1943. Moved to England, April 1944-May 1944, and assigned to the 8th Air Force. Based at Halesworth Station 365, Suffolk (also known as Holton airfield). Entered combat on 30 May 1944. Returned to the United States, November 1944-December 1944, to prepare for redeployment to the Pacific theatre. Redesignated 489th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) March 1945. Alerted for movement overseas in summer 1945, but war with Japan ended before the group left the United States. Inactivated on 17 October 1945.

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Scope and content

This section contains records relating to the personnel and activities of the 489th Bomb Group, its associated Bomb Squadrons and ground crew of the airbase at Halesworth, Suffolk. It contains both original records and copies including official orders, crew lists, mission lists, mission diaries, memoirs, published articles, maps and news cuttings. Also contains correspondence, photographs and memorabilia.
Constituted as the 489th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 September 1943 and activated on 1 October 1943 (hereafter the 489th Bomb Group). The Group trained with B-24's, moved to England, April-May 1944, and was assigned to Eighth Air Force (8th Air Force). It entered combat on 30 May 1944 and returned to the United States, between November 1944 and December 1944, to prepare for redeployment to the Pacific Theatre. It was redesignated the 489th Bomb Group (Very Heavy) in March 1945, equipped with B-29 aeroplanes and alerted for movement overseas in the summer of 1945. However, the war with Japan ended before the group left the United States and it was deactivated on 17 October 1945.
Key missions and events:
In early June 1944, the Group concentrated on targets in France in preparation for the Normandy invasion. In an attack against coastal defences near Wimereaux on 5 June 1944, the Group's lead aeroplane was seriously crippled by enemy fire, its pilot was killed, and the deputy Group Commander, Lt Col Leon R. Vance, who was commanding the formation, was severely wounded. Although his right foot was nearly severed, Vance took control of the aeroplane, led the Group to a successful bombing of the target, and managed to fly the damaged aircraft to the coast of England, where he ordered the crew to bail out. Believing a wounded man had been unable to jump, he ditched the aeroplane in the Channel and was rescued. For his action during this mission, Vance was awarded the Medal of Honor. For audio recordings, newspaper articles and a press release relating to Vance, see MC 371/896/1-2, MC 371/602 and MC 371/604. For further administrative and biographical history about the incident, see the section in this catalogue under 'Vance, Leon', at the end of the records of the 489th Bomb Group.
The 489th Bomb Group supported the landings in Normandy on 6 June 1944, and afterwards bombed coastal defences, airfields, bridges, railways, and V-weapons sites in the campaign for France. They began flying missions into Germany in July, and engaged primarily in bombing strategic targets such as factories, oil refineries and storage plants, marshalling yards, and airfields in Ludwigshafen, Magdeburg, Brunswick, Saarbrucken, and other cities, until November 1944. Other operations included participating in the saturation bombing of German lines, just before the breakthrough at St Lo, France, in July 1944; dropping food to the liberated French and to Allied forces in France during August and September, 1944 and carrying food and ammunition to the Netherlands later in September 1944.
Bomb Squadrons:
844th Bomb Squadron: 1943-1945.
845th Bomb Squadron: 1943-1945.
846th Bomb Squadron: 1943-1945.
847th Bomb Squadron: 1943-1945.
Attached Units:
For a full list of attached units, see John Hane, 'Second Air Division Memorial: In memory of all those Americans who, flying from these bases and posts, gave their lives defending freedom, 1941-45' (Author, 1963). A reference copy is available in the Norfolk Record Office searchroom.
Wendover Field, Utah, 1 October 1943-3 April 1944.
Halesworth, England (Army Air Force Station no. 365), c. 1 May-November 1944.
Bradley Field, Conneticut, 12 December 1944.
Lincoln Army Air Field, Nebraska, c. 17 December 1944.
Great Bend Army Air Field, Kansas, c. 18 February 1945.
Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona, 3 April 1945.
Fairmont Army Air Field, Nebraska, c. 13 July 1945.
Fort Lawton, Washington, 23 August 1945.
March Field, California, 2 September 1945-17 October 1945.
Col Ezekiel W. Napier, from 20 October 1943.
Lt Col Robert E. Kollimer, from 5 February 1945.
Col Paul C. Ashworth, 11 April 1945-unknown.

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The Norfolk Record Office requires the permission of the 2nd Air Division Memorial Trust Librarian before we can supply copies of any documents in this archive, copyright permitting. Please contact the 2nd Air Division Memorial Trust Librarian: e-mail; telephone, +44 (0) 01603 774747 and postal address, The 2nd Air Division (USAAF) Memorial Library, The Forum, Millennium Plain, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 1AW, England.
If you are interested in copies of sound recordings in this archive, copying restrictions may apply. Please contact Norfolk Sound Archive staff for details: e-mail; telephone, + 44 (0) 01603 222599 and postal address, Norfolk Record Office, The Archive Centre, Martineau Lane, Norwich, NR1 2DQ.

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Related units of description

For other photgraphs relating to the 489th Bomb Group in this archive, see MC 371/908/67. For bomb group patches, see MC 371/844.
The 2nd Air Division Memorial Library holdings include:
1) Microfilm from Maxwell Airforce Base: for the 489th Bomb Group, see BO649-650; for the 844th, 845th, 846th and 847th Bomb Squadrons of the 489th Bomb Group, see AO665.
2) Video tapes relating to the 489th Bomb Group are located in the video collection.
3) Periodicals: '489th Bomb Group', newsletter, (February 1986-).

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Publication note

Select Bibliography:
Published Unit Histories: Charles H. Freudenthal, 'A History of the 489th Bomb Group' (American Spirit Graphics Corporation, unknown place, 1989). The Norfolk Record Office holds a reference copy of this publication and there are also copies in the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library's collection, available through the Norfolk Library Service.
Websites giving further information about the 466th Bomb Group and on which this administrative history of the Group is based [accessed 4 August 2010]:
489th Bomb Group Museum (Official website of the 489th Bomb Group):
Army Air Corps Library and Museum: <>.
Eighth Air Force Historical Society: <>.
8th Air Force in World War II presented by the Military History Group and Antique Militaria Network: <>.
Halesworth Airfield Museum: <>.
The Heritage League of the 2nd Air Division <>.
2nd Air Division Memorial Library: <>.
United States Air Force World War II Military Heritage Database: <>.

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Created 26/07/2005 by Droip. Modified 03/01/2019 by Catherine.Collins.


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