View Full Version : Earls Colne

08-06-2009, 13:06
Does anyone have a recent match up photo so can do a then and now??

09-06-2009, 17:24
Woodster - the tower has long since disappeared under the car park of a firm called Gigawave. Do you still want a photo?

10-06-2009, 16:14
yes thank you,would be most grateful for any help!

Richard Flagg
01-01-2010, 13:31
This has been emailed to me by Lindsay Aspin

It is the 65th Commemoration of Operation Varsity on 24th March, 2010 ...
Veterans from the Glider Pilot Regiment will be attending this Commeration
together with representatives of RAF 296 and 297 Squadrons (38 Group) who
were all based and left Earls Colne Airfield on Operation Varsity, 24th
March, 1945.

06-01-2010, 15:17

I am searching for any pictures of the control tower at Earls Colne airfield whilst in use during WWII - specifically, any pictures of the interior and the main clock which would have been used to start missions, time raids etc..

A long shot i know, but any info (personal pictures, possible books, web sites etc..) would be gratefully received.



13-03-2010, 20:27
HI all
I found this image of a B26 Marauder " Miss Emily" of the 455th BS at Earles Colne
with battle damage

13-03-2010, 21:20
A very crisp photo showing period aircrew combat clothing Ian, whats your source?

13-03-2010, 21:36
Hi Denis
Its a image from www.ww2incolor/us-air-force, its a fantastic site for research

21-03-2012, 10:08
Just a reminder that there will be a Commemorative service at Marks Hall near Earls Colne airfield tomorrow starting at 11am. This happens every year and remembers all of those who took part in Operation Varsity - crossing the Rhine in 1945. Though the numbers of veterans attending is dwindling with every year that passes there is still a good turnout. At the end of the service there usually is a civilian glider flyover an at least one if not two Apache helicopters from Wattisham. There are mini buses available from the car park to the Memorial where the service takes - no charge for this.

23-03-2012, 20:04
The weather was kind yesterday as you say, and it was a very pleasant ceremony. Quite a few veterans managed to get there.

Here's some pictures as requested.



Commanding Officer of Wattisham greets Senior Officer of Airborne.



Johnny Peters lays his wreath. He was one of the lucky ones to get out of Arnhem.

23-03-2012, 20:04









The ceremomy ended with the last post and 'Sunset' as the colours were lowered. Rounded off by two Apache helicopters from Wattisham flying over twice.

Respect to these old guys who made a difference.

25-03-2012, 19:54
The weather was glorious and it was good to see so many veterans from the Glider Pilot Regimental Association and members of the Army Air Corps (and band) present at the ceremony. Vic Lewis and I laid wreaths for the USAAF bomb groups (the 94th and 323rd) that were based at nearby Earls Colne Airfield.

I bumped into REF and Danbuoy at the FOTE meeting yesterday, and Richard asked me to post the pictures that I took. So here they are...

Richard Flagg
26-03-2012, 01:10
Excellent photos chaps, what a glorious day for it too.

Southend Spitfire
30-07-2012, 21:25
I was searching the internet for some pictures of Earls Colne. Heres a couple of links

30-07-2012, 22:27
My copy of the Glider Pilot Regiment Association magazine arrived today via Airmail and was pleased to see a nice write up and pictures of the Marks Hall ceremony. :)

For those that don't know, the Marks Hall monument is situated in the middle of small scale representation of the airfield - check Google Earth if you want to see it.

Richard Flagg
15-01-2013, 23:30
Some photos i took at Earls Colne in Februay 2009

1 - Bulk Fuel Installation

2 - Bulk Fuel Installation

3 - T2 Hangar

4 - T2 Hangar

5 - Runway

6 - Taxiway

7 - Taxiway

8 - Resident Bulldog

9 - Another resident aircraft

10 - Visiting French aircraft

Richard Flagg
03-03-2013, 14:51
Earls Colne Control Tower, now demolished. Photos by Jim Paradine and sent me via Fred Pearce





30-11-2013, 09:48
What was the relationship (if any) of the Markshall (Marks Hall) site directly to the south of Earls Colne airfield?

AM Drawing 1888/45 shows the site with a Tech Site, Communal Site and Number 1 and Number 2 site all directly to the east of the now extinct Crowlands Farm:


Part of the road structure can be seen ghosted in GE 2000.

Nine ARS shown on a 1956 OS 2500 scale map but site now levelled by agricultural reclamation.

30-11-2013, 11:05
While they were co-located, the airfield and Marks Hall (a mansion, demolished in 1950) operated independently. The latter was HQ for the Eighth Air Force's 4th BW, and later 3rd BW, before becoming the Ninth AF's IX Bomber Command headquarters in November 1943. It later became RAF 38 Group HQ after its US staff had moved to Chartres in September 1944.
Earls Colne airfield's American units all ultimately reported to Marks Hall which, as IX BC HQ, controlled 11 Essex airfields by D-Day.
A friend of mine is researching more details on behalf of the Marks Hall Trust: PM me if you're interested.

30-11-2013, 12:37
Thanks sumter, that's all I need to know. I did find references to it being a USAAF HQ but not that it subsequently became an RAF site.

30-11-2013, 16:33
What was the relationship (if any) of the Markshall (Marks Hall) site directly to the south of Earls Colne airfield?

AM Drawing 1888/45 shows the site with a Tech Site, Communal Site and Number 1 and Number 2 site all directly to the east of the now extinct Crowlands Farm

Peter - any chance of seeing AM 1888/45? Or do you know where we can get it?
Thank you

01-12-2013, 04:16
This pub sits in the undershoot area to the SE/NW runway, on the corner of Coggeshall and America Roads. The pitched roof was removed when they built the airfield and replaced with a concrete slab to give more clearance. Although the roof was replaced after the war, the slab was left in place. The place is like a fridge in the winter and I declined all offers of overnight stays when my uncle ran the place.

01-12-2013, 07:46
Peter - any chance of seeing AM 1888/45? Or do you know where we can get it?
Thank you

A copy is held by the RAF Museum, Department of Research and Information Services (DORIS)

The first Leaflet on this page gives details:


01-12-2013, 07:49

Thanks for that titbit of information. The building is off the centreline of the runway but I can just imagine a flak damaged B17 struggling to make the runway and grazing the roof!

01-12-2013, 10:34
Peter - thanks for that. In the past, when we've asked the Hendon folks for Marks Hall plans, they've claimed to have no records. I assume the '45' suffix indicates its date, and from your description presume the plan shows the areas built by US engineers in autumn 1943 for Marks Hall's elevation to IX Bomber Command HQ. By the way, it seems No 38 Group's HQ did not leave Marks Hall until May 1946.
We're now trying to establish the number of US personnel based at Marks Hall (as separate from Earls Colne's complement) by D-Day - AM 1888/45 should help!

01-12-2013, 13:53
Mmm...the plan is in the DORIS list so they should have it but then I have myself requested other drawings on their list only to be told they do not have them.

I will get back to you.

Richard Flagg
16-01-2014, 19:43
The Earls Colne control tower shortly before demolition in 2003., photo credit N mine / flickr and used with permission.


19-01-2014, 17:25
Sad to see these old buildings demolished...

29-03-2014, 10:59
Pathé has some footage (http://www.britishpathe.com/video/air-force-air-field-england) of the 323rd Bomb Group at Earls Colne in summer/autumn 1943. The group of officers at around 4:02 include Col Samuel Anderson (later Maj Gen, CG of IX Bomber Command from November 1943) and 323BG CO Col Herbert Thatcher.

HF Dave
02-11-2014, 15:26
A few recent photos of remains within the Markshall arboretum:

Air raid shelter to the north-west of the site of the mansion (http://www.flashearth.com/?lat=51.898039&lon=0.671772&z=18.6&r=0&src=msl)

Airfield memorial:

Roofless blast shelter just to the east of the memorial (type 2360/41?):

Some kind of loading ramp? (http://www.flashearth.com/?lat=51.906705&lon=0.680204&z=19.3&r=0&src=msl)

Wall fragment nearby:

24-03-2015, 22:22
70th anniversary of Operation Varsity today.

Notably less veterans in attendance this year.

Good to see a strong media interest there.

Bit nippy as usual, but at least no rain.

Must be said that the Marks Hall people put a lot of effort into this.

27-03-2015, 10:07
Local press report