Lotus Hethel Site History
The Early Years

Hethel is a small village in Norfolk, England, near the historic market town of Wymondham, and approximately 10 miles (16 km) south of the city of Norwich and home

Old Hethel airbase with positions markedThe original purpose of the site when it was converted from agricultural use was as an airfield, constructed in 1942 for use by the USAAF, as a bomb squadron base from which to launch assaults across Europe during the second World War. It was designated as Station 114.

For nearly two years - 1943 to 1945, Hethel served as headquarters for the 2d Combat Bombardment Wing of the 2d Bombardment Division. By 1943 there were over 100,000 US airmen based in Britain, with the largest concentration being in the East of England.

Hethel Airfield

The 320th Bombardment Group arrived from Florida in September 1942 to an only partially completed site. The main purpose of the site was as a transhipment post.

Later the 310th and 389th Bombardment Groups were also posted on the site.

The 389th Bomb Group nicknamed themselves the 'Green Dragons'  after the local public house in nearby Wymondham.

A memorial stone in local Hethel churchyard records the 389th Bomb Group's achievements, and losses:

  • Hethel Observation TowerJune 1943 to May 1945
  • Total missions 321
  • Aircraft missing in action 116
  • Personnel missing and killed in action 588
  • Other operational losses 37
  • Total bomb tonnage 17548 

 

B-24 Liberator bombers were deployed from the site to missions all across Europe. Bombs to support these missions were transported from the factories by train to local Wymondham station, and then loaded onto trucks and taken to Hethel and Tibenham airfield bases. The last combat mission returned to Hethel airbase in April 1945. The old observation tower (pictured above right above) now a listed building, remains on the current site and has been converted to a club house.