RAF Shepherds Grove – Suffolk

RAF Shepherds Grove is located on the outskirts of the sleepy Suffolk village of Stanton. It was built during WW2 as an airfield for bombers. During the Cold War in the 1950’s the USAF took over and based jet fighters there. When the jet fighters left, part of the base was used as a launch site for Thor nuclear missles.

The site closed in 1966 and some of the base is now an industrial estate.

April 2007 update – The control tower, fire station and industrial units have now been flattened.

Control Tower

So, here’s the control tower. It was in a bit of a state when I visited. It had a mini-refurbishment in the 1990’s when Redland Tiles used it as an office – they covered it in tiles. Most of them have been smashed up since Redland’s departure.

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The control tower was demolished in June 2006 to make way for an Ikea distribution centre. Which is a great shame

Fire Station

I think this was a fire station (or if not, some sort of vehicle servicing building). This has probably been demolished too.

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Weapons Store

Across a field is an old weapons store used for the Thor missle site. There are three “igloo” buildings – two used for normal bombs and one for nuclear warheads. The latter has a huge concrete safe inside.

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There are also two observation points – these are seriously cool and I want one!

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A maintenance building is also there, but in a pretty bad state. It has a chimney.

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Thor Launch Pads

There used to be three of these, but nothing now remains other than a few small piles of rubble and a concrete floor. The most interesting piece of rubble had some words printed on it in reverse – odd.

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Industrial Units

There were a few of these located near the control tower. I imagine they’ve been demolished too.

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113 Responses to RAF Shepherds Grove – Suffolk

  1. Anne Marie says:

    How sad. My “town” of birth no longer exists. I was born here – in 1966 – and have always meant to go back to see this place that I knew only by name. I don’t think I will plan on this any more.

  2. S/SGT ROBERT C. DE SANTIS says:

    I SPENT TWO GREAT YEARS @ RAF SHEPHERDS’ GROVE IN THE 92ND FTR
    SQDN (F86A) (HERO OF THE KOREAN AIR WAR, 19 50 THRU 1953). AT AGE 19
    AND 20 ALL OF LIFE WAS ONE LARGE PARTY AND SPENDING IT WITH A BUNCH OF NEW FOUND ENGLISH FRIENDS WAS BEYOND MY WILDEST
    DREAMS. I HAD AN ENGLISH GIRL FRIEND AND SOMETIMES WOULD ENTER-
    TAIN HER WITH A SIGHTSEEING TRIP TO LONDON. I REMEMBER, SPECIFIC-
    ALLY, VISITING HAMPTON COURT PALACE, BATTERSEA PARK, IMPERIAL
    WAR MUSEUM, SOME “BROADWAY STYLE” SHOWS & OTHER ATTRAX.

    • Kate says:

      Hi there, does the name Frank Ibarra ring any bells with you? He was stationed at Shepherds grove in 1952. He’s my grandad and I’m desperate to did him. Any information would be greatly received. Thankyou.

  3. Kate says:

    Hi there, I don’t suppose you knew of a frankie ibara/ybarra that was stationed at shepherds grove in 1952 ??

  4. Art Day says:

    Damn! I was stationed at Sheherds Grove in 1951-52. I am most disappointed to learn the base was “flattened”. I was assigned to the 7519th AB Sq, and previously with the 116th FIS from Spokane, WA.
    I am going to visit the area in a few weeks and visiting the Grove would have been a must. Not now!
    I will visit Norwich, where my finacee was in nurses training and Gt. Yarmouth, where her parents lived. Alas, the wedding never happened, but her daughter, fathered by another gentleman, has most graciously invited me to stay in her home for a spell. I learned two years ago that her mother died 10 years ago.

  5. Rachel White says:

    My Dad was stationed at RAF Wattisham and we lived at SG in the prefabs from 1961-1964. We rode an english bus to Lakenheath high school an hour and a half each way. We had lots of fun going to the pub in Stanton, going to movies in Bury St. Edmonds and many slumber parties. I learned to drive on the old abandoned airstrips. I often wonder what happened to the other kids we hung out with.

  6. Maurice Lovelady says:

    Stationed at the Grove 1955-56 , Air Police and Special Weapons. Some of us meet in Branson MO each
    Nov ………

  7. Jude Johnson says:

    I am trying to trace Lupe Gonzalez Velesque who was at Shepherds Grove in 1955. Does anyone remember him? I think he was a talented trumpet player of Puerta Rican heritage

  8. tom brewster says:

    I was stationed at S G 1961 to 1964 on Thors (Scary place during Cuban incident.) Lived in Old Tower away from others as we were mostly night duty. Food was at the Thor site other side of air field, used to drink in pub called Darkies( name of landlord,) near the end of runway on Main road. Revisited in 1982 pub changed hands airfield just not the same place. Some good memories though. Nice to see photoes as we were totally banned from taking any.

  9. The 53 ‘tobacco houses’ at RAF Shepherds Grove are being sold and will be in private hands by 31st March 2012.
    Our group The Welbeck Estate Group have for 33 years specialised in the purchase and refurbishment of former military establishments including entire airfields such as ex Bloodhound missile site at RAF North Coates, RAF Hemswell and the Bomber Command HQ at Bawtry Hall. We also owned the 570 houses at Earlsfield estate at RAF Lakenheath let to the US government and the former US base at RAF Sculthorpe where we also purchased 300 similar ‘tobacco houses’ Also owned were the US military housing at RAF Edzell in Scotland.We are currently developing our 37th ex MOD estate at RAF Kinloss Scotland. In the USA we purchased the 300 unit apartment building Robert Towers from Abe Pollin, the owner of the Washington Redskins opposite the Pentagon. Look on http://www.welbeckestate.com for information.

  10. Roger Bamber says:

    Interesting that the ” Welbeck Group ” owned the housing at Lakenheath and are still involved in RAF Kinloss. Welbeck can always be relied on for the real facts on what is happening on former bases.

    • Clay says:

      Bamber were you the guy involved in selling the ex USAF houses in Edzell Scotland in the late 90s. A couple of our families bought some housing from a real estate broker called Alexander and your name kept coming up as they had
      big problems with the site after your outfit left?

    • Clay Pampuan says:

      Bamber You never replied to messages so we wondered where you are now after your exploits in Scotland. Many questions unanswered!!

  11. Gus Honneker says:

    I rarely visit this site but I am a ‘Grover’ and was based at Shepherds Grove with the 81st Fighter Interceptor Wing and also over at Molesworth whilst I was in Europe. Long time ago now but looking forward to the 2012 reunion. This message raised something at the back of my mind. My son was posted with the 17th SSS at RAF Edzell in Scotland back in the 1990s. He married a local Scottish lassie and they came across this Roger Bamber as he had something to do with a company called Welbeck. One of the family bought one of the ex base houses from him and together with the other folks on the estate experienced nothing but problems. I wonder if this is the same guy. Gus

    • Tracy says:

      Hi I’ve just been reading your memories of your time at shepherds grove. I am really interested in your comments about the base houses and how you guys had problems . They have just been released for sale into the community , and I would appreciate any information you can give me on them .
      Regards Tracy

      • Gus Honneker says:

        Hi Tracy

        Welcome to Grover info.
        Yes I read that the houses were sold to a guy called David Harris who owns a hotel
        near Bury St Edmunds. I know nothing about their set up. I just know that some of
        my friends and their families had problems with identical houses up at the old base at RAF Sculthorpe and they came across a couple of cowboys called Roger Bamber and their real estate broker Noel Alexander again at our former base at Edzell in Scotland just after we pulled out there. There were problems with the company that was set up by this pair to look after the waste water, drains and roads.

        Good luck Gus

      • Tracy says:

        Hi Gus , thanks for your reply . Sorry to be a pain but did you have or know of any problems with the actual bungalows , like condensation, or heating as they are built with concrete and not brick ? And did the oil tank feed several properties from one tank . I can’t seem to get answers from the realtors themselves . Thanks again , Regards Tracy

      • Gus Honneker says:

        Hi there Tracy
        You sure aren’t a nuisance! I spoke with one of my buddies that bought what he says are called tobacco houses at our old Sculthorpe base near Fakenham which are the same as the ones at Shepherds Grove. He says they were called Wimpey No Fine houses made of precast concrete and built in the 1950s. He liked his whilst they were stationed at Mildenhall. When he returned to the States he says he had problems selling as folks that wanted to buy from him could not get loans easily because of the way they were built.
        He says that many of the guys that bought were angered by the actions of the seller this guy Roger Bamber and his real estate broker Neill or Noel Alexander. They reappeared at our old base houses in Edzell Scotland where my son Mitch experienced similar problems particulary with the sewers. He also said they shared gas tanks at the back of a row of the houses but the seller should provide one tank for each house. Good luck. Gus

  12. Alex Silva-Luz says:

    Gus

    You and I were at Molesworth and I remember your son Mitch whilst he was with the 17th at Edzell in Scotland. Not the best posting for action!
    Yep – you’re right about this guy Bamber. His outfit was called Welbeck Homes and a few of the US housing was sold to families of ex 17th crew and they had nothing but problems. Are you still in Maryland? Alex SL

  13. S.Sgt Clayton Pampuan says:

    Howdy Alex Remember me. Cindy and I were housed in Shepherds Grove whilst I was with the 5th SPSS at RAF Feltwell and I was also with Mitch Honneker with the 17th when we were closing down the facility at Edzell. Strange seeing this guys Bamber’s name on the Grover page as I know folks had problems with our housing there and a real estate broker called Neil Aleaxander. How tricks with you and Cindy old buddy? I am retiring shortly – yippee!

  14. Sandy Miller says:

    Hi there Clay
    Edzell – thats a name with memories – remember you, the Honorable Scooter and Mitch on the fairway and at the Glenesk bar, I think it was called afterwards. What a posting. Light years away from Maryland.
    Funny how names come around. That guy Alexander – sure his name is Noel not Neill
    as he was a real estate guy at our old housing at USAF Sculthorpe in the 90s. Whilst I was with the 317th TAW at Mildenhall one of the TAC guys bought 2 houses from Alexander at Sculthorpe and he also had problems I seem to recall.
    Clay let me have your address old buddy as I have been out grazing for 7 years now and maybe we could meet up. Sandford (Sandy) from Va

  15. Dan Gallagher says:

    hi there Guys,
    My name is Dan Gallagher i live in stanton just down the hill from shepherds grove.
    I was wondering if any of you knew my dad Joseph (Joe) Gallagher? irish guy about 5’5″ tall he was stationed at RAF shepherds grove at the end of World War 2 as a fire fighter! He was also at some point a tail gunner in a lancaster but this may have been while either at shepherds grove or while stationed in gibraltar?? im not to sure to be honest?? I think he was a tail gunner before the usaf took over and then a fire fighter when the usaf took over, but like i said i cant be sure.
    He carried on living in stanton for the rest of his life but sadly died in 1989.
    If there is anyone on here who knew my dad i’d very much like to hear from you.
    my email is Danrambo@live .co.uk
    Cheers
    Dan

  16. Tracy says:

    Hi Gus , thank you so much for all your help in finding out about these properties. I have decided not to proceed as there are too many obstacles, your right about the tanks and I would have to pay to get it changed . Also there is a separate yearly charge for maintenance on the site , which is not capped and might be the same people. Your right don’t think people are keen to lend on them , and they must have good reason ! So thanks again for your help . Regards Tracy

  17. martin says:

    Hi,
    My friends have just bought a building at the grove and I have been to look at them today,they do look very nice (it is about £1700 to have the oil sorted out with your own tank) with some fuel,
    I wonder if people know how they are constructed as there is nothing in the paperwork apart from bought as seen There was a big thing a few years ago where you could not get any help with loans for these type of buildings and a lot of them were taken down in the 70’s,
    I thought i would just thow in a search for houses at Shepherds Grove.
    Glad i did,
    Thanks,
    Going on from the houses we still walk through them and through to the farm and the homes on the old main building(post office!)site over the road the runway is almost gone and the fire station buildings ,i did put some photos in at the grovers web site,
    Thanks again ,
    Martin,

  18. roger byron-collins says:

    Hello Martin
    Interesting your comments on the RAF Shepherds Grove housing.
    In the post war years the British government were short of funds to fund social housing. During the cold war years the USAAF required housing for their personnel alongside their bases throughout the UK. The UK government built hundreds of these Wimpey No Fine houses at many of the US bases and the leases on the land for this housing was paid by the Americans with Tobacco – hence the term ‘Tobacco Houses’. This was the case at RAF Shepherds Grove, RAF Sculthorpe, RAF Burtonwood and RAF Woodbridge amongst.
    Regarding construction take a look at Greenhalgh Surveyors notes on these houses at:
    http://www.boltonsurveyors.org.uk/Wimpey.html
    Trust this helps.
    Roger

    • Michael Richardson says:

      My father was stationed at RAF Mildenhall. We were housed at Shepards Grove from 1963 thru 1965. The majority of the streets were named after American astronauts. Had a good time there.

      • martin says:

        We just got a news letter saying that the roads have been re named,
        our council member is not very happy as they were not asked or told about the changes,Goldsmiths grove is the new name,
        dont know the roads though,

      • Evan O'Hara Ray says:

        I lived at Shepherd’s Grove from 63-65 also. My dad was at Mildenhall. About 65, we moved to new housing at Lakenheath. We came home in 66. I loved living there, we were on Armstrong and we had the woods right across the street. In spring and summer, we used to pick wonderful wild blackberries in the woods. Other times we cut through the woods over to the old, torn up RAF buildings to explore and play. When we were there it was nothing but the housing and a few support buildings. We had a movie theater and I think they used some old quanset ? huts for the elementary school. We also had a church, but I don’t think there was any shopping. I remember the fun trips into Bury for Saturday market. Did I KNOW you Michael? I was in 8th grade when we first got there and rode the bus into Lakenheath for school.
        I didn’t know that they had re-opened the base!! The housing was OK, but I certainly couldn’t tell anyone about the physical maintenance. They looked like pre-fab concrete and we thought they were OLD when we got there. Really out-dated. But, I don’t think we ever had any problems while we were living there.

        Wow! What great memories. I was hoping that someone might have pictures of the housing and the buildings the US used for the community?? It would be great to have something for my scrap book.

        Thanks a bunch,
        Evan in San Antonio

      • Hello Evan
        I am not ex USAF although I come from a RAF family with 40 years service and I am involved in many aspects of former USAF real estate in the UK.
        I will let you have some photographs of your former houses at Shepherds Grove but I am interested if you recall the F100 Super Sabre that crashed on the housing estate that you lived in on 22 August 1962. Roger

        Click on the 2 following and read a resume from a researcher below.

        http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=rsNPAAAAIBAJ&sjid=vlIDAAAAIBAJ&pg=4765,1342121&dq=staver&hl=en
        http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=U7FOAAAAIBAJ&sjid=PQEEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6542,5830018&dq=staver&hl=en

        The date was 22nd August 1962 and the aircraft was a F-100D Super Sabre 55-2784 (the one on display at Mountain Home AFB ID with this ID is actually 54-1748) of the 48th TFW/494th TFS. It crashed into base housing (known as the Tobacco Houses) at RAF Shepherds Grove which was being used by personnel from other USAF bases nearby. USAAF had left Shepherds Grove in 1959

        The house was being used by 1st Lt David A Staver who had an act of congress enacted in his name as he lost all his processions in the crash but could only claim a maximum $5,000 at the time which was not enough to cover his losses. House was destroyed.

        Lt’s Staver pregant wife Barbara was at home at the time with their one year old infant son Bill, she got them both out just in time when the housepainter warned her that a plane was about to crash into the house. It is the housepainter who was killed in this incident he was Peter Hammond and was aged ’26’. Mrs Staver and her sone only sustained small scratches

        Reading through other references Peter Hammonds age is said to be ’20’ (according to Times he was actually 19 and was from Hepworth) and he actually died after the accident, while investigating the crash and after helpin mrs Staver and her son to escape. But I think they are confusing this with teh actions of Mr Peter Rush who received the US Air Force Exceptional Service Medal for her rescue

        The pilot was 1st Lt John E Malone aged 22 bailed out after the aircraft developed engine trouble.

        The Times Thursday, Aug 23, 1962 has more info and a picture of the crashed aircraft and destroyed bungalows

        Destoyed three bungalows and killed one of several men who were painting them

        Three childern in another bungalow escaped and third unoccupied

        The fighter struck the ground behind the bungalow, bounced over the top of two of them, setting themalight and exploded on the other side’

        re: Three childern in another bungalow escaped (this was being used by Captain Richardson and his wife) – The children were Angela aged 13, Peggy aged 11 and Erin aged 5 months. At the time Captain Richardson was visiting his wife in hospital

  19. Paul Round says:

    hello,
    I am a retired RAF officer who served at RAF Honiongton in the ’80s and live near to Shepherd’s Grove. I find it fascinating to read various people’s reminiscences of the area and have seen the site go up for sale, be bought and the name changed without any improvements to the properties.Make of that what you will, but I think the bottom line is all about making money and not providing good housing.I would love to read some more history of the people who lived here

  20. Alexandro Silva Luz says:

    Paul
    Yep you are right about these guys wanting to make a quick buck from folk’s misfortune.
    I am sure you will get some good responses from Grovers who lived in the housing about life on the base. In the past I was in touch with a helpful guy was was an exec in a UK outfit that specialized in military housing and whose father was in your RAF for 40 years and is a great mine of knowledge. I came across them because they owned 2 massive apartment buildings opposite the Pentagon and by the Navy Annexe in Arlington VA in the 1980s and they have a website which is worth looking at: http://www.welbeckestate.com They are into aircraft as well and they have a mine of info on the fatal F100 Super Sabre crash onto 3 of the houses at Shepherds Grove in August 1962.
    Alex

    • Paul Hammond says:

      Hi Alex

      My brother was killed in the air-crash in 1962 when I was just 10yrs old. I am trying to get some information about the crash as my children and grandchildren are interested. I have gone on the web site that you mentioned but don’t know how to get into the information that you speak of. Can you tell me how, as I have tried to get in contact with the company but for some reason they have as yet not got back to me.

      Paul

      • Paul
        I read your sad note and please see what I researched on the accident at the Shepherds Grove USAF MQs Stanton in March 1962.

        My company have for the past 34 years specialised in the acquisition of ex MOD airfields and married quarters and indeed
        acquired some 200 ‘tobacco houses’ identical to these at the USAF base at RAF Sculthorpe Norfolk in the late 1990s. I was
        interested in buying these houses at Shepherds Grove when they were offered for sale as a whole in March this year. On this
        occasion I was unsuccessful and they were acquired by a David Harris from nearby Hengrave Hall Bury St Edmunds. But on a
        few of my visits to the married quarters I noticed that by the children’s play area some bungalows have been removed. When
        I enquired of the security guards they explained about the tragedy and even talked about a ghost that was present on the estate
        at Shepherds Grove.

        Upon returning to my office I made further enquiries of one of the professional societies of which I am a member and I was sent
        2 newspaper articles from that time – the first is the Florida based St Petersburg Times of August 24 1962 and the second is a
        photo of the 21 year girl and her child that were saved from the crash which demolished 2 of the bungalows and the link is below.
        The aircraft was involved was a F100D Super Sabre.

        I also received recently an observation from a local man, John Stynes who attended the incident and here is his recollection.

        AIRCRAFT ACCIDENT RAF SHEPHERDS GROVE – MARCH 1962

        At the time of the incident a local man, John Stynes, then aged 19 and a member of 82 Squadron missile crew stationed at Shepherds Grove was accommodated with many others in the fire station building adjacent to the old air traffic control building and in March 2012 wrote his recollection.
        To obtain their meals when off duty, they had to travel across to the secure site where the dining room was situated and three of them were in the process of doing this. They had just reached and it and were walking across the main runway when they were suddenly aware of a very low flying F100 aircraft circling above. They were surprised and then startled as they became aware of what they believed was gunfire behind them and could then see a large plume of smoke in the direction of the tobacco houses. (They subsequently discovered that the ‘gunfire’ was the ammunition exploding in the crashed aircraft) The F100 after making several passes above their heads eventually left and they continued over to the missile site.

        When they arrived, they were told that there had been a major incident and that an aircraft had crashed into the tobacco houses. All those that were not needed at work were then put into vehicles and taken to the quarters to assist until the USAF could arrive with their own personnel. Unfortunately, in the interests of economy, their own fire engine had recently been withdrawn and they could not provide assistance with the fire but they helped in saving personal possessions from the damaged houses. The aircraft had landed in the road in front of the house and parallel to it.

        We were then approached by one of our Launch Control Officers (Flt Lt Stubbs) to assist him with checking the runway to ensure it was clear and we went in his car, stopping to remove any small items from the surface that we thought may constitute a hazard to aircraft. Eventually, a C47 Dakota aircraft fitted out for casualty evacuations landed and taxied up to us, inside was a medical crew including a doctor who we took back to the incident site.

        By this time, the fire was out and the aircraft could be approached. Concern was then expressed about the disappearance of Peter Hammond, who most of us knew as he had recently worked at the missile site. The doctor suggested that we should form search parties and look for him, as it was possible that he was in shock and had run away. This was done, but to no avail. We were later told that Peter was eventually found beneath the aircraft. We were also told that Peter had been outside the front of the building (up a ladder?) and had seen the aircraft coming towards him over the top of the house, he had time to enter through the front door and warn the occupants who went out of the back. Unfortunately, Peter went back out the front and was hit by the aircraft that had hit at the rear of the house, skipped over it and landed in the road.

        Also click on the 2 following and in addition read a resume from a researcher below.

        http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=rsNPAAAAIBAJ&sjid=vlIDAAAAIBAJ&pg=4765,1342121&dq=staver&hl=en
        http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=U7FOAAAAIBAJ&sjid=PQEEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6542,5830018&dq=staver&hl=en

        ————————————————————————————————————————————————–

        The date was 22nd August 1962 and the aircraft was a F-100D Super Sabre 55-2784 (the one on display at
        Mountain Home AFB ID with this ID is actually 54-1748) of the 48th TFW/494th TFS. It crashed into base housing
        (known as the Tobacco Houses) at RAF Shepherds Grove which was being used by personnel from other USAF
        bases nearby. USAAF had left Shepherds Grove in 1959.

        The house was being used by 1st Lt David A Staver who had an act of congress enacted in his name as he lost all
        his processions in the crash but could only claim a maximum $5,000 at the time which was not enough to cover his
        losses. House was destroyed.

        Lt’s Staver pregant wife Barbara was at home at the time with their one year old infant son Bill, she got them both
        out just in time when the housepainter warned her that a plane was about to crash into the house. Sadly it is the
        housepainter who was killed in this incident he was Peter Hammond and was aged ’26’. Mrs Staver and her sone only
        sustained small scratches.

        Reading through other references Peter Hammonds age is said to be ’20’ (according to Times he was actually 19 and
        was from Hepworth) and he actually died after the accident, while investigating the crash and after helping Mrs Staver
        and her son to escape. But think they are confusing this with the actions of Mr Peter Rush who received the US Air
        Force Exceptional Service Medal for her rescue.

        The pilot was 1st Lt John E Malone aged 22 bailed out after the aircraft developed engine trouble.

        The Times Thursday, Aug 23, 1962 has more info and a picture of the crashed aircraft and destroyed bungalows and
        reports:

        ‘Destroyed three bungalows and killed one of several men who were painting them.
        Three childern in another bungalow escaped and third unoccupied.
        The fighter struck the ground behind the bungalow, bounced over the top of two of
        them, setting them alight and exploded on the other side.
        Three childern in another bungalow escaped (this was being used by Captain Richardson
        and his wife) – The children were Angela aged 13, Peggy aged 11 and Erin aged 5 months.
        At the time Captain Richardson was visiting his
        wife in hospital.’

        ———————————————————————————————————————-

        Trust this helps in any way and please feel free to visit our web site http://welbeckestate.com to see which ex military sites
        we have been involved.

        Regards

        Roger Byron-Collins

      • Janet Lundberg says:

        Hi Paul, I lived at the Grove when the jet crashed. I stood in my bedroom window and watched it hit the last house on thestreet. I know a young painter was killed in the crash along with a puppy that lived there. My girlfriend lived in the other side of the duplex and a friend and I were helping the children out of a window without realizing that there was live ammunition hitting the walls around us . It something I will never forgot. I remember your brother had a young wife and baby I hope they have done well. I was 15 at that time and just happened on this site searching for memories. How odd you should be there. Good luck, Janet

      • Deana Ray says:

        Paul,

        I was several years older than you when the F-100 hit our home. Although some news accounts only mention three of the four homes hit, we were in the 4th. I am so sorry that you lost your brother that day. All of us felt that it was a miracle that there was not great loss of life, but we grieved that there had been a fatality. If only he had escaped, it would have all been OK was a recurring thought in my childhood. My heart goes out to you and your family. No doubt you have the account from the Bury paper. It follows:

        BURY FREE PRESS

        Friday, August 24, 1962

        The disaster which overtook Carpenter Row at noon on Wednesday
        CRASHING JET FIGHTER HITS BUNGALOWS ON DROME FRINGE

        Families escape, but young painter killed

        It was not until three hours after the American Super Sabre jet fighter had crashed on the four U.W. servicemen’s home at Shepherd’s Grove base, Stanton, on Wednesday that anyone realized that a young man had died under the twisted hulk of the wrecked aircraft.

        During those three hours, although the young man, 20-year-old house painter Peter Hammond, of Hepworth, was missing, it was assumed he was safe somewhere, because it was he who had given the first alarm that the pilotless ‘plane was diving crazily directly towards the bungalow homes.

        His three workmates with whom he had been decorating the wrecked homes had taken heed of his warning. They thought he, too, like themselves, had got away to safety.

        The dead boy was the son of the licensee of the Half Moon public house at Hepworth. His father arrived soon after the crash, knowing that his son was working at the base. His mother, who had been away on holiday in Hertfordshire, travelled back home on Wednesday evening.

        Peter had just become engaged to 18-year-old Sheila Perry, Beam Cottages, Rickinghall.

        It was Peter’s warning that had undoubtedly saved stark tragedy striking three American servicemen’s families. For although their homes were totally wrecked everyone in the bungalows –six children and two officer’s wives—all escaped without the slightest injury.

        One of the men working with Peter Hammond, Mr. Frederick Turner, of Ixworth said: “I heard Peter scream a warning and looked up and saw the ‘plane. It was losing height slowly, and as it came nearer, I could see that there was not a pilot in the cockpit. “

        It seemed to hang in the air for a moment before it dived straight at the rear of the houses. I ran for it, so did the others. From a little way down the road I saw it bounce on the ground, hit a fence and belly-flop onto the roofs of the houses.

        Terrific flash and explosion

        There was a terrific flash and an explosion and all four houses were suddenly immersed in flame.

        “I thought ‘Oh, my God, everyone in those places has had it’.”

        As the houses burned and cannon shells exploded the wreckage, Mr. Turner and his two companions ran back and helped shepherd the people to safety.

        One of them, Mr. Jimmy Moule, of Palgrave, said: “It was terrifying. I didn’t think anyone would be alive, but amid all the smoke and flames we saw people climbing over the wreckage and we soon found out that all the people in the wrecked homes were accounted for.”

        In one of the destroyed homes was 21-year-old Mrs. Barbara Staver, wife of Lt. David Staver, the information officer at Mildenhall U.S.A.F. base.

        She escaped through window

        Mrs. Staver, who is expecting her second child within the next two weekds was preparing lunch for her year old son Billy when she heard the cry that a ‘plane was crashing.

        She said later: “Seconds after the warning there was a tremendous explosion on the roof and the whole place seemed alight. I grabbed hold of Billy and managed to get out of the window with him. Then some men came up and helped us get away. “

        News of the crash was flashed to Lt. Staver in the information room at Mildenhall. As he was preparing to leave to help reporters, the news was broken to him that it was his own home which was one of those destroyed. Until he reached Shepherd’s Grove, he had no idea whether his wife and child were safe.

        Three children alone in house

        Next door to the Staver home, was an unoccupied bungalow. Next door again was the home of Capt. and Mrs. Richardson. Mrs. Richardson was away in hospital and her husband was visiting her.

        In the house at the time of the crash were three of the four Richardson children. The eldest girl, Angela, aged 13, managed to escape with her sister Peggy and five-month-old Erin.

        Next door to the Richardsons was the home of Capt. And Mrs. Ray.

        Mrs. Rosemarie Ray said: “My eldest girl, Deana, who is 12, was helping me to get lunch for our seven-month-old baby Stephen when the crash came.”

        The Ray home, although almost totally destroyed in the ensuing fire, was not severely damaged in the explosion. It was easier for the Rays to escape than the other families.

        Landed in field at Rickinghall

        The American pilot, Lt. John Malone, who lives at Newmarket, landed in a field at Snape Farm. Rickinghall Inferior , where a farm employee found him and took him in a Land Rover to the farmhouse. He collapsed and an ambulance which was standing by at Shepherd’s Grove, was summoned to take him to the West Suffolk Hospital.

        Afterwards, he was transferred to the base hospital at Lakenheath.

        Yesterday American Air Force authorities asked for the cooperation of the public in tracing the canopy and ejector seat on the aircraft, which had not then been found. The pilot had bailed out from 8,000 feet.

        An inquest was formally opened and adjourned at Ixworth police station yesterday. No date was given for the resumed hearing.

        U.S. expresses regret

        The American Secretary of the Air Force, Eugene M. Zuckert, has expressed his regret over Wednesday’s F-100 aircraft accident at Shepherd’s Grove, both personally and on behalf of the Department of the Air Force.

        Major-General Romulus W. Puryear, Third Air Force Commander, has said, “ I wish to add my regrets to those of the secretary Zuckert’s, both personally and on behalf of the Third Air Force.

        Accompanying photos included the plane wreckage with bungalows in the background, individual pictures of Peter, Sheila Perry and Barbara Staver. Also a picture of my mother and others in front of our house surveying personal effects removed from the rubble .

  21. Kate Matheson says:

    More of a request than a comment…hoping to track down an American Airforce guy from way back in the 50’s.Stationed at Shepherds Grove. His name is George Porter.
    Maybe there is a better site to use??? Jean would like to hear from him, and her niece Kathleen.

  22. Howard Yeager says:

    Greetings:
    I arrived at the ‘Grove’ in August 1951, assigned to the 92nd. Ftr. Sq. (81 Ftr Grp). Aside from DTY to Lybia & Germany, that was home until I rotated back to the State’s in Aug ’54. The only housing available when I got there were the “hut’s” left over from WWII. Maybe some of you aren’t aware that there is a ‘GROVER’S REUNION’ in BRANSON, MO every year from Nov. 7 to 11th. For information on this year’s event contact TAUNYA LAY at Branson Ticket & Travel 1-800-432-4202. She takes care of room reservations and scheduling tickets for shows/entertainment. I’ve already scheduled to be there in Nov.
    Howard

    • Roberta knights says:

      Hi Howard ,hope u don’t object but did u know my father CARL Chester BONE? He was a technical sergeant in u.s.air force and was born in 1917 sadly he passed away in 1967 before I was able to find him.I want to find a photo of him even a group photo .Would be grateful for any info at all anyone at all knew him ? Roberta his daughter

  23. Ivan Farmer says:

    I was based at RAF Feltwell during the Thor missile era. I often visited Shepherds Grove to carry out maintenance. An everlasting memory is that of the marvellous wild mushrooms that grew in profusion within the site.

  24. martin davies says:

    hi i did like the idea of a property at the old shepherds grove site,the one with the plot of ground that came with it, i still think it could have been a good thing,
    Martin Davies,

  25. Clay Pampuan says:

    I was planning to make a visit to my old stamping grounds in the UK this year like Lakenheath Bentwaters and Shepherds Grove. I read that our old housing at Shepherds Grove had been sold – are there any left ‘unsold’ What happened to the Lords Walk housing at Lakenheath where we lived for a year as I learnt they are being sold as well. Clay

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