Fenton Airfield

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Fenton Airfield
Northern Territory, Australia
Fenton Airfield is located in Northern Territory
Fenton Airfield
Fenton Airfield
Fenton Airfield (Northern Territory)
82 Wing RAAF B-24s Fenton.jpg
Australian B-24 Liberators at Fenton in March 1945
Coordinates 13°37′23.46″S 131°20′19.60″E / 13.6231833°S 131.3387778°E / -13.6231833; 131.3387778Coordinates: 13°37′23.46″S 131°20′19.60″E / 13.6231833°S 131.3387778°E / -13.6231833; 131.3387778
Type Military airfield
Site information
Site history
In use 1942-1945

Fenton Airfield was a World War II military airfield located at Tipperary Station, Hayes Creek, Northern Territory, Australia.

Abandoned since 1945, the site is an outstanding example of a World War II heavy bomber airfield construction and layout, and is one of three surviving examples of heavy bomber airfields in the Katherine-Darwin region.

The airfield is open to the public; the main runway, taxiways and hardstands are accessible. Remnants of the control tower remain and items of aircraft wreckage can be found in the area.

History[edit]

The airfield was built by C Company and HQ Detachment of the 808th Engineer Aviation Battalion between 27 April 1942 and 16 July 1942. The airfield was named after Flight Lieutenant Clyde Fenton. The single runway was 6,000 ft × 100 ft (1,829 m × 30 m).

It was mainly utilised by Liberator bombers mounting long range raids against Japanese forces in the Netherlands East Indies North Western Area of Operations and the South West Pacific Area.

Further development of the airfield was undertaken by No. 1 Airfield Construction Squadron RAAF, No 14 Airfield Construction Squadron RAAF and New South Wales Department of Main Roads under the Allied Works Council. The runway was enlarged to approximately 7,218 ft × 164 ft (2,200 m × 50 m) and about sixty aircraft dispersal bays, some with earthen revetments.

During its operational use Fenton Airfield was a major airfield, being headquarters for many Royal Australian Air Force Squadrons, and United States Army and Air Force units. Reconnaissance flights were flown over Timor Island, New Guinea and Celebres Islands, and attacks and armed reconnaissance missions were carried out against Japanese airfields, ground installations and shipping. On 29 February 1944 the USAAF 380th Bombardment Group flew a 16-hour mission from Fenton to Borneo, flying over 2,500 nautical miles (4,600 km; 2,900 mi).

With the end of the war in late 1945, the airfield was abandoned. Over the years, it has reverted in large part to the natural terrain from which it was built. All of the base infrastructure is gone, with concrete and various foundations, piles of rubble and the occasional aircraft part remaining. In aerial photographs, the remains of some roads that probably led to dispersed parts of the base away from the operations area such as the bomb dump and the administrative containment area are faintly visible, but no structures exist.

Units based at Fenton Airfield[edit]

64th Bombardment Squadron (43d Bombardment Group), B-17 Flying Fortress 2 August-25 September 1942
43d Materiel Squadron
319th Bombardment Squadron (90th Bombardment Group), B-24 Liberator, 5 February-23 June 1943
Deployed from: RAAF Base Darwin, NT
380th Bombardment Group, B-24 Liberator, May 1943-9 August 1944
528th Bombardment Squadron, 28 April 1943 – 20 August 1944
529th Bombardment Squadron
Assigned to: Manbulloo Airfield, NT, 28 April-7 November 1943
Assigned to: Long Airfield, NT, 7 November-10 July 1944
Assigned to: RAAF Base Darwin, NT, 10 July–February 1945
530th Bombardment Squadron
531st Bombardment Squadron
Assigned to: Manbulloo Airfield, NT, 28 April-5 December 1943
Assigned to: Long Airfield, NT, 5 December-21 July 1944
Assigned to: RAAF Base Darwin, NT, 25 July-1 March 1945

Japanese Bombing Raids on Fenton Airfield[edit]

  • 30 June 1943 (12:30pm)
  • 6 July 1943 (12:02pm)
  • 13 August 1943 (9:45pm)
  • 13 August 1943 (11:12 pm)
  • 21 August 1943 (03:07 am)
  • 15 September 1943 (00:25 am)
  • 18 September 1943 (03:50 am)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

External links[edit]