|Northern Territory, Australia
|Australian B-24 Liberators at Fenton in March 1945|
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.
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).
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
- No. 1 Airfield Construction Squadron RAAF
- No. 6 Repair and Salvage Unit RAAF
- No. 11 Signals Unit RAAF
- No. 14 Airfield Construction Squadron RAAF
- No. 21 Squadron RAAF (B-24)
- No. 23 Squadron RAAF (B-24)
- No. 24 Squadron RAAF (B-24)
- 82nd Wing RAAF (No.'s 21, 23 & 24 Squadrons RAAF)
- 133 Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery Australian Army
- 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
- 530th Bombardment Squadron
- 531st Bombardment Squadron
- 808th Engineer Aviation Battalion, United States Army
- 404th Quartermaster Air Depot Platoon, United States Army
Japanese Bombing Raids on Fenton Airfield
- 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)
- United States Army Air Forces in Australia (World War II)
- List of airports in the Northern Territory
- Pacific War Wrecks Database
- Northern Territory Heritage Listing
- Northern Territory Attractions
- Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) . Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.
- US Air Force Historical Research Agency records search
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