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Membury

Military site : airfield

Planned as an RAF operational training base, Membury was built during 1942, and then upgraded in 1943 after allocation to the USAAF as a reconnaissance or transport base, with maintenance and repair depot facilities. It had eventually three concrete runways, 26 loop and 25 pan hardstandings, two T2 hangars on the airfield site and two T2 hangars in the depot area. Claimed by VIII Ground Air Support Command, later Ninth Air Force HQ, the station was first occupied briefly during September to October 1942 by men of the 3rd Photographic Group without aircraft. The 67th Observation Group also arrived in September 1942, initially without aircraft so operated Spitfires, Havocs and Bostons loaned by the RAF plus a few L-4Bs. Transferred to the Ninth Air Force in October 1943, while re-equipping with P-51s, the group was renamed the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group and moved to Middle Wallop in November 1943. During November 1943 to August 1944, the air depot site was occupied by the 7th and 16th Air Depot Groups, forming the 6th Tactical Air Depot which specialised in the repair and modification of P-47s. The 366th Fighter Group was resident briefly during January-February 1944 while equipping with P-47s, and the station was then occupied by the 436th Troop Carrier Group, equipped with C-47s, from March 1944 to February 1945. It was also used by other transport units from June 1944 to June 1945 as a supply delivery and collection point. Returned to the RAF as a transport base in June 1945, the station remained operational until 1946. Partly returned to agriculture since the 1950s, small industries took over many of the wartime buildings which continue as Membury Business Park. The airfield remained open as a private airport and, although restricted by construction of the M4 motorway, continues in limited use as Membury Airfield.

Service

Units

  • VIII Ground Air Support Command

    VIII Ground Air Support Command

    Command
    Constituted as VIII Ground Air Support Command on 24 April 1942, activated 28 April 1942 at Bolling Field, DC under the command of Brig Gen Robert C. Candee. Assigned to the Eighth US Army Air Force. Moved to England, without tactical components, in...

  • VIII Air Support Command
  • 16th Air Depot Group
  • 436th Troop Carrier Group
  • 7th Air Depot Group
  • 366th Fighter Group

    366th Fighter Group

    Group
    The Group moved in England over the New Year of 1944, setting up home first at Membury and then at Thruxton. The pilots' first mission was a fighter sweep of the French coast in March 1944 and from then until D-Day that June the ground supported Allied...

  • 3rd Photographic Reconnaissance Group

    3rd Photographic Reconnaissance Group

    Group
    The 3rd Photographic Group were stationed only briefly in Britain and flew no missions from either Membury or Steeple Morden. They were reassigned to the Twelfth Air Force and undertook photographic reconnaissance in support of operations in the...

  • 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group

    67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group

    Group
    The four Squadrons of the 67th Recon Group (12th Observation - later Reconnaissance Squadron; 107th Observation - later Reconnaissance Squadron; 109th Observation - later Reconnaissance Squadron and 153rd Observation - later Reconnaissance Squadron)...

  • 21st Weather Squadron
  • 304th Station Complement Squadron

People

  • Gale Ammerman

    Military | First Lieutenant | troop carrier | 436th Troop Carrier Group

  • Russell Berg

    Military | Brigadier General | Pilot | 10th Photographic Reconnaissance Group
    Russell Berg served as a Spitfire pilot with No. 610 Squadron before joining the 10th Photo Recon Group. He became the group's Commanding Officer on 20 June 1944, at age 27 ...

  • Frank Bibas

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-pilot | 436th Troop Carrier Group
    Assigned to 79TCS, 436TCG, 9AF USAAF. Flew C-47 43-15068 #39 on D-day. Also flew on Op Varsity [Rhine crossing]. ...

  • Elgan Davis

    Military | Major | Pilot | 437th Troop Carrier Group
    Assigned to 85TCS, 437TCG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) re-supply mission to Bastogne hit by ground small arms fire in starboard engine, with flames pouring back past the trailing edge of the wing, pilot achieved controlled belly landing. Prisoner...

  • Duncan Fortenberry

    Military | Private
    Fortenberry was discharged from the USAAF on 4 November 1943 and sentenced to 5 years hard labour for assaulting and attacking people with a knife at Grazely Green, Berkshire on 1 October 1943.

  • Robert McKnight

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio operator | 436th Troop Carrier Group
    Assigned to 79TCS, 436TCG, 9AF USAAF. Flew on D-day missions, also on Op Varsity [Rhine crossing].

  • John Orbon

    Military | Private | 60th Troop Carrier Group
    Orbon was dishonorably discharged from the USAAF in December 1942 for behaving with disrespect towards, drawing a loaded weapon against, and threatening to kill his superior officer Edward W Barbee on 16 October 1942. ...

  • Bertram Schauer

    Military | Technical Sergeant (2nd Grade) | Mechanic/Crew Chief | 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group
    Bert was a Mechanic/Crew Chief in the 109th. stationed in England from April 1942 to March 1944. His duties were to maintain the unit assigned aircraft which included Spitfire MkVBs on loan from the RAF and later they had P-51B aircraft. Both types of...

  • Daniel Scott

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group
    After takeoff from Atcham on a sector reconnaisannce mission in Spitfire VB P7849, involved in a mid air collision with another plane from the same squadron. The other pilot was Edward D. Smith in Spitfire VB BL660. Planes went down near Wellington,...

  • Donald Sherwood

    Military | Captain | Pilot ; Operations Officer | 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group
    Killed in Crash in Spitfire Vb BM417 at Peasemore Manor 29 July 1943. DNB.

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Aircraft

  • 41-24434 'The Mudhen'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Middleton AD 9/7/42; Bolling 28/7/42; Westover 3/10/42; Assigned 15PRS/3PRG Membury, Wilt. 7/9/42; Steeple Morden, UK 27/12/42; transferred 12AF La Senia, Alg. 6/12/42; Algiers 25/12/42; Le Kroub, Alg. 5/6/43; La Marsa, Tun. 28/6/43; Returned...

  • 41-24438

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered MAD 9/7/42; with Franklin Gillespie, at Duncan Fd, TX 25/7/42; with E.L. Chrisman force landed Lowry, CO 39/7/42; Bangor 3/8/42; Colorado Springs 29/8/42; Assigned 15PRS/3PRG Membury, UK. 7/9/42; Steeple Morden, UK. 27/10/42; transferred 12AF...

  • 42-107063

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned: 16 February 1944 - Continental Airlines / Boeing Modification Center - (Denver Municipal) ...

  • 43-15073 The SNAFU Special

    C-47 Skytrain
    The aircraft took part to all airborne operations in the European theater. Neptune, Dragoon, Market, Repulse, Varsity

  • 42-103206

    P-51 Mustang

  • BM181

    Spitfire
    Supermarine Spitfire BM181 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • 42-108991

    C-47 Skytrain
    Assigned to 79TCS, 436TCG, 53TCW 9AF.

  • BM635

    Spitfire
    Supermarine Spitfire BM635 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • P8436 'Marvi'.

    Spitfire
    Supermarine Spitfire P8436 Mk IIa, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • AB907

    Spitfire
    Supermarine Spitfire AB907 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

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Revisions

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:02:17 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Barry Anderson, Army Air Forces Stations (Alabama, 1985) / Roger Freeman, Airfields of the Eighth Then And Now (London, 1978)

Roger Freeman, Airfields of the Ninth Then and Now (London, 1994)

Chris Ashworth, Action Stations 5: Military Airfields of the South-West (London, 1982)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Membury
http://www.memburyairfield.co.uk/Membury_Airfield/Airfield.html

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