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Metfield

Military site : airfield

Built during 1942-43 as an Eighth Air Force bomber base, Metfield had three concrete runways, 39 pan plus 15 loop hardstandings, and two dispersed T2 hangars. It was first occupied by the 353rd Fighter Group, equipped with P-47s, from August 1943 to April 1944. The station then became home to the 491st Bomb Group, equipped with B-24s, from May to August 1944. A devastating accident occurred at Metfield on 15 July 1944 when the bomb store exploded, killing at least five ordnance men, damaging 11 B-24s, and rocking the countryside for several miles around. Transferred to the European Division of Air Transport Command in October 1944, the station was used until May 1945 as a general transport base. More significantly, it was one of the stations used by the 1409th Army Air Force Base Unit, which operated B-24s and other transport types for secret missions to Sweden, carrying special materials and ferrying personnel. Handed over to the RAF in 1945, the site was effectively abandoned by the Air Ministry and began the process of return to agriculture. This speeded up after the airfield was sold during 1964-65. The runways and perimeter tracks were removed, and the huge crater made by the 1944 bomb store explosion was filled in, during the late 1960s.

Detailed history

Not yet known

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known

Service

Units

People

  • George Ahles

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot | 353rd Fighter Group
    Enlisted USAAC Nov-39. Posted to A-20 light bomber squadron. Qualified for pilot training Nov-40. Entered Aviation Cadets Jan-42. Presented wings Nov-42. Advanced pilot training Sep-42. Married Sep-42. Joined 351FS, 353FG, 8AF USAAF nucleus Dec-42....

  • Walter Angelo

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 353rd Fighter Group
    Assigned to 350FS, 353FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 8ASC.

  • Clifford Armstrong

    Military | Major | Fighter Pilot | 353rd Fighter Group
    A 1938 graduate of Coeymans High School, Clifford Armstrong enlisted in the Air Corps as an Aviation Cadet in January 1942. Assigned to the 353rd Fighter Group / 352nd Fighter Squadron in England as a P-47 pilot. He flew fighter escort for 8th Air...

  • Walter Beckham

    Military | Colonel | Fighter pilot | 353rd Fighter Group
    Walter C Beckham enlisted in April 1941. He flew his first missions over the Panama Canal and Ecuador from December 1941. He was assigned to the 353rd Fighter Group in mid 1943, and arrived in the UK in August 1943. Beckham became a successful P-47...

  • Harry Brockman

    Military | Pilot | 491st Bomb Group
    Harry Brockman served as a pilot with the 853rd Bomb Squadron of the 491st Bomb Group. One of the aircraft he flew was B-24J 44-40121.

  • Andrew Brymer

    Military | 353rd Fighter Group
    350th Fighter Squadron Ground Crew

  • Vic Byers

    Military | Colonel | Fighter pilot | 353rd Fighter Group
    Assigned to 351FS, 353FG, 8AF USAAF. Credited 2.5 kills. Completed 2 x tours of duty. Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.

  • James Cope

    Military | Major | Squadron Flight Surgeon | 353rd Fighter Group

  • Lester Dansky

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 353rd Fighter Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) when his aircraft P-47D 42-7999 353FG/352FS sustained a mid-air collision with P-47D 42-8383 at 30,000 feet nine miles north of Amiens, France while on a mission to escort the B-17 formation attacking the German airfield at...

  • George Dietz

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 353rd Fighter Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) on 23-Sep-43 in P47-D 42-7995, 353FG/352FS while on a mission to escort bombers attacking the port area of Nantes, France. His fighter flight encountered German fighters NW of Nantes and in the ensuing battle he was shot down by...

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Aircraft

  • 41-6583 Alyce

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P47C-5-RE 41-6583 [YJ:K] "Alyce" was assigned to the 353FG/351FS at Metfield, UK. On 5-Nov-43 the aircraft, piloted by CPT Orville A. Kincade was despatched with others from the 353FG to provide escort to the B-17 formations of 3rd Bomb Division...

  • 42-110160 Chris' Crate

    B-24 Liberator

  • 42-110169 Lucky Penny

    B-24 Liberator

  • 42-7901

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47D-10-RE 42-7901 was assigned to the 353FG/352FS at Metfield, UK. On 6-Sep-43 the aircraft, piloted by F/O Earl W. Perry, Jr. was despatched on a mission to escort bombers making an attack on Stuttgart, Germany. F/O Perry's flight was attacked by...

  • 42-7907

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47D-1-RE 42-7907 was assigned to the 353FG/350FS at Metfield, UK. On 5-Nov-43 the aircraft, piloted by 1LT Robert Newman, was despatched with otheres from the 353FG to proivde escort to B-17 formations of 3rd Bomb Division that were attacking at...

  • 42-7989

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47D-2-RE 42-7989 was assigned 353FG/350FS at Metfileld, UK, On 22-Oct-43 the aircraft, piloted by 2LT Walter B. Stone, was despatched with others of the 353FG to provide escort to b-26 bombers from 9th Air Force. The aircraft was last seen entering a...

  • 42-7995

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47D-2-RE 42-7995 was asssigned to the 353FG/352FS at Metfield, UK On 23-Sep-43 the aircraft, piloted by 2LT George S. Dietz, was despatched on a mission to escort B-17s attacking at Nantes, France. The flight encountered German fighters just...

  • 42-8383

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47D-2-RE 42-8383 was assigned to the 353FG/352FS at Metfield, UK. The aircraft was piloted by 2LT Robert T. Murden and was involved in a mid-air collision with P-47D 42-7999 at 30,000 feet nine miles north of Amiens, France while on a mission to...

  • 42-8395 Cookie

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47D-2-RE 42-8395 [YJ:S] "Cookie" was asssigned to the 353FS/351FS at Metfield, UK. On 25-Nov-43 the aircraft, piloted by LTC Loren G. McCollum (Commanding Officer 353FG), was despatched with other P-47s from the 353FG to attack the German airfield of...

  • 42-8428 Pat

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47D-5-RE 42-8428 [VJ:Q] "Pat" was assigned to 353FG/351FS at Metfield, UK. On 5-Nov-43 the aircraft, piloted by 1LT Benedict E. Kraft, was despatched with others from the 353FG to provide escort for B-17 formations of 3rd Bomb Division attacking at...

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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, Mighty Eighth War Manual (2nd edn, London, 2001)

Michael Bowyer, Action Stations 1: Wartime Military Airfields of East Anglia 1939-1945 (Cambridge, 1979)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Metfield

http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/huge-rare-wwii-army-air-force-hw-l...

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