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Prestwick

Military site : airfield

Opened as civil Prestwick Airport with a grass airfield in 1936, it was also an RAF training, fighter and Coastal Command base during 1936 to 1941. Scottish Aviation established an assembly and maintenance facility there in 1938, developed during the war into a large factory complex, and an Air Transport Auxiliary ferry pool was also located there from 1940 to 1945. Used increasingly as a trans-Atlantic ferry base from January 1941, it was developed during 1941-42 with two concrete runways and extensive new apron areas. During 1940-41, ferry flights were controlled by the newly-formed Canadian Pacific Railway Air Services Department on behalf of the British Ministry of Aircraft Production (MAP), using mostly civilian airline crews. Control was transferred in March 1941 to the Atlantic Ferry Organisation (ATFERO), set up by MAP and administered by the British Overseas Airways Corporation. ATFERO was soon taken over by RAF Ferry Command in July 1941, and Ferry Command was later absorbed into RAF Transport Command in March 1943. A mixture of civilian and military personnel worked together in the air and on the ground, to maintain a high volume of traffic by day and night on the 'Atlantic Ferry’ for both the RAF and USAAF. Some 37,000 American- and Canadian-built aircraft were delivered via Prestwick from 1941 to the end of the Second World War in 1945. The major types were Hudsons, B-24s, B-17s, C-47s, B-25s, Mosquitos and Lancasters. For non-combat crews, a Return Ferry Service was organised with B-24s to fly them back to the USA and Canada, operated mainly from nearby RAF Ayr. American combat crews mostly delivered their own aircraft, and 12,357 aircraft allocated to the Eighth Air Force passed through Prestwick. The USAAF Air Transport Command operated scheduled services through Prestwick, and the station was also used for mail and freight services, as well as casualty evacuation of American personnel back to the USA after D-Day 1944. The American support units departed in September 1945 and Prestwick again became a civil airport in April 1946, with Scottish Aviation remaining in residence. Although trans-Atlantic commercial airline flights replaced military ferry flights, American military aircraft en route to USAFE European bases continued to stage through Prestwick, which was also used as a jump-off point for delivery of British aircraft types to the USA and Canada. The USAF re-opened the American base from 1951 to 1966, to provide support for Military Air Transport Service flights between the USA and Europe, and also to provide rescue cover over the Atlantic. Renamed Glasgow Prestwick Airport - completely separate from Glasgow International Airport near Paisley - the airfield has been home since 1971 to HMS Gannet, operating SAR helicopters. The Scottish Government became the owner of Glasgow Prestwick Airport in 2013.

Detailed history

Not yet known

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known

Service

Units

People

  • Harry Adams

    Military | Private First Class | Radio operator | 14th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 49FS, 14FG. Passenger aboard C-47 41-7803 crashed at Moel y Gaer mountain 23-Aug-42. Died of Wounds (DOW) 26-Aug-42. Awards: PH.

  • Jonathan Akers

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 14th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 49FS, 14FG. Passenger aboard C-47 41-7803 crashed at Moel y Gaer mountain 23-Aug-42. Died Non Battle (DNB). Awards: PH.

  • Robert Anderson

    Military | Technical Sergeant | 14th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 49FS, 14FG, 8AF USAAF. Passenger aboard C-47 41-7803 crashed at Moel y Gaer mountain 23-Aug-42. Died Non Battle (DNB). Awards: PH.

  • Theodore Furness

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-pilot | 64th Troop Carrier Group
    Assigned to 18TCS, 64TCG, 8AF USAAF. Co-pilot aboard C-47 41-7803 crashed at Moel y Gaer mountain 23-Aug-42. Died Non Battle (DNB). Awards: PH.

  • George Gafney

    Military | Private First Class | Ground Crew | 448th Bomb Group
    Killed in Service when B-24 Liberator crashed into hill whilst landing at Prestwick, Scotland, for a fuel stop on returning flight to US after the war.

  • Israel Gross

    Military | Technical Sergeant | 14th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 49FS, 14FG, 8AF USAAF. Co-pilot aboard C-47 41-7803 crashed at Moel y Gaer mountain 23-Aug-42. Died Non Battle (DNB). Awards: PH.

  • Herman Hermes

    Military | Technical Sergeant | 14th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 49FS, 14FG, 8AF USAAF. Passenger aboard C-47 41-7803 crashed at Moel y Gaer mountain 23-Aug-42. Died Non Battle (DNB). Awards: PH.

  • Jerry Layton

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator
    Jerry Layton was killed when a C-60A (serial number 42-56015) crashed on take-off from Prestwick, Scotland. It was later determined that the left engine failed after take-off at an altitude of 300 feet. The crew were serving with the 1403rd Army Air...

  • George Lesikar

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Crew Chief on P-38's | 14th Fighter Group
    George was a graduate of Southwest Texas State Teacher's College and taught school prior to enlisting in the Army Air Corps in June 1941. While enroute to England the plane he was riding in crashed into a mountain in Wales called Moel y Gaer. George...

  • Donald MacIntosh

    Military | Flight Lieutenant | Pilot
    Donald MacIntosh was born in Glasgow in May 1922. He was the son of Donald (a policeman) and Janet McIntosh. He later changed the spelling of his surname. Leaving school at 14, he became a telephone operator for the Clydebank Police and subsequently a...

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Aircraft

  • 41-2625

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Ogden 1/3/42; Cheyenne 28/3/42; RCAF Dorval 8/5/42; Gander-Prestwick 20/5/42 with Bob Coffman, to RAF [FK197]; Assigned Scottish Aviation for trial installation of special LRASV MkII radar and additional dorsal aerials, not used on anti-sub...

  • 41-9085 Jarrin' Jenny

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17E Flying Fortress (serial number 41-9085) nicknamed 'Jarrin' Jenny' became the first USAAF B-17 Flying Fortress to land in the UK, when it landed at Prestwick on 1 July 1942. ...

  • 42-3132

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 20/2/43; Smoky Hill 14/4/43; Assigned 526BS/379BG, with Capt Larry Elstead, Co-pilot: Fred Plyley, Navigator: Jim Courtright, Bombardier: Art Ciccarello, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: George Brown, Radio Operator: Lowell...

  • 42-97518

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 8/12/43; Kansas City 27/12/43; Orlando 1/1/44; 902 BU Orlando 2/6/44; Mat Spl Tonopah 23/6/44; Mat Com Wright Fd 28/6/44; Grenier 28/6/44; Prestwick, UK 30/6/44; Assigned 560BS/388BG Knettishall, fitted with TV camera and GB-4 glide...

  • V4724

    Dominie
    De Havilland DH89 Dominie V4724, impressed into RAF service, one of 6 Dominies transferred to the 8th AF USAAF. ...

  • 43-688

    L-4 Grasshopper
    L4-B Grasshopper 43-688, assigned to 27th Ferrying Group, 8th Air Force USAAF.

  • 42-56015

    C-56 Lodestar
    The C-60A (serial number 42-56015) crashed on take-off from Prestwick, Scotland. It was later determined that the left engine failed after take-off at an altitude of 300 feet. Captain Richard A Spencer and his crew were ferrying the aircraft to the USA...

  • 41-7803

    C-47 Skytrain
    Assigned to 18TCS, 64TCG, 8AF USAAF. Departed Bradley AAF, CT for the ETO. Routing through Presque Isle, Goose Bay Labrador, Bluie West 1 (Narsarsuaq Greenland) [3 week delay], thence to Prestwick via Iceland. Failed to Return (FTR) flight from...

  • 42-93038

    C-47 Skytrain
    On 27 July 1944, C-47 (serial number 42-93038) was transporting wounded infantrymen back to the US from France on a flight from Filton to Prestwick. The pilot was forced to fly low, because of cloud cover and struck a cliff, killing all 22 people on...

Revisions

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

Barry Anderson, Army Air Forces Stations (Alabama, 1985) / David J. Smith, Action Stations 7: Military Airfields of Scotland, the North-east and Northern Ireland (Cambridge, 1989)

http://www.jstor.org/stable/260491?seq=8

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

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

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