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Warmwell

Military site : airfield

Originally named Woodsford, the station opened as a grass airfield Armament Practice Camp in 1937. Subject to a change of name in 1938, to avoid confusion with the Avro factory airfield of Woodford, RAF Warmwell was used as a training, fighter and ASR base until 1944. Although allocated to the Eighth Air Force in 1942 as a potential fighter base, it was never occupied by Eighth Air Force units. The airfield consisted of three grass strips, with six double pen, 12 single pen and 18 small pan hardstandings around the perimeter. There were two Bellman and eight blister hangars. Allocated to the Ninth Air Force in 1943, it was occupied by the 474th Fighter Group, equipped with P-38s, from March to August 1944, operating alongside the RAF’s resident Walrus amphibians. Primarily an RAF fighter training base from August 1944 to October 1945, the station closed in November 1945 and was sold in 1950. The site now includes the village of Crossways, developed on the wartime domestic site. The airfield became a quarry in 1973 and is now mostly covered with pits and lakes as a result of gravel extraction. The Control Tower survives as a private home, converted with a conventional tiled roof.

Detailed history

Not yet known

English Heritage's record description

The site of a former World War Two military airfield now destroyed by quarrying and housing. The airfield was opened pre-war in 1937. It was constructed as a Practice Camp airfield for armament training purposes because of the site's proximity to existing bombing and gunnery ranges at Chesil Beach. It was initially known as RAF Woodsford but the name was changed to Warmwell to avoid confusion with a place name in Cheshire. It comprised grass landing surfaces and a hutted camp without the usual full range of pre-war expansion period airfields. However during World War Two between 1940-1944 the airfield became an important operational fighter station. As such was it was repeatedly bombed by the Luftwaffe in 1940-1941 during the Battle of Britain and "The Blitz". During the Battle it formed part of 10 Group and was the base for 152 Squadron. The airfield was later used by a number of units, prominent among them being 609 Squadron. In 1944 the airfield was handed to the 9th United States Army Air Force 474th Fighter Group, it was designated as USAAF Station 454 by the Americans. The airfield closed in 1945 and was sold off in 1950. A possible anti-aircraft gun site associated with the airfield has been recorded as UID 1427883.

Service

People

  • Adrian Knox

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Fighter pilot | 474th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 428FS, 474FG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) dive bombing/strafing mission to Liege vectored onto parked up tank column in St Vith and hit by 88mm flak burst which took out the port engine, successfully feathered, starboard engine noted...

  • Bobbie Rankin

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 474th Fighter Group
    Pilot P-38. Assigned to 428th Fighter Squadron, 474th Fighter Group, 9th AF. On Strafing run at La Roche, Belgium, hit by flak as A/C leveled off, bursting into flames. A/C climbed 2-300ft before diving into ground and exploding on impact. KIA. MACR...

  • Harry Ray

    Military | Technical Sergeant | 32nd Troop Carrier Squadron | 314th Troop Carrier Group
    Assigned to 32TCS, 314TCG, 9AF USAAF

Aircraft

  • 42-68081

    P-38 Lightning
    Assigned to 428FS, 474FG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) dive bombing/strafing mission to Liege vectored onto parked up tank column in St Vith and hit by 88mm flak burst which took out the port engine, successfully feathered, starboard engine noted...

  • 43-28745

    P-38 Lightning
    Assigned to 383FS, 364FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 428FS, 474FG, 9AF. Failed to Return (FTR) Charleroi, Belgium 1-Mar-45. Lt Ralph N Ramsey KIA. MACR 12804.

  • 43-28823

    P-38 Lightning
    On Strafing run at La Roche, Belgium, hit by flak as A/C leveled off, bursting into flames. A/C climbed 2-300ft before diving into ground and exploding on impact. Pilot 1st Lt Bobbie R Rankin KIA. MACR 11900.

  • 42-67675 Hardtime

    P-38 Lightning

  • 42-67402

    P-38 Lightning

  • 42-67658

    P-38 Lightning

  • 42-68146 'My Lightning Baby'

    P-38 Lightning
    Assigned to 338FS, 55FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 428FS, 474FG, 9AF USAAF. Destroyed in fatal crash 3 miles NE Charleroi pilot Lt Cleo O Beaty Killed in Action (KIA) 6-Feb-45. ...

  • 42-68043 'Connie & Butch Inc.' 'Aboob'

    P-38 Lightning
    Assigned to 383FS, 364FG, 8AF USAAF. Personal A/C of Lt Col George F Ceuleers. Re-assigned to Lt Lee S Ayoub. Transferred to 428FS, 474FG 9AF. Written off 11-May-45 after crash landing Bad Langensalza/R-2, Germany.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
30 September 2019 09:12:18 Emily Changes to english heritage description
Sources

Historic England National Monument Record: SY 78 NE 25

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:02:18 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_Warmwell

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