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Wittering

Military site : airfield

Wittering, now in Cambridgeshire, began as RFC Stamford in 1916. By the end of the First World War, it had been renamed RAF Wittering, and was used by both British and American aircraft. It had six hangars, fifteen aircraft sheds and many other buildings and huts. In 1919 the base became a storage depot, and all flying stopped. In 1924, most of the First World War buildings were demolished to make way for new structures. The RAF Central Flying School moved to Wittering in 1926. Buildings included hangars, accommodation buildings, offices and workshops.

New buildings and a concrete taxiway were built in 1936, and Wittering became an RAF Fighter station in 1939. In 1943, the grass runway was lengthened by joining Wittering and nearby RAF Collyweston’s airfields. This made it suitable for emergency use by heavy bombers. After the war, Collyweston and Wittering were merged. In 1952 a new hard runway was laid to prepare the base to operate jet aircraft. Wittering then became home to a series of bombers. New brick and concrete buildings had to be constructed, including special stores for nuclear weapons. Harriers replaced bombers in 1969, and the base became known as 'home of the Harrier’.

Wittering was allocated to the Eighth Air Force in 1942 but used only by lodger units, including the 63rd Fighter Squadron and 55th Fighter Squadron.

After the war, Collyweston and Wittering were merged. In 1952 a new hard runway was laid, 2,759 m (9,052 ft) long. This was to prepare the base to operate jet aircraft. Wittering then became home to a series of bombers. First the Canberra, then 'V-force’ aircraft. This meant that new brick and concrete buildings had to be constructed, including special stores for nuclear weapons. Harriers replaced V-bombers in 1969. The base was known as 'home of the Harrier’ for many years.

Detailed history

Not yet known

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known

Service

Units

People

  • Robert Ahern

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 20th Fighter Group
    Robert was one of 5 children. Born in Duluth, Minnesota and grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. His last mission involved the bombing of a train. He flew over the train once as a warning for passengers to evacuate. On the second flyover, he was shot down and...

  • Arthur Altman

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot-1056 Twin Engine | 20th Fighter Group
    Wingman 55th FS, 20th FG 6:00 combat hours. MIA Jan. 5, 1944 near Wangerooge Island, Germany. Last seen going into clouds with engine smoking. P-38J s/n 42-67194 MACR 1969.

  • Francis Ames

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 20th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 55FS, 20FG, 8AF USAAF. Awards: WWII Victory. Post War: Engineer with AT&T Telecommunications Company for many years.

  • Harry Anderson

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 20th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 55FS, 20FG, 8AF USAAF. Credited 1 x Ju88 destroyed. Failed to Return (FTR) escort mission to Berlin, after strafing Esbjerg aerodrome, A/C P-51D 44-13733 hit in cockpit area by flak and machine gunfire from ground, crashed near Esbjerg on...

  • Lee Anderson

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 20th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 55FS, 20FG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) fighter bomber mission to Chaumont, after strafing ground targets, A/C had oil failure, crashed near Epioux on 10-Aug-44 in P-51D 44-13679. Evaded (EVD). MACR 7764. Completed (End) Tour of Duty ...

  • Simon Anderson

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 20th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 55FS, 20FG, 8AF USAAF. End Of War (EOW).

  • Shelton Anthony

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 20th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 55FS, 20FG, 8AF USAAF. End of War (EOW).

  • Charles Arnold

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 20th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 55FS, 20FG, 8AF USAAF. End of War (EOW). Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Charles Bain

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 20th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 55FS, 20FG, 8AF USAAF. Credited 2 x Ju88 destroyed. Failed to Return (FTR) strafing mission to Parow aerodrome, hit in engine by ground fire, headed out to sea, A/C P-51 'Kinky' 43-25033 abandoned and crashed into Baltic 25-Aug-44. Prisoner...

  • Harry Baker

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot | 20th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 55FS, 20FG, 8AF USAAF. Credited with 2 kills. 1 x Bf109, 1 x Fw190. Killed in crash landing due to engine failure Wansford. P-51D 44-13924. 4-Aug-44. Killed in Action (KIA). Awards: DFC, AM (4OLC), PH.

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Aircraft

  • 42-67194

    P-38 Lightning
    Assigned to 55FS, 20FG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) target support mission to Kiel. Hit by Naval flak. Crashed into North Sea in P-38J 42-67194. Killed in Action (KIA). 5-Jan-44. MACR 1969.

  • 42-67885

    P-38 Lightning
    Assigned to 55FS, 20FG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) droopsnoot mission to Tours, France. Crashed near Valmeray in P-38J 42-67885, brought down by flak on 23-Apr-44. Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 4124.

  • 43-25033 'Kinky'

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 55FS, 20FG, 8AF USAAF. Personal aircraft of Lt James S Reynolds. Failed to Return (FTR) strafing mission to Parow aerodrome, hit in engine by ground fire, headed out to sea, A/C abandoned and crashed into Baltic 25-Aug-44. Pilot 1st Lt...

  • 44-11197 'Jakes Jet Job'

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 55FS, 20FG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) strafing mission to Madgeburg Area. Lost 25-Feb-45 - Lt Raymond H Soleau details unknown, contacted control but did not pass details of problem. Killed in Action (KIA) MACR 12742.

  • 44-13679

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 55FS, 20FG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) fighter bomber mission to Chaumont, after strafing ground targets A/C lost oil pressure and was abandoned, crashed near Epioux on 10-Aug-44. Pilot Lt Lee Anderson Evaded (EVD) MACR 7764.

  • 44-13733

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 55FS, 20FG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) escort mission to Berlin, after strafing Esbjerg aerodrome, A/C hit in cockpit area by flak and machine gunfire from ground ...

  • 44-14331

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 55FS, 20FG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) escort to Politz. Rammed flight leader Capt Joe McKeon from behind and below in P-51D 44-13541 engine ripped from aircraft 7-Oct-44. Baled out Prisoner of War (POW) MACR 9256.

  • 43-6865 'Smoky Joe'

    P-51 Mustang
    This aircraft was initially assigned to 486FS, 352FG, 8AF USAAF. Trasnferred to 496FTG, 8AF USAAF. ...

  • 42-67998 "Li’l One"

    P-38 Lightning
    Landing accident RAF Wittering. P-38J 42-67998 “Li’l One”. 8th May 1944, aircraft had Cat AC battle damage from the mission.

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Revisions

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

Barry Anderson, Army Air Forces Stations (Alabama, 1985) / RAF Wittering, History of RAF Wittering 1916-1995

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

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