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Bovingdon

Military site : airfield

Bovingdon, in Hertfordshire (often confused with Bovington, Dorset), was built in 1941-42 as a bomber station but was never developed into a fully-fledged heavy bomber airfield as it did not have the required 2,000 yard runway.

The airfield was used by the USAAF as a operational training base between summer 1942 and the end of the war.

The 92nd Bomb Group was not a combat group while stationed here; instead it formed a B-17 combat crew replacement unit. Some of its personnel stayed when the 92nd moved to Alconbury in September 1943 and formed the basis of the 11th Combat Crew Replacement Center at Bovingdon.

Most combat bomber crews arriving in Britain were trained for operations in the European theater from this base.

It also hosted the Eighth Air Force HQ Squadron and the Air Technical Section, because of its proximity to Eighth Air Force HQ at Bushy Park and VIII Bomber and Fighter Command HQs at High Wycombe and Bushey Hall respectively; meanwhile, Hangar 1 housed General Eisenhower's personal B-17 Flying Fortress.

When the 11th CCRC disbanded in September 1944, Bovingdon was taken over by the European Air Transport Service and many Americans returned to the States from the airfield.

Post-war, the airfield was used by the US Air Force as a transport base, as well as by civil airlines, before the RAF took full control in the 1960s, Bovingdon then becoming the home of communication squadrons serving Fighter and Coastal Command HQs at Stanmore and Northwood.

Three movies were filmed at Bovingdon in the 1960s – 'The War Lover', '633 Squadron' and 'Mosquito Squadron' – and, in the 1970s, 'Hanover Street'.

The airfield closed when the RAF left in 1968 and it is now the site of a prison.

Detailed history

Not yet known

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known

Service

Units

People

  • Ralph Adams

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Orginally assigned with the 92BG at Bovingdon, UK as an Aerial Gunner with the rank of Sergeant. He flew his first mission (and the only one with the 92BG) on 21-Oct-42. ...

  • William Angliss

    Military | Private First Class | Ball Turret Gunner | 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few
    Shot down 6 September 1942 in B-17E 41-9026 'Baby Doll' while serving as Ball Turret Gunner. Crashed into Channel. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Charles Austin

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    1LT Charles N. Austin was originally assigned to the 92BG and arrived in England in August 1942. On 10-Feb-43 he and his crew were transferred from 92BG to 303BG/358BS as a replacement crew ans assigned to B-17F 41-24558 "Hunga Dunga". He participated...

  • Robert Benedict

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few
    Shot down 6 September 1942 in B-17 41-9026 'Baby Doll' while serving as Co-Pilot. Crashed into Channel. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Nathaniel Blanton

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Fighter Pilot 1055 single engine/Squadron Commander | 20th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 24th PG in Philippines evacuated to Australia. Went to Java with the 17th PS and then 7th FS 49thFG in Australia and New Guinea completed tour and was credited with downing 4 Japanese Zeros. ...

  • Lawrence Bouchard

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter pilot | 359th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 369FS, 359FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to HQ Sqn, VIII Fighter Command. Completed 300hrs combat and returned home. ...

  • John Buchanan

    Military | Master Sergeant | Engineer | 25th Bomb Group
    John Buchanan was killed on 9 December 1943 in a take-off crash from Bovingdon, UK, where the 1st Combat Crew Replacement Center were based. He was beginning a weather reconnaissance flight in B-17 #42-37744. All 10 on board were killed, including two...

  • Frank Buck

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier, Flight Engineer; Top Turret Gunner | 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few
    Shot down 6 September 1942 in B-17 41-9026 'Baby Doll' while serving as Bombardier. Crashed into Channel. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Donald Buckland

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few
    Shot down in 9 October 1942 in B-17F 41-9018 while serving as Ball Turret Gunner. Crashed into Channel. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Sylvester Burke

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Fighter pilot | 56th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 63FS, 56FG, 8AF USAAF. Credited 3 x kills. Squadron commander 63FS. Transferred to HQ Sqn, VIII fighter command. Awards: DFC(3OLC), AM(3OLC), WWII Victory, EAME. Post war: Remained in USAF rising to Lt Colonel.

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Aircraft

  • 41-2578 Butcher Shop/ Big Tin Bird

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Boeing B-17E ...

  • 41-9017 Heidi Ho

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Boeing B-17E ...

  • 41-9021 Big Bitch/ Hangar Queen

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Boeing B-17E ...

  • 41-9022 Alabama Exterminator

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 341BS/97BG Polebrook 3/42; with C.J. Paine force landed Presque Is, ME 27/6/42; Bovingdon 8/42, used as ferry navigation a/c; transferred 546BS/384BG [BK-L] Grafton Underwood 4/6/43 as t/t & hack 8/43; 1 Base Air Depot, Burtonwood 27/7/44;...

  • 41-9023 Yankee Doodle

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Boeing B-17E ...

  • 41-9026 Baby Doll

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Boeing B-17E ...

  • 41-9045 Stinky

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 414BS/97BG Polebrook 3/42; transferred 92BG Bovingdon 24/8/42; crash landed Agricultural College, Athenry, Ireland, near Galway Bay, 15/1/43 ex N/Africa after taking part in 1st Prov Grp of Gen Brereton in Eritrea (as No 8.). En route...

  • 41-9085 Jarrin' Jenny

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Boeing B-17E ...

  • 41-9174

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered 29BG MacDill 7/5/42; Assigned 340BS/97BG Polebrook 6/42; transferred 326BS/92BG Bovingdon 9/42; transferred 326BS/11CCRC 1/43; crashed on take off from Bovingdon on navigation exercise 24/6/43; with Jim Buford, Co-pilot: Jack Berry, Navigator...

  • 42-2966

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 427BS/303BG [GN-U] Bangor 16/9/42; Molesworth 28/10/42; 1 CCRC Bovingdon 4/7/43 as trainer. Salvaged in the UK after the war, date not recorded.

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Revisions

Date Contributor Update
13 March 2017 19:54:58 SavvyGA Changes to description
Sources

Warning of confusion with Bovington, Dorset, a British Army base.

Date Contributor Update
13 March 2017 19:37:50 SavvyGA Changes to description
Sources

Films added

Date Contributor Update
13 March 2017 19:36:10 SavvyGA Changes to description and history
Sources

Films added.

Date Contributor Update
16 February 2017 19:29:32 SavvyGA Changes to description and history
Sources

Films added

Date Contributor Update
29 December 2016 17:20:05 SavvyGA Changes to description
Sources

Added civil airlines' use

Date Contributor Update
29 December 2016 17:18:06 SavvyGA Changes to description and english heritage description
Sources

Added civil use

Date Contributor Update
29 December 2016 15:59:38 SavvyGA Changes to description and english heritage description
Sources

Added civil usage.

Date Contributor Update
29 December 2016 15:55:46 SavvyGA Changes to description
Sources

Added post-Badotville civil airlines' usage

Date Contributor Update
15 December 2016 17:38:44 SavvyGA Changes to description
Sources

Added HQ locations.

Date Contributor Update
14 December 2016 11:52:26 SavvyGA Changes to description
Sources

Post-war summary added.

Date Contributor Update
14 December 2016 11:45:45 SavvyGA Changes to description
Sources

Corrected spelling; and amended official designation 'Center' - instead of 'Unit' (ie 11th CCRC).

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:02:16 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

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

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