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Aldermaston

Military site : airfield

Aldermaston was built for RAF use in 1941-1942, and handed over to the Eighth Air Force in 1942. It was home to several Troop Carrier Groups, and became an airfield of the Ninth Air Force in 1943. Handed back to the RAF in 1945, it was placed on Care and Maintenance, before being used as a civil airport. The airfield closed in 1950 and the site became home of the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (later the Atomic Weapons Establishment) from 1950.

Detailed history

Not yet known

English Heritage's record description

A military airfield, opened in 1942 and closed in 1950. By the end of the Second World War, It had temporary accommodation for its personnel; there were four T2 type aircraft hangars and one MAP type hangar; 52 loop type hard standings were provided. Typically wartime construction methods involved the use of "temporary materials". The landing surfaces were constructed from concrete and wood chippings. The site was chosen in 1941 and developed with a standard 3 runway system for bombers belonging to Operational Training Units of the Royal Air Force. However the site was in fact given to the United States Army Air Force: initially it was used by 60th Troop Carrier Group, 10th , 11th, 12th and 28th Squadrons, with C-47 transport aircraft. They were replaced in 1943 by 315 Troop Carrier Group, for a short time also a Royal Air Force Unit, Number 3 GTS. These were in turn replaced by the 9th (later 29th) Air Command, whose headquarters were at Aldermaston Court. In March 1944 the Airfield was taken over by the 434th Troop Carrier Group, 71st, 72nd, 73rd and 74th Squadrons, with a theoretical complement of 2817 personnel. They were involved in D-Day, using C-47 aircraft to tow 52 Hadrian gliders filled with troops of the 81st Airborne to attack positions 1 mile inland of Omaha beach. Once the beachheads were established, Aldermaston was used to fly cargo in and wounded troops out. The base was also used as training for Operation Market Garden (the Arnhem campaign). After the departure of the 9th Group the airfield was dormant from June 1945 to May 1946. From 1946 to 1948 the airfield was used to train civilian pilots, and from 1948-1949 was used by Eagle Aviation. The site was taken over by the British nuclear research programme, and by 1953 was redeveloped as the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (now known as the Atomic Weapons Establishment). Much of the site of the former airfield is thus now either built upon, and/ or is in a restricted area.

Service

Units

People

  • Oren Adams

    Military | First Lieutenant | fighter pilot | 370th Fighter Group

  • Donald Adsmson

    Military | pilot | 60th Troop Carrier Group

  • William Baker

    Military | Co-Pilot | 434th Troop Carrier Group
    Shot down during Operation Market Garden in C-47 43-16033 on 17 September 1944, after his aircraft took a direct hit after completing the parachute drop, and caught fire. Succeeded in evading capture for 38 days with the assistance of Dutch civilians...

  • Clarence Baldwin

    Military | Flight Officer | Glider Co-Pilot | 434th Troop Carrier Group
    Glider co pilot, piloted Horsa glider with 8 x 101st Airborne troops crash landing, struck tree damaging the fuselage and wing of Horsa, vacated A/C into nearby wood followed closely by enemy troops, captured POW, initially to Dulag Luft 6-Jun-44....

  • John Ballintine

    Military | Flight Officer | Co-pilot | 434th Troop Carrier Group
    Assigned to 71TCS, 434TCG, 9AF USAAF. Co-pilot of Horsa chalk#10. Knocked unconscious by explosion, came to being treated by German medic, evacuated back to aid station in St Come- Du-Mont. Remained behind with medics and other wounded when Germans...

  • Joseph Beck

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Pilot | 439th Troop Carrier Group
    Assigned to 12TCS, 60TCG, 8AF [later 12AF] USAAF. Transferred to 94TCS, 439TCG, 9AF USAAF. ...

  • John Beckley

    Military | Sergeant | Flight engineer | 434th Troop Carrier Group
    Shot down 6 June 1944 in C-47 43-15101. Taken prisoner and eventually held at Stalag Luft IV.

  • Marvin Boetcher

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio operator | 434th Troop Carrier Group
    Shot down 6 June 1944 in C-47 43-15101. Taken prisoner and eventually held at Stalag Luft IV.

  • Christopher Domitrovich

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Gunner | 434th Troop Carrier Group
    Shot down during Operation Market Garden in C-47 43-16033 on 17 September 1944, after his aircraft took a direct hit after completing the parachute drop, and caught fire. Succeeded in evading capture with the assistance of Dutch civilians until he...

  • Rollin Ellis

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator | 434th Troop Carrier Group
    Shot down during Operation Market Garden in C-47 43-16033 on 17 September 1944, after his aircraft took a direct hit after completing the parachute drop, and caught fire. Succeeded in evading capture with the assistance of Dutch civilians until he...

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Aircraft

  • 43-15101

    C-47 Skytrain

  • HG-915

    Horsa
    Horsa glider with 8 x 101st Airborne troops and 2 crew, crash landing, struck tree damaging the fuselage and wing of Horsa, crew vacated A/C into nearby wood followed closely by enemy troops, captured.

  • HS-129

    Horsa
    Airspeed Horsa glider lost 7-Jun-44, 2 x crew POW, 8 x passenger [101st Airborne]. Tug C-47 43-15201. Crew: Pilot F/O Steve P Odahowski Co Pilot F/O William Jew

  • 42-24064 Placid Lassie

    C-47 Skytrain

  • DE932

    Tiger Moth
    de Havilland Tiger Moth DE932 assigned to 311th Ferry Squadron, 8th AF USAAF. Written off in a forced landing at Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, due to fuel exhaustion, pilot Lt Frank A Forsyth, 24-Oct-43.

  • DE560

    Tiger Moth
    de Havilland Tiger Moth DE560, assigned to 107th Observation Sqn, 67th Observation Grp, 8AF USAAF. Stalled during practice forced landing Kinrossie 8-Nov-45.

  • 43-15628

    C-47 Skytrain
    Tow ship for Horsa HG915 6-Jun-44, pilot Capt Frederick H Tarbell, RTB. Landing accident Gotha North/R-4 Cat 4 damage pilot Lt Jay A Norem, 16-4-45.

  • W6554

    Oxford
    Airspeed Oxford W6554, assigned to 44BW, 8AF USAAF.

  • 43-15502 'Mary Co-Ed II'

    C-47 Skytrain
    Assigned to 74TCS, 434TCG, 9AF USAAF. Having landed at Beyreuth/R-26, pilots going through shutdown procedure, the following C-47 [43-15350 'Big Dog'] landed and lost control, ground looping into the port engine and cockpit of #502, ejecting the pilot...

  • 42-24022

    C-47 Skytrain
    Assigned to 71TCS, 434TCG, 9AF USAAF. ...

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Revisions

Date Contributor Update
03 September 2019 12:32:02 Emily Changes to english heritage description
Sources

Historic England National Monument Record SU 56 SE 32

Date Contributor Update
04 August 2018 14:58:36 robrop Changes to media associations
Sources

Robert Roper

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

Barry Anderson, Army Air Forces Stations (Alabama, 1985) / Chris Ashworth, Action Stations 9: Military Airfields of the Central South and South-east (Cambridge, 1985)

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