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Chilbolton

Military site : airfield

Planned as a grass airfield Relief Landing Ground for RAF Middle Wallop, Chilbolton was used as a fighter and Army Co-operation base during 1940-42. Enlarged and upgraded with a tarmac-surface hard perimeter track, some double blast pens and other fighter hardstandings, plus three blister hangars, the station was declared a full No. 10 Group satellite in April 1942. Allocated briefly to the 8th Air Force as a potential fighter base during August-September 1942, but never used by any 8th Air Force units, it was re-allocated to the USAAF in November 1942 as a potential transport or reconnaissance base, albeit built to bomber standard. The station was again enlarged and upgraded during January to December 1943 with three concrete runways, to become a 9th Air Force combined tactical air depot and operational base. Incomplete when the 5th Tactical Air Depot took up residence in January 1944, the existing perimeter track was extended and 48 new loop hardstandings were added to the existing dispersals. Two T2 hangars joined the existing blister hangars. Occupied by the 10th Air Depot Group from January to July 1944, and by the 86th Air Depot Group from January to September 1944, which specialised in the maintenance, modification and repair of P-47s, the station was also occupied briefly during March 1944 by the 12th and 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadrons, equipped with Spitfires and P-51s. The 368th Fighter Group, equipped with P-47s, operated from Chilbolton during March to June 1944, after which it was used as a casualty air evacuation and supply base by C-47s from various troop carrier groups. The 442nd Troop Carrier Group occupied the station briefly during September 1944, after which it continued to be used as a general USAAF transport staging base until handed back to the RAF in March 1945. Next used as a fighter operational training and fighter squadron base during 1945-46, the station closed in November 1946. It was occupied by Vickers-Supermarine from 1947 to 1957, and by Folland Aircraft from 1953 to 1961. The site was abandoned in 1961 and has since largely returned to agriculture, but the Space Research Council built the Chilbolton Observatory in the middle of the airfield during 1963-67. Part of the airfield remains operational with a private grass airstrip, home to the Chilbolton Flying Club.

Service

Units

People

  • Robert Andrus

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | fighter pilot | 368th Fighter Group

  • John Anthony

    Military | Corporal | Fire Fighter

  • William Antonides

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 10th Air Depot Group
    Lt Antonides, who came from Glenwood Springs, Colorado, was assigned to the 334th Squadron, 4th Fighter Group in February 1945. He took part in twenty two missions during his time at Debden, accounting for a total of seven enemy aircraft destroyed on...

  • Harold Axe

    Military | Flight Officer | Fighter Pilot | 10th Air Depot Group
    Assigned to 336FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 10ADG, 8AF USAAF. Awards: WWII Victory, EAME. Post War: Computer Analyst GM Indianapolis, IN, USA. Retired 1988.

  • George Bauer

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter pilot
    Assigned to 397FS, 386FG, 9AF USAAF. 2 x confirmed kills. Failed to Return (FTR) armed recon, crashed into a hill while strafing motor transport vehicle near Densberg, Germany. MACR 13622. Awards: DFC, PH.

  • Robert Bechtold

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 368th Fighter Group
    Forced to bail out on a mission on 14 June 1944. Either Returned to Duty (RTD) or became a Prisoner of War (POW). MACR not clear on this point. ...

  • Raymond Bogusevic

    Military | Flight Officer | Fighter pilot | 10th Air Depot Group
    Assigned to 336FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 10th Air Depot Group, 8AF USAAF. Completed Tour Duty (ETD). Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Clarence Bousfield

    Military | Flight Officer | Fighter pilot | 10th Air Depot Group
    Assigned to 336FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 10ADG, 9AF USAAF. ...

  • Philo Burney

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Fighter pilot | 10th Air Depot Group
    Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. 24 x combat missions. Transferred to 10th Air Depot Group. Awards: AM (2OLC), WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Joseph Busenbark

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Fighter pilot | 368th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 396FS, 368FG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) dive bombing mission to Trier, Germany. Having shot down 1 x Fw190 engine started running roughly missing badly, set course for home crash landed near Lissendorf, Germany. Killed in Action ...

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Aircraft

  • 42-25881

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Republic P-47D Thunderbolt 42-25881, assigned to the 397th FS, 368th FG, 9th AF, 9-3-44. Whilst on dive bombing mission, collided with a Fw190 near Campeau that had emerged from the overcast directly in front of him. 7-7-44 A/C crashed near Campeau,...

  • 42-76482

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Assigned to 396FS, 368FG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) dive bombing mission to Trier, Germany. Having shot down 1 x Fw190 engine started running roughly missing badly, set course for home crash landed near Lissendorf, Germany. Pilot 2Lt Joseph S...

  • 44-19916

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Assigned to 395FS, 368FG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) 23-Dec-44 mission in P-47D 44-19916. Section bounced, shot down in ensuing melee. Pilot Bryce A Ralston KIA 23-Dec-44. Kruft, Germany. MACR 11489.

  • 44-33205

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Assigned to 397FS, 386FG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) armed recon, crashed into a hill while strafing motor transport vehicle near Densberg, Germany. Pilot 1Lt George L Bauer Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 13622.

  • 41-6191

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    One-time aircraft of [then] Lt Henry L "Hank" Mills. Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF. Transferred to 397FS 368FG 9AF.

  • 43-25570 'Kwit-Cher-Bitchin'

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47D Thunderbolt 43-25570 D3-H 'Kwit-Cher-Bitchin' 397th FS, 368th FG, 9th AF. Pilot Randall W Hendricks.

  • 42-67450 'Eze Does It'

    P-38 Lightning
    P-38J field modified to 'Droop Snoot*' configuration. Assigned to the 20th Fighter Group. The groups other P-38's would fly in close formation with the 'droop snoot*' and all drop their bombs when the lead aircraft released its. Several missions were...

  • V3830

    Oxford
    Airspeed Oxford Mk II V3830, assigned to Headquarters & Headquarters Squadron (10th Air Depot Group) 9AF USAAF. Mid air collision with Miles Master W8453, crashed Cowage Farm, Calne Cat 5 damage, pilot Capt Fred Niffenegger and co pilot Capt James J...

  • W3848 'Travancore II'

    Spitfire
    Supermarine Spitfire W3848 Mk Vb Const #2070, Built at Eastleigh. ...

  • 41-6184 'Old Rocking Chair' / 'Well?' / 'E.L.'

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Assigned to 336FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. One time personal aircraft of Lt Robert J Messenger. Transferred to 396FS, 368FG, 9AF USAAF.

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Revisions

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 Ninth Then and Now (London, 1994)

Roger Freeman, Mighty Eighth War Manual (London, 2001)

Chris Ashworth, Action Stations 9: Military Airfields of the Central South and South-East (Cambridge, 1985)

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

http://chilboltonflyingclub.co.uk/

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