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Christchurch

Military site : airfield

The original Christchurch Airport operated from 1935-39, and the airfield was used by the RAF from 1939 to 1941. It was the site of the Airspeed Aircraft factiry from 1940 to 51. Christchurch was developed for USAAF use in 1943, and the Ninth Air Force's 405th Fighter Group used the airfield in 1944. Handed back to the British, Christchurch continued to develop as a Ministry of Aircraft Production airfield for de Havilland. The airfield was closed in 1967, and most of the site was sold for light industry and housing development in 1979.

Detailed history

Not yet known

English Heritage's record description

The site of a former military airfield opened in 1935 and closed between 1964 and 1967, situated just inland from Christchurch bay. By 1944 the airfield had five landing surfaces composed partly of concrete, grass and steel matting. It also had aircraft hangars of Bellman, Bessoneau and Blister types. Although not a large base it was important during World War Two as part of the Air Defence Experimental Establishment; experimenting with radar navigational and interception mechanisms. It was also the home of the Airspeed aircraft factory, which amongst designs produced the Airspeed Oxford trainer aircraft. In the build up to D-Day in 1944 the USAAF 405th Fighter Group were also stationed there, and the airfield was used as an Advanced Landing Ground. After World war Two Airspeed continued to use the site until 1964. The site has since been built over as a residential housing estate.

Service

Units

People

  • Clinton Albright

    Military | Flight Officer | Fighter Pilot | 405th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 511FS, 405FG, 9AF USAAF. Transferred to 62FS, 56FG, 8AF. End of War.

  • Dwight Alverson

    Military | Major | Pilot | 405th Fighter Group

  • Arlie Blood

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 405th Fighter Group

  • Vincent James

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 405th Fighter Group
    Lt. Vincent R. James of Lincoln, was killed in action over England on June 29, 1944, receiving posthumously the award of the Purple Heart. He was a fighter pilot, having graduated from Aloe Field, Victoria, Texas, December 5, 1943.

  • Ralph Jenkins

    Military | Colonel | Fighter pilot, squadron commander | 405th Fighter Group
    Ralph C. Jenkins: Was a 25 year old Flight Commander flying Thunderbolt fighters in the 510th Squadron, 405th Group 9th Air Force. Became Squadron Commander and flew 129 combat missions beginning on D-Day Normandy. After airfield estabished in...

  • Clyde Knisley

    Military | Major | Fighter Pilot 1055 single engine/Squadron Commander | 405th Fighter Group
    CO 510th FS 405th FG "White Leader" 1 air kill on Dec. 24, 1944. KIA by flak while strafing near the Luxembourg border on Jan. 19, 1945. MACR #11844 Previously in the SW Pacific theater with the 7th FS 49th FG flying P-40 Warhawks.

  • Joseph Marr

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot | 405th Fighter Group
    Captain Joseph Marr is buried in Plot D Row 18 Grave 9 at Brittany American Cemetery, St. James, France.

  • Julian Morford

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 405th Fighter Group

  • Lloyd New

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 405th Fighter Group

Aircraft

  • 42-26459 'Butch II' 'Eager Eddie' 'Portland Rose'

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Assigned to 352FS, 353FG, 8AF USAAF. Personal aircraft of Lt Col William B Bailey. Re-assigned to Lt Edward C Andrews. Transferred to 361FS, 356FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 509FS, 405FG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) local test flight crashed...

  • 42-76479

    P-47 Thunderbolt

  • 42-76553 The Bug

    P-47 Thunderbolt

  • 42-76257 Squirt II

    P-47 Thunderbolt

  • 42-74726 "Hell's Belle"

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Assigned to 335FS, 5FG, 8AF USAAF. One time personal aircraft of 2nd Lt Charles F Anderson. Anderson claimed a Bf 109 destroyed and a second damaged while flying this aircraft on 30 January 1944. Transferred to 509FS 405FG 9AF USAAF.

  • 42-28674

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Assigned to 511FS, 405FG, 9AF USAAF. Abandoned 15 miles NE St Dizier 25-Oct-44.

  • 42-26643 'Aw Nuts !'

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Assigned to 352FS, 353FG, 8AF USAAF. Collided with P-47D 42-75608 taxiing Raydon/Sta 157. 9-Jul-44. Transferred to 509FS, 405FG, 9AF.

  • 42-76476

    P-47 Thunderbolt

  • 42-74699

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Assigned to 359FS, 356FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 62FS, 56FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 509FS, 405FG, 9AF USAAF.

  • 42-75155

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Assigned to 374FS, 361FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 510FS, 405FG, 9AF USAAF.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
03 September 2019 11:35:05 Emily Changes to construction date, closure date and english heritage description
Sources

Historic England National Monument Record SZ 19 SE 125

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)

Chris Ashworth, Action Stations 5: Military Airfields of the South-West (Cambridge, 1982)

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