Bovingdon

Airfield
Aerial photograph of Bovingdon airfield looking south, the technical site with four T2 hangars is on the left,30 April 1942. Photograph taken by No. 1 Photographic Reconnaissance Unit, sortie number RAF/HLA/510. English Heritage (RAF Photography).

Object Number - RAF_HLA_527_V_6012 - Aerial photograph of Bovingdon airfield looking south, the technical site with four T2 hangars is on the left,30 April 1942. Photograph taken by No....

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.

Connections

See how this entry relates to other items in the archive by exploring the connections below.

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few 359th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 13035538
  • Highest Rank: Technical Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Service Numbers: 16159449 / O-831078
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few 358th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-442766
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: VIII Fighter Command 20th Fighter Group 496th Fighter Training Group 554th Fighter Training Squadron 79th Fighter Squadron Headquarters & Headquarters Squadron (VIII Fighter Command)
  • Service Numbers: O-401361
  • Highest Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
  • Role/Job: Fighter Pilot/Squadron Commander
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: VIII Fighter Command 359th Fighter Group 369th Fighter Squadron Headquarters & Headquarters Squadron (VIII Fighter Command)
  • Service Numbers: 32047993 / O-673983
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Fighter pilot

Aircraft

  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Jersey Bounce
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 358th Bomb Squadron
A B-17 Flying Fortress (serial number 41-2578) nicknamed "Butcher Shop" of the 92nd Bomb Group at Bovingdon. Written on slide casing: 'B-17 E 12578 Oldest fortress in 8AF Bovingdon, 1943.'
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Butcher Shop/ Big Tin Bird
  • Unit: 97th Bomb Group 326th Bomb Squadron 340th Bomb Squadron 77th Fighter Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: P-47 Thunderbolt
  • Nicknames: Lady Jacquelyn on tail coded 41-6364WW code HL-D removed
  • Unit: No 1 Combat Crew Replacement Center 78th Fighter Group 83rd Fighter Squadron Headquarters & Headquarters Squadron (No 1 Combat Crew Replacement Center)
A B-17 Flying Fortress (serial number 41-9017) of the 92nd Bomb Group in flight. Passed for publication 5 Sep 1942. Printed caption on reverse: 'Q.13312: A Flying Fortress photographed in flight at a U.S. Training Centre.' On reverse: Westminster Press Provincial Newspapers Ltd and US Army General Section Press & Censorship Bureau [Stamps].
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Heidi Ho
  • Unit: 385th Bomb Group 482nd Bomb Group 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few 94th Bomb Group 97th Bomb Group 327th Bomb Squadron 342nd Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Big Bitch/ Hangar Queen
  • Unit: 390th Bomb Group 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few 97th Bomb Group 327th Bomb Squadron 414th Bomb Squadron

Revisions

Date13 Mar 2017 19:54:58
ContributorSavvyGA
Sources

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

Date13 Mar 2017 19:37:50
ContributorSavvyGA
Sources

Films added

Date13 Mar 2017 19:36:10
ContributorSavvyGA
Sources

Films added.

Date16 Feb 2017 19:29:32
ContributorSavvyGA
Sources

Films added

Date29 Dec 2016 17:20:05
ContributorSavvyGA
Sources

Added civil airlines' use

Date29 Dec 2016 17:18:06
ContributorSavvyGA
Sources

Added civil use

Date29 Dec 2016 15:59:38
ContributorSavvyGA
Sources

Added civil usage.

Date29 Dec 2016 15:55:46
ContributorSavvyGA
Sources

Added post-Badotville civil airlines' usage

Date15 Dec 2016 17:38:44
ContributorSavvyGA
Sources

Added HQ locations.

Date14 Dec 2016 11:52:26
ContributorSavvyGA
Sources

Post-war summary added.

Date14 Dec 2016 11:45:45
ContributorSavvyGA
Sources

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

Date27 Sep 2014 18:02:16
ContributorAAM
Sources

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

Bovingdon: Gallery (22 items)