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High Ercall

Military site : airfield

Built during 1939-41 for the RAF, as a combined fighter station and Maintenance Unit base, High Ercall had three tarmac runways, 23 hardstandings, two T2 hangars and 24 other hangars of various types. Occupied by the RAF from October 1940, it was allocated to the Eighth Air Force as a fighter base in June 1942, although the site was shared with No. 29 Maintenance Unit. Occupied by the 309th Fighter Squadron of the 31st Fighter Group, equipped with Spitfire Vs, during June to August 1942, the station changed role to fighter training base in August 1942, with the arrival of the 27th Fighter Squadron of the 1st Fighter Group, equipped with P-38s. The 309th Fighter Squadron departed in September 1942, and was replaced for a short period in October 1942 by the 92nd Fighter Squadron, equipped with P-39s, en route to join the 12th Air Force in North Africa. Handed back to the RAF in April 1943, High Ercall remained the home of No. 29 Maintenance Unit until closed in 1962. The airfield has since returned mostly to agriculture, with the runways largely broken up. Several hangars and other wartime buildings remain in use. The Headquarters site became the Road Transport Industry Training Board MOTEC 1 (Multi Occupational Training and Educational Centre), later Centrex and then owned by the Angel group. The sub sites with hangars became warehousing.

Detailed history

Not yet known

English Heritage's record description

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  • 1st Fighter Group

    1st Fighter Group

    The 1st Fighter Group were initially deployed to Britain in the summer of 1942 as part of Operation Bolero. After shuttling through a number of different bases in the UK, the Group was reassigned to the Twelfth Air Force in September 1942 and supported...

  • 31st Fighter Group

    31st Fighter Group

    The 31st Fighter Group only flew missions from England between June and September 1942 but during this period they supported the Dieppe raid, the assault on occupied Europe, predominantly by the Canadian army. The attack was forced into early retreat...


  • John Felton

    Military | Flight Officer | Fighter pilot | 31st Fighter Group
    Joined RCAF 1940, Assigned to 185 Sqn RAF Malta defense. 50 missions. Credited 1 x Ju88 Strait of Messina. Transferred USAAF, assigned to 309FS, 31FG, 15AF USAAF. Credited 1 x destroyed. Spitfires and P-51 Mustangs. Ended Tour Duty (ETD). ...

  • John Hawkins

    Military | Colonel | Fighter Pilot/Fighter Group Commander | 31st Fighter Group

  • James Isbell

    Military | 31st Fighter Group

  • Jerome Juhnke

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter pilot | 31st Fighter Group
    Assigned to 309FS, 31FG, 12AF. Shot down east of El Guettar in plane assigned to Lt Leonard Houston Meldeau, coded WZ-O. This was the third time he had been shot down, but this time his parachute (Meldeau's) failed to open. Juhnke assigned plane at...

  • Charles Kenworthy

    Military | Fighter Pilot | 31st Fighter Group

  • Harry Kerr

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 31st Fighter Group
    Pilot Spitfire Vb BM511 crashed 2 miles north-west of Creswell, Staffordshire. Suspected failure of oxygen system, blacked out and dived straight in, no attempt by pilot to recover. 16-Jul-42. Killed Non Battle (DNB). Awards: PH.

  • John Paulk

    Military | 31st Fighter Group


  • EN909

    Supermarine Spitfire EN909 Mk Vb, Built at Chattis Hill. ...

  • BM635

    Supermarine Spitfire BM635 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • BM511

    Supermarine Spitfire BM511 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • W8586

    Miles Master W8586, assigned to 309th FS 31st FG 8AF USAAF.

  • W8934

    Miles Master W8934 assigned to 309th FS, 31st FG, 8AF USAAF.

  • EN923

    Supermarine Spitfire EN923 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. 45 MU 16-Jun-42 309S 30-Jun-42 Flying accident Cat CB damage 8-Jul-42 Westland Palma 5-Dec-42 107TRS 67TRG 8AF USAAF USSR 30-Jan-43

  • BM371

    Supermarine Spitfire BM371 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...


Date Contributor Update
09 May 2021 19:04:35 RED HORSE Changes to person associations

Papers of Lt Col Harry L. Barr

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

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

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