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Upottery

Military site : airfield

Known locally as Smeatharpe, Upottery was built during 1943-44 potentially as a USAAF medium bomber, or reconnaissance or transport base. It had three concrete runways, 50 loop hardstandings, and two dispersed T2 hangars. Opened in February 1944 and selected to be a Ninth Air Force transport base, it was occupied by the 439th Troop Carrier Group, equipped with C-47s and C-53s, from April to August 1944.

Although returned to the RAF in October 1944, the station was next occupied briefly by US Navy (USN) PB4Y-1s during November-December 1944, and then by the USN 107th and 112th Patrol Bomber Squadrons, also equipped with PB4y-1s, from January to June 1945.

Returned to the RAF in July 1945, the station was used for storage by Maintenance Command until closed in 1948. The site quickly returned to private ownership and agriculture, although the concrete runways and many hardstands remain, plus some of the wartime buildings albeit in a derelict state. Parts of the airfield are now occupied by the Smeatharpe Stadium for stock car racing plus the Dakota 'Drag and Drift’ Raceway.

Detailed history

Not yet known

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known

Service

People

  • Emmett Avery

    Military | Flight Officer | Glider pilot | 439th Troop Carrier Group
    Assigned to 94TCS, 439TCG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Waco CG-4A glider 42-77382 Chalk #45, re-supply mission to Bastogne. Prisoner of War (POW). 27-Dec-44. MACR 11180. Awards: POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Steve Baran

    Military | Flight Officer | Co-pilot | 439th Troop Carrier Group
    Assigned to 91TCS, 439TCG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) D-day drop, after being hit by flak in C-47 42-100819. Crashed NE of Picauville. Killed in Action (KIA) 6-Jun-44. MACR 7133. Awards: AM, PH.

  • Joseph Beck

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

  • Ralph Becker

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-pilot | 439th Troop Carrier Group
    Assigned to 94TCS, 439TCG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) from glider towing mission [Op Varsity, Rhine crossing], hit by flak on approach to DZ managed to release gliders, before losing altitude and crashing 2 miles SW of Wesel, Germany 24-Mar-45....

  • Kenneth Bell

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-pilot | 439th Troop Carrier Group
    Assigned to 93TCS, 439TCG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) D-day mission to Normandy, hit by flak and set on fire, pilot 2nd Lt Marvin F Muir held his burning aircraft under control until the paratroopers aboard could exit, sacrificing himself and...

  • Henry Benefiel

    Military | First Lieutenant | Glider pilot | 439th Troop Carrier Group
    In January, 1944, his unit arrived in a convoy at Liverpool, from which they were transferred by train to Upottery. They were stationed there from February, 1944 until D-Day. On D-Day, Henry was assigned to the second wave of gliders. They never...

  • Richard Blake

    Military | Flight Officer | Glider pilot | 439th Troop Carrier Group
    Assigned 93TCS, 439TCG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) glider re-supply mission to Bastogne. Prisoner of War (POW). 27-Dec-44. MACR 11181. Awards: PH, POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Douglas Bloomfield

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Glider pilot | 439th Troop Carrier Group
    Assigned 94TCS, 439TCG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) glider re-supply mission to Bastogne. Killed in Action (KIA). 27-Dec-44. MACR 11182. Awards: PH.

  • Vernon Brasch

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Flight engineer | 439th Troop Carrier Group
    Assigned to 93TCS, 439TCG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) re-supply mission to Bastogne, towing 2 Waco gliders, A/C hit by flak in fuel tanks, broke formation and released gliders, allowing crew to bale. Baled out. Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 11319....

  • Velton Brewer

    Military | Flight Officer | Glider pilot | 439th Troop Carrier Group
    Assigned to 94TCS, 436TCG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) re-supply mission to Bastogne. Being towed by C-47 43-15073 27-Dec-44. Released short of LZ, due to flak. Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 11183. Awards: POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

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Aircraft

  • 42-100644

    C-47 Skytrain
    Assigned to 91TCS, 439TCG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) glider tow to Belgium after releasing the glider hit in port engine by flak, left formation with fire streaming from engine and crashed 6 miles W/SW Bastogne. Crew baled out. 1 x RTD, 1 x POW...

  • 42-100819

    C-47 Skytrain
    Assigned to 91TCS, 439TCG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) after being hit by flak. The crew of 4 x men, and the 16 x paratroopers of 506th PIR, 1st Batn, 101st Airborne Division were killed. Crashed NE of Picauville. 6-Jun-44. MACR 7133. ...

  • 42-100840

    C-47 Skytrain
    Assigned to 93TCS, 439TCG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) re-supply mission to Bastogne, towing 2 Waco gliders, hit by flak in fuel tanks, broke formation and released gliders, allowing crew to bale. Remained at controls to ensure crews departure. 3...

  • 42-100876

    C-47 Skytrain
    Assigned to 93TCS, 493TCG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) D-day mission to Normandy, hit by flak and set on fire, pilot 2nd Lt Marvin F Muir held his burning aircraft under control until the paratroopers aboard could exit, sacrificing himself and...

  • 42-100885

    C-47 Skytrain
    Assigned to 91TCS, 439TCG, 9AF USAAF. Chalk #72 d-day mission, flown by Lt Padon. On re-supply mission to Grossbeck, Holland. Hit by flak in starboard wing tank shortly after crossing French coast, wing on fire, co-pilot baled out of A/C just as fire...

  • 42-40844

    CG-4A Haig
    Assigned to 94TCS, 439TCG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) from Bastogne on re-supply mission for 101st and 82nd airborne divisions. Pilot F/O Verbon E Houck 27-Dec-44 Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 11690.

  • 42-56515

    CG-4A Haig
    Assigned to 94TCS, 439TCG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) re-supply mission to Bastogne. Being towed by C-47 43-15073 27-Dec-44. Released short of LZ, due to flak. Pilot F/O Velton J Brewer Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 11183.

  • 42-56553

    CG-4A Haig
    Assigned to 94TCS, 439TCG, 9AF USAAF. Flown into Bastogne on re-supply mission, ammo and supplies for 101st and 82nd for airborne division. 27-Dec-44 Pilot F/O Meyer Sheff Prisoner of War (POW).

  • 42-77343

    CG-4A Haig
    Assigned to 94TCS, 439TCG, 9AF USAAF. Flew on resupply flight, ammo and supplies for 101st and 82nd airborne divisions, to Bastogne 27-Dec-44. Pilot F/O Clifton Kizer Prisoner of War (POW).

  • 42-77382

    CG-4A Haig
    Assigned to 94TCS, 439TCG, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) re-supply mission to Bastogne. 1 x POW. 27-Dec-44. MACR 11180.

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Revisions

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:02:18 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 (London, 1982)

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

http://www.autospeed.co.uk/information/tracklocations.ashx

http://www.straightliners-events.co.uk/event/events/drag-and-drift.html

http://www.youtube.com/embed/fyE1fjci0ns?feature=player_detailpage

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