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Author Topic: High Halden ALG  (Read 1999 times)

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High Halden ALG
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2017, 00:02:03 »
High Halden airfield lies approximately eight miles south southwest of Ashford and to the north of High Halden.

The area was surveyed in early summer 1942 and work was completed by midsummer 1943. It was then leased to local farmers until being allocated to the Ninth US Air Force to become United States Army Air Force Station AAF 411. Station code HH.
Work by No. 5003 US Airfield Construction Squadron extended the main runway (04/22) to 5,400ft. Taxiways were laid and holding platforms and hard standings built. On the south side were two refueling pads and two blister hangers. A large steel-framed canvas covered hanger held the armoury and a workshop. Tents were used for billeting.

The 358th Fighter Group, consisting of the 365th (codes CH) 366th (IA) and 367th (CP) Fighter Squadrons USAAF started to move in from Raydon, Essex in mid April 1944, the group flying the Republic P47D Thunderbolt fighter-bomber.
The group dive-bombed marshalling yards and airfields in northern France in preparation for the invasion of Normandy. On D-Day the group escorted Douglas C-47 paratroop carriers to their drop zones on the Contentin Peninsula, after which the group then turned to attacking enemy bridges, trains, vehicles and generally causing as much havoc as possible.
The group stared to move to the Cretteville ALG in Normandy in late June. By mid July the airfield was empty.
The group had relatively light losses while at High Halden. Four enemy aircraft were claimed as shot down.
A B-17 Flying Fortress (42-38020) crash landed at High Halden on the 25 April 1944 after being damaged over France, the crew returning to duty. There were two VI strikes on the airfield with seemingly little damage.

The airfield was used briefly as a forward operating base for the Meteor Mk ls of 616 Squadron RAF based at Manston.
The airfield was closed by mid September and was returned to its original owners in early 1945.

The Gates farm house, used as the 358th Groups HQ, still stands, as does a building that housed the airfields generator,
A memorial to those who served at the airfield has been erected close to the northern end of the main runway on the Bethersden road.

Photos © American Air Museum in Britain Licensed under CC-BY-NC 3.0

US 34GR LOC14 VH 1008. Aerial photograph of High Halden airfield looking south, Haffenden Quarter is bottom right, 11 May 1944. Photograph taken by 34th Photographic Squadron, 10th Photographic Reconnaissance Group, sortie number US/34GR/LOC14. English Heritage (USAAF Photography).
North at bottom. The Bethersden road runs across the northern end of the main runway.

UPL 13155. P-47D-20-RE Thunderbolt 42-76436, 358 Fighter Group, 367 Fighter Squadron, 9th AF, code CP-D, D-Day stripes Cardonville 17/06/1944. Pilot Jacob C Blazicek.


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