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Rudely but surely they bedded the plinth of the days to come.
Behind the feet of the Legions and before the Norseman’s ire
Rudely but greatly begat they the framing of State and Shire
Rudely but deeply they laboured, and their labour stand till now.
If we trace on ancient headlands the twist of their eight-ox plough.”

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Author Topic: Headcorn ALG  (Read 3249 times)

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Re: Headcorn ALG
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2017, 23:00:51 »
Fatality of Nos 403 and 421 Squadrons RCAF while based at Headcorn.

Squadron Leader Frank E Grant. Declared missing after having shot down a FW-190 on the 4th September 1943.
     Buried Wevelgem Communal Cemetery, Belgium.

Fatalities of the 362th Fighter Group USAAF while based at Headcorn.
Twenty two pilots were killed (corrected from my original post) with twelve made POWs and eight shot down over France and returned to the UK with the help of the French underground.
Compiled from-
P-47 Database.
USAAF Personnel Records.
USAF/USAAF Aircraft Accidents.
Obscureco. Link in first post.
Where the sources disagree I have chosen the most authoritative.

First Lieutenant John E Hayden. 377 Sqn. Killed in action 24 April 1944.
Shot down by ME Bf 109 near Kaiser Lautern, Germany.

First Lt Walter J Booth.
Crashed from unknown cause at Headcorn, 9 May 1944.

Captain Hugh F Houghton. 379 Sqn. KIA 10 May 1944.
Hit by flak while strafing Champagne airfield near Rheims.

Second Lt Donald R Gipple. 377 Sqn.
Injured in take-off accident at Headcorn 12 May, 1944. Died 19 May.

First Lt Daniel A Sipe Jr. 378 Sqn.
Jumped from aircraft after loss of oil pressure, 13 May 1944. Lost at sea.

Second Lt James C Stone. 378 Sqn. KIA 21 May 1944.
Crashed 1 Km n of Vignory, France, due to bad weather.

Second Lt Kevin Gough. 378 Sqn. KIA 31 May 1944.

   The following three pilots were shot down by FW 190A-8s on the 7th June 1944.
   The group claimed one enemy aircraft in return. Account of the day @

   Captain Clough F Gee lll 379 Sqn.

   Second Lt Craig A Gilbert. 378 Sqn.
   Died 8th June 1944 in German field hospital at Ecouch, France.

   Lt Theodore D Jensen. 379 Sqn.

First Lt Emory A Riggs. 377 Sqn. KIA 11th June 1944.
Hit by flak while strafing. Crashed at Monthuchon, France.

   The following two pilots were both killed by their own exploding bombs while strafing at low altitude. 13 June 1944.

   First Lt Leon R Bentley. 378 Sqn.

   First Lt Burleigh E Curtis 377 Sqn.
   KIA while attacking a railroad bridge at Briouze, France.
   Memorial at crash site.

First Lt Richard Hoff. 377 Sqn. KIA 14 June 1944.
Shot down by FW 190A-8, crashed near Vicq, France.

Second Lt Ralph E phillips. 377 Sqn. KIA 14 June 1944.

Lt James P Harris. 377 Sqn. KIA 21 June 1944.
Shot down by flak at Follainville, France.

Second Lt Alva D Bessey 378 Sqn. KIA 22 June 1944.
Shot down by flak while strafing south-east of Cherbourg.

First Lt Carl E Haering Jr. 378 Sqn. KIA 22 June 1944.
Shot down by flak at Brix, France.

Captain George W Rarey. 379 Sqn. KIA 27 June 1944.
Captain Rarey was a popular member of the group and painted the nose art on some of the Thunderbolts.
He was shot down by flak while strafing south-east of Muelhacker, Germany.
Link to George Rarey's sketchbook. Volumes lV and V cover the time the group were at Headcorn.

Second Lt Frank Glover. 378 Sqn. KIA 30 June 1944.
Shot down in dogfight over St-Valery and Verneuil, France.

Second Lt Ralph D Day. 377 Sqn. KIA 5 July 1944.
Damaged by FW190A-8, headed towards beachhead but crashed at Monnaie, France.

Lt Robert G Barnes. 379 Sqn. KIA 6 July 1944.
Crashed while strafing truck between Penfao and Derval, France.

Major Gene L Arth.406th FG. Killed while flying with the 362th FG on a familiarization flight.
Shot down by flak while strafing train at Lingen, Germany, 22 April 1944.

List of the 362nd Fighter Group victory claims @

The 362nd FG facebook page @

Offline conan

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Re: Headcorn ALG
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2017, 20:16:46 »
Interesting post

A set of three google map images shows the abandonment phases quite nicely.

The first from 1940 but maybe later (or maybe showing the ALG under construction).

The second in 1960 still shows the vague outline of the runways.

and the third latest image from 2015 nothing shows apart from the semi-circular wall to the bottom of the picture and a couple of boundaries to the north of the second runway.

To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero


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Headcorn ALG
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2017, 00:29:01 »
Located eight miles to the west of Ashford. Not to be confused with Lashenden airfield, which is now known as Headcorn.
Originally rejected as an airfield site due to the large number of ponds, Headcorn was reconsidered and in August 1942 a modified plan was adopted. Construction began in March 1942, stopped for the winter, then began again in March with work completed by the early summer of 1943.

Upon completion Headcorn became the HQ of No. 17 Fighter Wing Royal Canadian Air Force, which administered to Nos 126 and 127 Airfields (later called, less confusingly, 126 and 127 Wings.)
Two squadrons of 127 Airfield, Nos 403 and 421 RCAF, moved in from Lashenden on the 20th August 1943, both flying the Spitfire Mk lXb.
The two squadrons were employed flying Ramrods, escorting bombers over northern Europe. They were particularly active during Operation Starkey in late August/early September. The two squadrons moved to winter quarters at Kenley on the 14th October 1943.
Link to 403 Squadron RCAF Operations Record Book 1943.

In late 1943 Headcorn was allocated to the Ninth Air Force, United States Army Air Force to become USAAF Station AAF-412, Station code HC. The runways, taxiways and hard standings were rebuilt and extended and a steel framed Butler combat hanger added.
On the 13th April 1944 the 362nd Fighter Group, comprising of the 377th (codes E-4) 378th (G-8) and 379th (B-8) Fighter Squadrons, flying the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, moved in from Wormingford.
The three squadrons were soon engaged in attacks on enemy airfields, roads and railways in preparation for the coming invasion.On D-Day the group escorted paratroop carrying C-47s over Normandy. The group then turned to strafing, dive-bombing and close support missions in support of the American ground forces, as well as shooting down a few Vls. From the 2nd July the 362nd FG started to move to ALG A-12 (Liqneroles) in Normandy with Headcorn being used for operations until July 9th.
Eighteen pilots were killed while the group was at Headcorn, mainly lost to flak during ground attack missions.

The airfield was returned to its original owners in late 1944. There is a memorial to those who flew from the airfield at Bedlam Lane.

Alan Palmer was a boy during World War Two and his family's farm was partly taken over for the airfield. The following links are his recollections.
Headcorn Airfield. Part One: Construction in 1942
Headcorn Airfield. Part Two: Activity and Events 1943
Headcorn Airfield. Part Three: Activity and Events 1944 Onwards

362 FG, Lots of information on missions flown by the group

Photos. © IWM. Licensed under CC-BY-NC 3.0

Photo one.
Aerial photograph of Headcorn airfield looking north, P-47 Thunderbolts of the 362nd Fighter Group are parked near the runways, 11 May 1944. Photograph taken by 34th Photographic Squadron, 10th Photographic Reconnaissance Group, sortie number US/34GR/LOC14. English Heritage (USAAF Photography).
North at top. Bedlam Lane runs along the east side of the airfield, passing the ends of the two runways.

Photo two.
Captain Edwin O Fisher of the 362nd Fighter Group atop his P-47 Thunderbolt (serial number 43-26919) nicknamed "Shirley Jane lll. Written on slide casing: '362 FG, Lt Fisher, Oldhams, Haynes.'
Footage of Captain Fisher shooting down the three VIs shown on his aircraft can be seen @
29 June 1944.


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