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Author Topic: Staplehurst ALG  (Read 7848 times)

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Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Staplehurst ALG
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2016, 23:45:10 »
Staplehurst temporary Advanced Landing Ground.
Surveyed in spring 1942, selected in July, Staplehurst was completed by late spring 1943.
The first aircraft to use the airfield were the Spitfires of Nos 401, 411, and 412 Squadrons RCAF who moved in 6 August 1943. Operations included bomber escort and fighter sweeps over France and the Low Countries, including, from 8 September Operation Starkey. Due to the fact that they were living under canvas the squadron moved to Biggin Hill in October.

Developed and improved during the winter of 1943-44, the station eventually had two Sommerfeld Track runways with BRC intersections, 70 Sommerfeld Track and BRC hardstandings, one Butler combat hanger and four blister hangers. The airfield was handed over to the USAAF to become USAAF Station AAF-413. NA P-51 Mustangs of the 363rd Fighter Group, Squadrons 380, 381 and 382, arrived in early April from Rivenhall. Airfield protection was provided by D Battery 491 Anti-Aircraft Artillery AW Battalion. To begin with the units escorted heavy bombers over Germany. In June the squadrons were put to attacking ground targets in northern France in preparation for D-Day. On D-Day they escorted troop carriers and gliders as well as strafing enemy positions.
On 1 July the squadrons moved to a landing strip in Normandy and the steel tracking was lifted for use on the continent.
The ALG was closed in September 1944 and released in January 1945.

Photo © IWM http://www.americanairmuseum.com/archive?search=Staplehurst&section=. Licensed under CC-BY-NC 3.0
Click link above for more photos.

IWM catalogue record. This contains information written on the back of the original print and some of it may be inaccurate.
Aerial photograph of Staplehurst airfield looking north west, 11 May 1944. Photograph taken by 7th Photographic Reconnaissance Group, sortie number US/34GR/LOC14. English Heritage (USAAF Photography).

North is top right. The E-W runway is 4,200 ft (1,280 m) the N-S runway 3,300 ft (1,006 m). HC.

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Staplehurst ALG
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2016, 00:40:21 »

  She remembers having Mustangs parked at the bottom of the garden and, going by her description, a Lysander (although it could have been some similar USAAF Liaison type), was also parked on the airfield. She also remembers a "spotty" bomber landing one day, I think this was probably an "assembly ship" and, again going by her description, was probably a Liberator.
 

The USAAF in the UK had twenty-five Westland Lysanders on strength. They were used for target towing and retained their RAF colours and markings with a US marking on the fuselage only. See http://www.clavework-graphics.co.uk/aircraft/westland_lysander/lysander_018.html

For USAAF assembly ships see http://www.vintagewings.ca/VintageNews/Stories/tabid/116/articleType/ArticleView/articleld/447/Polka-Dot-Warriors.aspx Scroll down and click on Polka Dot Warriors. I am particularly taken by the white painted B-17 with mid blue spots at the very end.

Photo USAAF. Public domain.
The first Lead Assembly Ship of the 458th Bombardment Group was a clapped out B-24D Liberator (USAAC Serial No. 42-40127) by the name of First Sergeant. Here we see First Sergeant on the apron at the group's base at RAF Horsham St Faith.

Offline conan

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Re: Staplehurst ALG
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2016, 19:46:56 »
Spitfire P9457 piloted by F/O E J Wilcox from 72 squadron Biggin Hill was shot down on Saturday August 30th 1910 hours and crashed at Staplehurst.The pilot unfortunately was killed.

http://www.bbm.org.uk/Wilcox.htm

http://www.battleofbritain1940.net/0031.html

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

Offline philip b

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Re: Staplehurst ALG
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2016, 18:40:49 »
My mother, aged about 8 at the time, lived with her family on the farm that they built the airfield on. Basically they built the airfield around the house and farm and she had to have a pass to get through the check point to get to and from  her home. As a child at that time it is fair to say that she had a good time as the Yanks kept her and supplied with sweets, fruit and other things that kids hadn't seen for years - she even used to queue up with the airmen for her dinner and her mother made cakes for them too.Perhaps not surprisingly, mother was very sorry to see the yanks go!
  She remembers having Mustangs parked at the bottom of the garden and, going by her description, a Lysander (although it could have been some similar USAAF Liaison type), was also parked on the airfield. She also remembers a "spotty" bomber landing one day, I think this was probably an "assembly ship" and, again going by her description, was probably a Liberator.
  Before all this happened, during the battle of Britain, she saw a Spitfire crash nearby, narrowly missing the house, and killing the pilot and on another occasion a pilot, whom she says was Polish, landed by parachute in the pond next to her house; he survived and was given some dry clothes to wear for his journey home after being picked up later
 
 

Offline conan

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Re: Staplehurst ALG
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2015, 08:26:08 »
There's a memorial at the Landing Ground now, with US and Canadian flags flying next to it.  Lt. Col. William (Bill) E Bullard, Jr. was with 363rd Fighter Group and flew the last USAF plane (a P-51) to leave Staplehurst, on 4 July 1944.  The fighter group moved to Cherbourg, in Normandy, to an aerodrome which had recently been captured from the Germans.  Lt. Col. Bullard who was 90 at the time attended the dedication of the memorial on 6 June 2010, together with his former CO, Col John Ulricson, then 95.  Lt. Col. Bullard died on 14 September 2015.

a few links to the memorial

http://www.frankpage-photoart.co.uk/photo_6267065.html

https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/node/64285

http://www.stoneshop.moonfruit.com/adv-landing-ground/4575624062

also on the day of the dedication this happened

http://forums.airshows.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=23521
To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero

Offline Tom Burnham

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Re: Staplehurst ALG
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2015, 23:34:26 »
There's a memorial at the Landing Ground now, with US and Canadian flags flying next to it.  Lt. Col. William (Bill) E Bullard, Jr. was with 363rd Fighter Group and flew the last USAF plane (a P-51) to leave Staplehurst, on 4 July 1944.  The fighter group moved to Cherbourg, in Normandy, to an aerodrome which had recently been captured from the Germans.  Lt. Col. Bullard who was 90 at the time attended the dedication of the memorial on 6 June 2010, together with his former CO, Col John Ulricson, then 95.  Lt. Col. Bullard died on 14 September 2015.

Offline Riding With The Angels

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Staplehurst ALG
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2009, 19:58:13 »
Big Mac Junior - P-51 Mustang of 382FS 363FG 9AF USAAF.


P-51B Mustang Little Chris II 382FS 4 July 1944.

 

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