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Author Topic: Newchurch ALG  (Read 4088 times)

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Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Newchurch ALG
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2016, 23:35:22 »
Newchurch Advanced Landing Ground.

Built to the north-west of Newchurch village on Romney Marsh. Like all other ALGs in the south-east it had two runways, one running roughly north-south (1,400 yards, 1,280 metres) the other roughly east-west (1,600 yards, 1,463 metres). The ground was selected and approved of in early summer 1942 and work began in mid December with a completion date of March 1943.

125 Airfield, consisting of Nos 19 and 132 Squadrons RAF, moved in in early July, both squadrons flying the Spitfire Mk Vb. Their duties consisted of flying escort to USAAF light and medium bombers over northern France. During August No. 19 Squadron was replaced by No. 602 RAuxAF, also equipped with Spitfire Mk Vbs. The same month also saw the arrival of No. 184 Squadron with Hurricane Mk lVs and, briefly, No. 175 Squadron. The Spitfire squadrons provided top cover for Operation Starkey on 9 September. Shortly afterwards the Spitfire Mk Vbs were replaced with Spitfire Mk lXs which were first used operationally in early October. The squadrons then moved to Detling with its better facilities for the winter.

Improvements were made over the winter of 1943/44 and the airfield re-opened in April. 150 Airfield (later becoming 150 Wing) 2nd Tactical Air Force then took up residence under the command of Wing Commander Roland Beamont. DSO. DFC. No. 3 Squadron was the first to arrive with No. 486 (RNZAF) joining a little later, both equipped with the Hawker Tempest Mk V. The third squadron, No. 56, had a mix of Spitfire Mk lXs and Hawker Typhoons until July when it too acquired the Tempest.
The squadrons began operations with shipping reconnaissance and worked up to attacking German transport and airfields in northern France. On D-Day they flew air cover over the beachheads or flew close escort for glider tugs. On D-Day+2 the squadrons claimed four Me Bf 109s shot down with two damaged at no loss to themselves.

On 18 June 150 Wing was transferred to Air Defence Great Britain to take on the V-1 menace. The wings first victory over the V-1 was claimed by Flight Sergeant Morris Rose of No. 3 Squadron on 16 June. Another ten were destroyed by the wing by the end of the day.
To deal with the nighttime V-1 attacks a detachment was sent to Newchurch from the Fighter Interception Unit to convert onto Tempests. Directed by radar control the fighters found the V-1s easy to spot due to their fiery exhaust, but getting the range was difficult until a special sight was developed.
By 23 September, when the wing was rested, a total of 638 V-1s had been downed.

With the tide of war moving on the airfield was decommissioned by the end of 1944 and returned to its owners in 1945.

Newchurch Village: Advanced Landing Ground. http://www.newchurchvillage.org/history/newchurch-ww2/advanced-landing-ground/
A good site with detailed map, personal accounts by pilot Lefty Whitman and schoolgirl Audrey Hammon plus links for the Hawker Tempest and the V1.

Photos: Imperial War Museums.
More at http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/search?query=Newchurch&items_per_page=50

IWM (CH 11473) Pilots and ground crews of No. 132 Squadron, RAF pose for the photographer with their Supermarine Spitfire Mark VBs, lined up at Newchurch, Kent.

IWM (HU 92120) Wing Commander R P Beamont, wing leader of No. 150 Wing, leaning against a Hawker Tempest Mark V of No. 3 Squadron RAF at Newchurch Advanced Landing Ground, Kent.

IWM (HU 92147) Hawker Tempests Mark Vs of No. 468 Squadron RNZAF parked in their dispersal area by Will's Farm. JN754 'SA-A' in the foreground is undergoing a radio test; JN801 'SA-L' is to the right.

IWM (CH 13428) Flight Sergeant Morris Rose of No. 3 Squadron points out the essential characteristics of the V-1 flying bomb to other Tempest pilots at Newchurch, 23 June 1944. The Scottish pilot downed his first 'doodlebug' on 16 June, and by the end of July had claimed a total of 11 destroyed.

IWM (CH 14091) Hawker Tempest Mark Vs of No. 3 Squadron RAF undergoing servicing at Newchurch, Kent, while other off-duty ground crew relax in the foreground. The view was taken from one of the tents which constituted the accommodation for RAF personnel, since no permanent buildings were constructed at this Advanced Landing Ground.
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Offline Riding With The Angels

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Newchurch ALG
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2009, 20:59:46 »
3 sqn Tempest being refueled July 1944 whilst 56 and 486 (New Zealand) sqns were on the other side of the airfield. 3sqn was credited with 146 V1's destroyed during July alone.

 

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