.
Want Wikipedia to look like this?   
Click here to upgrade your Wikipedia experience
RAF Bassingbourn | QuickiWiki

RAF Bassingbourn

  EN

Overview

RAF Bassingbourn
USAAF Station 121
Bassingbourn Barracks
Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svgEighth Air Force - Emblem (World War II).pngUnited States Air Forces in Europe.pngFlag of the British Army.svg
Royston, Cambridgeshire
Bassingbourn 1955.jpg
1955 Aerial photograph of Royal Air Force Station Bassingbourn
RAF Bassingbourn is located in Cambridgeshire
RAF Bassingbourn
RAF Bassingbourn
Location in Cambridgeshire
Coordinates 52°05′48″N 000°03′11″W / 52.09667°N 0.05306°W / 52.09667; -0.05306Coordinates: 52°05′48″N 000°03′11″W / 52.09667°N 0.05306°W / 52.09667; -0.05306
Code BS
Site information
Owner Ministry of Defence
Operator Royal Air Force[1]
United States Army Air Forces
United States Air Force
Controlled by RAF Bomber Command (1938-1942; 1951-1969)
Eighth Air Force (1942-1945)
RAF Transport Command (1945-1949)
United States Air Forces in Europe (1950-1953)
British Army (1969-Present)
Site history
Built 1937 (1937)-38
In use 1938-2014 (2014)
Battles/wars

Second World War

  • Air Offensive, Europe
Cold War
Airfield information
Elevation 24 metres (79 ft) AMSL
Runways
Direction Length and surface
07/25 1,825 metres (5,988 ft) Asphalt
13/31 1,310 metres (4,298 ft) Asphalt
17/35 1,270 metres (4,167 ft) Asphalt


TimelineBETA

Thanks 1937
April: The project was begun in April 1937 under the direction of Sir Maurice Laing, with Reginald Silk as the site engineer and John Crowther the site surveyor.
Thanks 1938
March: RAF personnel first arrived at Bassingbourn from RAF Uxbridge in March 1938, followed by No. 108 Squadron from RAF Cranfield in April.
Thanks  
May 2: The first aircraft, a Hawker Hind, landed on the airfield on 2 May 1938, and the station became an Operational Training Unit (OTU) as well as a staging post for operational aircraft as part of 2 Group, RAF Bomber Command.
Thanks  
June: No 108 Squadron operated Hinds until the end of June 1938, when it converted to the Bristol Blenheim I.
Thanks 1940
April 5: The station was attacked on 5 April 1940 by an isolated German raider that dropped 10 bombs, causing damage to the direction finding equipment and WT (wireless transmitter) huts, and in August 1940 by a single bomb dropped on the barrack block situated immediately south of the parade ground, which killed 11 and injured 15.
Thanks  
April 8: No. 11 Operational Training Unit was formed at Bassingbourn as part of No. 6 Group from the Station HQ and No 215 Squadron.
Thanks 1941
November: Plans for locating United States Army Air Forces heavy bomber groups dated back to before America's entry into the war, when RAF Thurleigh was tentatively designated in November 1941.
Thanks  
December: From December 1941 to February 1942 the OTU operated from RAF Tempsford while runways were constructed at Bassingbourn.
Thanks 1942
March 24: Initial concepts anticipated that 75 heavy bomb groups would eventually be based in East Anglia and the Huntingdon area in five bombardment wings (later termed air divisions), but the first plan on 24 March 1942, called for 45 groups, with four to be moved to the UK by June. This did not come to pass (of the four groups, only one eventually came to the UK, in 1944) but 75 fields were allocated by the Air Ministry on 10 August 1942 for VIII Bomber Command.
Thanks  
May: At the end of May 1942 aircraft from Bassingbourn participated in the "Thousand Bomber" raid on Cologne.
Thanks  
August: The Class A airfield standard was promulgated by the Air Ministry in August 1942 and the runways at Bassingbourn were immediately extended.
Thanks  
August 19: From 19 August 1942 to 25 June 1945, Bassingbourn served as headquarters for the 1st Combat Bombardment Wing of the 1st Bomb Division. It was assigned USAAF designation Station 121.
Thanks  
October: Aircraft from here often contributed to major raids until the group moved in October 1942 to RAF Westcott.
Thanks  
October 10: A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress unit, it moved into RAF Kimbolton on 10 October 1942, but that station, in Huntingdonshire, had not yet been reconstructed to Class A standards and was immediately found to be unsuitable for operations.
Thanks  
October 13: The commanding officer of the 91st BG inspected Bassingbourn on 13 October 1942 and, not wanting to lose the opportunity, moved his entire unit there the next day before seeking permission.[citation needed]
Thanks  
November 7: The 91st began combat operations from Bassingbourn on 7 November 1942, as one of the four "pioneer" B-17 groups.[citation needed] The group operated primarily as a strategic bombardment organization throughout the war.
Thanks 1943
March 4: The 91st BG received a Distinguished Unit Citation for bombing marshalling yards at Hamm on 4 March 1943 in spite of adverse weather and heavy enemy opposition.
Thanks  
April 16: The first of these, the 101st Provisional Combat Bomb Wing, commanded by Brigadier General Frank A. Armstrong, Jr., set up its headquarters at Bassingbourn on 16 April 1943.
Thanks  
April 21: The Eighth Air Force in general and the 91st Bomb Group in particular were critically short of support personnel, and the airfield remained under RAF administration until 21 April 1943.
Thanks  
May: VIII Bomber Command quadrupled in size from May 1943 to August to implement the Pointblank Directive.[citation needed] As part of this expansion, RAF Bassingbourn temporarily hosted the flying echelon of the new 94th Bombardment Group from April to May 1943.
Thanks  
May 12: The 94th flew a few missions from Bassingbourn while under the tutorage of the 91st Bomb Group until moving to RAF Earls Colne on 12 May 1943.[citation needed]
Thanks  
June: The 91st BG was assigned to the 1st Combat Bombardment Wing, also at Bassingbourn.[citation needed] The group tail code (after June 1943) was a "Triangle A".
Thanks  
September 13: Gen. William M. Gross when the organisation was redesignated 1st Combat Bomb Wing on 13 September 1943.[citation needed]
Thanks 1944
January 11: Organisations of Eighth AF went into central Germany to attack vital aircraft factories.
Thanks  
July 25: Expanding its operations to include interdictory and support missions, the group contributed to the Battle of Normandy by bombing gun emplacements and troop concentrations near the beachhead area in June 1944 and aided the Saint-Lô breakout by attacking enemy troop positions on 24 and 25 July 1944.
Thanks  
August: The 91st flew tactical bombing missions on the front line near Caen in August 1944 and attacked communications near the battle area during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 and January 1945.
Thanks 1945
April 25: The 91st Bomb Group continued combat operations until 25 April 1945, flying 340 missions.
Thanks  
June 26: The RAF resumed occupation of Bassingbourn on 26 June 1945, the airfield was officially returned on 10 July 1945.
Thanks  
July: During June and July 1945, the 91st BG withdrew from Bassingbourn and returned to the United States, being assigned on paper to Drew Field, Florida, while its personnel were being discharged. Its B-17s were flown to storage in Texas and Arizona.
Thanks  
November 7: The group was inactivated.
Thanks 1948
With the Soviet blockade of Berlin in 1948 and the subsequent Berlin Airlift, these aircraft began regular deployments to the United Kingdom. These deployments were designed to send a message to the Soviet Union that despite the Berlin Airlift and Korean War, the United States was prepared to respond with atomic weapons to any Soviet aggression in Western Europe.
Thanks 1950
August: The United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) 7516th Air Support Squadron, 3909th Air Base Group stationed at RAF South Ruislip provided logistical support for these squadrons while in the UK. These deployments were of a brief nature, beginning in August 1950 and ending in May 1951.
Thanks 1952
February: RAF Bassingbourn received its first allocation of English Electric Canberra bombers and became the first jet bomber operational conversion unit (OCU) in the world.
Thanks 1969
August 29: The last RAF Commanding Officer, Sqn Ldr A.M. McGregor MBE, turned over the station to the British Army as Bassingbourn Barracks.
Thanks 1970
January: The barracks were established, on the site of the former RAF Bassingbourn airfield, in January 1970, as the new Depot for the Queen's Division.
Thanks 1974
Opened in 1974, the Tower Museum, Bassingbourn is located in the original pre-war air traffic control (ATC) tower (watch office) of RAF Bassingbourn.
Thanks 1993
The depot was responsible for training recruits undergoing their 19-week basic training before joining a regular battalion; in 1993 the Barracks were re-designated the home of the "Army Training Regiment, Bassingbourn" and remained as such for nearly 20 years.
Thanks 2012
August: Bassingbourn Barracks closed as an army training location in August 2012.
Thanks 2014
The site was reopened for training Libyan soldiers in 2014 but closed down the same year.

Videos

Origin and development

Construction

RAF Bassingbourn was constructed by John Laing & Son Ltd. between 1937 and 1939 in the parishes of Wendy and Bassingbourn immediately to the west of the A14 (now the A1198) road. The site selected was low ground between several tributaries of the River Cam. The area had been long cleared of forest and tended to be swampy and unstable, and because the boggy ground produced a persistent mist over the large meadow the site was considered ideal for airfield camouflage.

The project was begun in April 1937 under the direction of Sir Maurice Laing, with Reginald Silk as the site engineer and John Crowther the site surveyor. Four C Type hangars (300 ft (91 m) long by 152 ft (46 m) wide by 29 ft (8.8 m) high, with eleven roof gables and hipped ends) were erected by a sub-contractor in a semi-circle at the south edge of the airfield site approximately one mile north of the hamlet of Kneesworth. Laing then began work pouring concrete foundations for the technical site buildings, communal sites and barracks; the nature of the ground necessitated the rebuilding of several foundations that had sunk into the ground. Roadway cores were built of unusual thickness to prevent crumbling of the pavement.

The technical site was built with permanent, kerbed streets and landscaped. Originally treeless, Bassingbourn was made one of the most attractive RAF stations by the planting of hundreds of plum trees as part of the project.

The runways were originally grass. The Bristol Blenheim light bombers that first used the field were able to operate under the existing conditions, although landings often produced pronounced water splashes, but the weight of heavier bombers tore ruts in the grass surface and limited take-off speeds.

The runways

W & C French Ltd. constructed three concrete runways surfaced with asphalt during the winter of 1941–1942: a 1,097 m (3,599 ft) runway aligned southwest to northeast, one of853 m (2,799 ft) crossing it north–south, and a 3,300 ft (1,006 m) 1,006 m (3,301 ft) runway connecting the northeast ends of the first two. The Class A airfield standard was promulgated by the Air Ministry in August 1942 and the runways at Bassingbourn were immediately extended. The main runway was lengthened to 1,825 m (5,988 ft) by extending it west, with the use of extensive tile drainage, across a moat off the Mill River. The north–south runway was extended 400 m (1,300 ft) south, and the third runway lengthened 305 m (1,001 ft) to the northwest. Additional perimeter track was added around the bomb store site, which was doubled in area, to reach the west end of the main runway. Ultimately seven miles of taxiway were paved.

Four dispersal areas were also built. Dispersal A was placed in a large field between the technical site and the hamlet of Bassingbourn-North End. Dispersal B was located north and west of the bomb store. Dispersal C was next to the A14 north of the runways and Dispersal D was built in the grand avenue of Wimpole Park, the tree-lined entrance to Wimpole Hall across the A14 from the station. Bombers using this dispersal had to cross the road to marshal for take-off. Ultimately 35 "pan" hardstands and 16 loop hardstands were constructed, able to accommodate 67 bombers.

Bassingbourn made extensive use of camouflage to disguise the location of its runways. Prior to the building of the concrete runways, the strips were painted to blend them into the surrounding pattern of fields, lanes and drainage areas. After conversion to Class A standards, which required extensive clearing and grading of the airfield area, the areas between the runways were camouflaged to resemble agricultural crops.

Royal Air Force use

Bassingbourn RAF Station Crest

RAF personnel first arrived at Bassingbourn from RAF Uxbridge in March 1938, followed by No. 108 Squadron from RAF Cranfield in April. The first aircraft, a Hawker Hind, landed on the airfield on 2 May 1938, and the station became an Operational Training Unit (OTU) as well as a staging post for operational aircraft as part of 2 Group, RAF Bomber Command. The first Station Commander was Wing Commander F. Wright, a local man from Royston. No 108 Squadron operated Hinds until the end of June 1938, when it converted to the Bristol Blenheim I.

Bassingbourn retained its OTU role following the outbreak of the Second World War, although No. 108 Squadron was transferred to RAF Bicester and replaced by 215 Squadron.[2] On 8 April 1940, No. 11 Operational Training Unit was formed at Bassingbourn as part of No. 6 Group from the Station HQ and No 215 Squadron. Equipped with Vickers Wellingtons, its role was to train night bomber crews. From December 1941 to February 1942 the OTU operated from RAF Tempsford while runways were constructed at Bassingbourn.

The station was attacked on 5 April 1940 by an isolated German raider that dropped 10 bombs, causing damage to the direction finding equipment and WT (wireless transmitter) huts, and in August 1940 by a single bomb dropped on the barrack block situated immediately south of the parade ground, which killed 11 and injured 15.

At the end of May 1942 aircraft from Bassingbourn participated in the "Thousand Bomber" raid on Cologne. In order to raise this number, Bomber Command employed every aircraft capable of taking to the air, including 20 Wellington bombers from No. 11 OTU. Subsequently aircraft from here often contributed to major raids until the group moved in October 1942 to RAF Westcott.

United States Army Air Forces use

Personnel of the 91st Bomb Group on the parade ground at Bassingbourn - RAF Bassingbourn
Personnel of the 91st Bomb Group on the parade ground at Bassingbourn
Personnel of the 91st Bomb Group at a Parade at Bassingbourn to celebrate their second year in the European Theatre of Operations, 17 September 1944. - RAF Bassingbourn
Personnel of the 91st Bomb Group at a Parade at Bassingbourn to celebrate their second year in the European Theatre of Operations, 17 September 1944.

Plans for locating United States Army Air Forces heavy bomber groups dated back to before America's entry into the war, when RAF Thurleigh was tentatively designated in November 1941. Initial concepts anticipated that 75 heavy bomb groups would eventually be based in East Anglia and the Huntingdon area in five bombardment wings (later termed air divisions), but the first plan on 24 March 1942, called for 45 groups, with four to be moved to the UK by June. This did not come to pass (of the four groups, only one eventually came to the UK, in 1944) but 75 fields were allocated by the Air Ministry on 10 August 1942 for VIII Bomber Command.

From 19 August 1942 to 25 June 1945, Bassingbourn served as headquarters for the 1st Combat Bombardment Wing of the 1st Bomb Division. It was assigned USAAF designation Station 121.

USAAF Station Units assigned to RAF Bassingbourn were:[3]

  • 441st Sub-Depot (VIII Air Force Service Command)[4]
  • 18th Weather Squadron
  • 1st Station Complement Squadron

Regular Army Station Units included:

  • 831st Engineer Aviation Battalion
  • 204th Quartermaster Company
  • 1696th Ordnance Supply & Maintenance Company
  • 863rd Chemical Company (Air Operations)
  • 982nd Military Police Company
  • 985th Military Police Company
  • 2024th Engineer Fire Fighting Platoon
  • 206th Finance Section
  • 3rd Mobile Training Unit
  • 556th Army Postal Unit

91st Bombardment Group (Heavy)

The 91st Bomb Group was the seventh of an eventual 42 heavy groups to deploy to England. A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress unit, it moved into RAF Kimbolton on 10 October 1942, but that station, in Huntingdonshire, had not yet been reconstructed to Class A standards and was immediately found to be unsuitable for operations. Bassingbourn had recently been vacated by the RAF and made available to the Eighth Air Force. The commanding officer of the 91st BG inspected Bassingbourn on 13 October 1942 and, not wanting to lose the opportunity, moved his entire unit there the next day before seeking permission.[citation needed]

The 91st BG was assigned to the 1st Combat Bombardment Wing, also at Bassingbourn.[citation needed] The group tail code (after June 1943) was a "Triangle A". Its operational squadrons and fuselage codes were:[5]

B-17F-60-BO Flying Fortress AAF Ser. No. 42-29536 Mary Ruth, Memories of Mobile, 401st Bomb Squadron, shot down by fighters over Hüls, Germany, 22 June 1943, with two killed and eight captured - RAF Bassingbourn
B-17F-60-BO Flying Fortress AAF Ser. No. 42-29536 Mary Ruth, Memories of Mobile, 401st Bomb Squadron, shot down by fighters over Hüls, Germany, 22 June 1943, with two killed and eight captured
B-17G AAF Ser. No. 44-83575 restored to military configuration and flying as AAF Ser. No. 42-31909. A B-17G-30-BO Flying Fortress named Nine-O-Nine of the 323rd Bomb Squadron, one of two long-serving B-17s of the 91st BG. The original &quotNine-O-Nine" was scrapped after the Second World War in Kingman, Arizona. B-17G 44-83575 was built too late for the war and was for a time used as a civilian fire bomber. - RAF Bassingbourn
B-17G AAF Ser. No. 44-83575 restored to military configuration and flying as AAF Ser. No. 42-31909. A B-17G-30-BO Flying Fortress named Nine-O-Nine of the 323rd Bomb Squadron, one of two long-serving B-17s of the 91st BG. The original "Nine-O-Nine" was scrapped after the Second World War in Kingman, Arizona. B-17G 44-83575 was built too late for the war and was for a time used as a civilian fire bomber.

The Eighth Air Force in general and the 91st Bomb Group in particular were critically short of support personnel, and the airfield remained under RAF administration until 21 April 1943. The final commanding officer of RAF Bassingbourn before its transfer was Squadron Leader J. S. Ellard.[citation needed]

The 91st began combat operations from Bassingbourn on 7 November 1942, as one of the four "pioneer" B-17 groups.[citation needed] The group operated primarily as a strategic bombardment organization throughout the war.[6]

The first eight months of operations concentrated against the German submarine campaign, attacking U-boat pens in French ports or construction yards in Germany in 28 of the first 48 missions flown. Secondary targets were Luftwaffe airfields, industrial targets, and marshalling yards.[7]

The 91st BG received a Distinguished Unit Citation for bombing marshalling yards at Hamm on 4 March 1943 in spite of adverse weather and heavy enemy opposition. From the middle of 1943 until the war ended, the Group engaged chiefly in attacks on aircraft factories, aerodromes, and oil facilities. Specific targets included airfields at Villacoublay and Oldenburg, aircraft factories in Oranienburg and Brussels, chemical industries in Leverkusen and Peenemünde, ball-bearing plants in Schweinfurt and other industries in Ludwigshafen, Berlin, Frankfurt, and Wilhelmshaven.[7]

On 11 January 1944 organisations of Eighth AF went into central Germany to attack vital aircraft factories. The 91st BG successfully bombed its targets in spite of bad weather, inadequate fighter cover and severe enemy attack, being awarded a second Distinguished Unit Citation for the performance.[7]

Expanding its operations to include interdictory and support missions, the group contributed to the Battle of Normandy by bombing gun emplacements and troop concentrations near the beachhead area in June 1944 and aided the Saint-Lô breakout by attacking enemy troop positions on 24 and 25 July 1944. The 91st flew tactical bombing missions on the front line near Caen in August 1944 and attacked communications near the battle area during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 and January 1945. In support of Operation Varsity, the group assisted the push across the Rhine by striking airfields, bridges and railways near the front line in the spring of 1945.[7]

The 91st Bomb Group continued combat operations until 25 April 1945, flying 340 missions. 197 B-17s failed to return to Bassingbourn, the highest heavy bomber loss in the USAAF.[citation needed]

After V-E Day the group helped to evacuate prisoners of war (POW) from German camps.[7] During June and July 1945, the 91st BG withdrew from Bassingbourn and returned to the United States, being assigned on paper to Drew Field, Florida, while its personnel were being discharged. Its B-17s were flown to storage in Texas and Arizona.[8] On 7 November 1945 the group was inactivated.[7]

94th Bombardment Group (Heavy)

B-17s of the 410th Bomb Squadron on a mission over occupied Europe - RAF Bassingbourn
B-17s of the 410th Bomb Squadron on a mission over occupied Europe

VIII Bomber Command quadrupled in size from May 1943 to August to implement the Pointblank Directive.[citation needed] As part of this expansion, RAF Bassingbourn temporarily hosted the flying echelon of the new 94th Bombardment Group from April to May 1943.[9] The 94th flew a few missions from Bassingbourn while under the tutorage of the 91st Bomb Group until moving to RAF Earls Colne on 12 May 1943.[citation needed]

At the same time, VIII Bomber Command proceeded with its plan to organise the groups into "combat wings" which in turn were organised into "bombardment wings" (later "divisions"). The first of these, the 101st Provisional Combat Bomb Wing, commanded by Brigadier General Frank A. Armstrong, Jr., set up its headquarters at Bassingbourn on 16 April 1943. In August Brig. Gen. Robert B. Williams succeeded to command of the 101st PCBW, followed by Brig. Gen. William M. Gross when the organisation was redesignated 1st Combat Bomb Wing on 13 September 1943.[citation needed]

Hollywood at Bassingbourn

During 1943 RAF Bassingbourn was the focus of a number of media events. The station and its locality were featured in the documentary film Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress. One of the Memphis Belle's propellers stands to greet you at the gatehouse on entering the Army Training Regiment. The airfield and group were also the subject of a series of newspaper articles written by John Steinbeck during the spring and summer of 1943. Captain Clark Gable had temporary duty at Bassingbourn while producing a gunnery film for the USAAF. It also served as the location for the fictional "28th Bomb Group" in the 1950 Humphrey Bogart film Chain Lightning. Away from Hollywood, but still in the movies, RAF Bassingbourn was also the setting for the Airfield based shots in the 1955 film, The Dambusters, featuring Richard Todd and Michael Redgrave.

Postwar Use

RAF Transport Command

The RAF resumed occupation of Bassingbourn on 26 June 1945, the airfield was officially returned on 10 July 1945. The station became one of the main airfields for long-range transport aircraft. In 1948 and 1949 Avro York, Avro Lancaster and Douglas Dakota aircraft from the base took part in the Berlin Airlift, a massive operation transporting essential commodities to the beleaguered city.

United States Air Forces in Europe

Martin-Omaha B-29 Superfortress 44-86257, assigned to the 341st Bombardment Squadron, 97th Bombardment Group. Shown deployed to Bassingborn during 1950 - RAF Bassingbourn
Martin-Omaha B-29 Superfortress 44-86257, assigned to the 341st Bombardment Squadron, 97th Bombardment Group. Shown deployed to Bassingborn during 1950

During the late 1940s, the United States Air Force began rotating deployments of Strategic Air Command (SAC) Boeing B-29 and Boeing B-50 Superfortresses squadrons to the United Kingdom as "Show of Force" deployments.[10]

With the Soviet blockade of Berlin in 1948 and the subsequent Berlin Airlift, these aircraft began regular deployments to the United Kingdom.[10] These deployments were designed to send a message to the Soviet Union that despite the Berlin Airlift and Korean War, the United States was prepared to respond with atomic weapons to any Soviet aggression in Western Europe. Besides Bassingborn, SAC deployed squadrons of bombers to RAF Lakenheath and RAF Marham in Norfolk.[1][11]

Jurisdiction of Bassingbourn remained with the Royal Air Force. The United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) 7516th Air Support Squadron, 3909th Air Base Group stationed at RAF South Ruislip provided logistical support for these squadrons while in the UK. These deployments were of a brief nature, beginning in August 1950 and ending in May 1951. It is unknown if any United States atomic weapons were ever deployed to the United Kingdom.[11]

RAF Bomber Command

In February 1952, RAF Bassingbourn received its first allocation of English Electric Canberra bombers and became the first jet bomber operational conversion unit (OCU) in the world. Canberras operated from Bassingbourn for 17 years and one of the aircraft is on static display in the Barracks. From 1963 to 1969 the Joint School of Photographic Interpretation was also located there.

On 29 August 1969, the last RAF Commanding Officer, Sqn Ldr A.M. McGregor MBE, turned over the station to the British Army as Bassingbourn Barracks.[12]

British Army use

Main article: Bassingbourn Barracks
A passing-out parade at Bassingbourn Barracks - RAF Bassingbourn
A passing-out parade at Bassingbourn Barracks

The barracks were established, on the site of the former RAF Bassingbourn airfield, in January 1970, as the new Depot for the Queen's Division.[13] The depot was responsible for training recruits undergoing their 19-week basic training before joining a regular battalion; in 1993 the Barracks were re-designated the home of the "Army Training Regiment, Bassingbourn" and remained as such for nearly 20 years.[14] Bassingbourn Barracks closed as an army training location in August 2012.[15]

The site was reopened for training Libyan soldiers in 2014 but closed down the same year.

Since approximately 1970 the site has retained its RAF links by being the home of 2484 (Bassingbourn) Squadron Air Training Corps.

Tower Museum, Bassingbourn

Opened in 1974, the Tower Museum, Bassingbourn is located in the original pre-war air traffic control (ATC) tower (watch office) of RAF Bassingbourn. The museum is focused on the history of the airfield during the Second World War, and the men and women of the RAF and USAAF who trained and worked there during that war. Exhibits include photographs, documents and military artifacts about the RAF, USAAF, Queen's Division, and the 91st Bombardment Group. The museum is open on the second and fourth Sunday of the month, plus Bank Holidays, between March and October.

Major Units Assigned

Royal Air Force[16]
  • 104 Squadron (2 May 1938 - 17 Sep 1939)
  • 108 Squadron (2 May 1938 - 18 Sep 1939)
  • 215 Squadron (24 Sep 1939 - 8 Apr 1940, 18–22 May 1940)
  • 35 Squadron (7 Dec 1939 - 1 Feb 1940)
  • 732 Squadron (19 Dec 1941 - 1 Feb 1942)
  • 422 Squadron (25 Jul - 4 Sep 1945)
  • 423 Squadron (8 Aug - 4 Sep 1945)
  • 466 Squadron (6 Sep - 26 Oct 1945)
  • 102 Squadron (8 Sep 1945 - 15 Feb 1946)
  • 24 Squadron (25 Feb 1946 - 8 Jun 1949)
  • 40 Squadron (25 Jun 1949 - 15 Mar 1950)
  • 51 Squadron (25 Jun 1949 - 30 Oct 1950)
  • 59 Squadron (25 Jun 1949 - 30 Oct 1950)
  • No 237 Operational Conversion Unit (3 Oct - 1 Dec 1951)
  • No 231 Operational Conversion Unit (1 Dec 1951 - 19 May 1969)
  • No 204 Advanced Flying School (13 - 20 Feb 1952)
United States Army Air Forces[16]
  • 91st Bombardment Group (14 Oct 1942 - 23 Jun 1945)
  • 94th Bombardment Group (Apr - 27 May 1943)
United States Air Force[16]

See also

References

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

Citations

  1. ^ a b "RAF Bassingbourn". Control Towers. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  2. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 00.
  3. ^ "Bassingbourn". American Air Museum in Britain. Retrieved 1 Mar 2015. 
  4. ^ "441st Sub-Depot". American Air Museum in Britain. Retrieved 2 Mar 2015. 
  5. ^ "91st Bombardment Group (Heavy)". Mighty 8th Cross Reference. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Maurer 1980, p. 156.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Maurer 1980, p. 157.
  8. ^ Maurer 1980, p. 158.
  9. ^ "94th Bombardment Group (Heavy)". Mighty 8th Cross Reference. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  10. ^ a b pp 2-6, USAF Europe In Color, by Robert Robinson (1990) ISBN 0-89747-250-0.
  11. ^ a b AFHRA Document 00439116, 3909th Air Base Group
  12. ^ "Gibraltar Barracks". Suffolk Regiment Museum. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  13. ^ "Gibraltar Barracks". Suffolk Regiment Museum. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  14. ^ "Bassingbourn Army Training Regiment's last ceremony". 17 August 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  15. ^ "Final passing out parade at Bassingbourn Barracks". Ministry of Defence. 12 August 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  16. ^ a b c Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

Bibliography

RAF Squadrons: A Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of All RAF Squadrons and Their Antecedents Since 1912
C.G. Jefford (1988)
Air Force Combat Units of World War II
(1961)
Like all chronologies, bibliographies, and encyclopedias, Air Force combat units of World War II serves a very special historical function. It traces the lineage of each Army air Corps and U.S. Air Force combat group or higher organization active in World War II, form its origins to 1956. It is a concise official record of those units, their assignments, subordinate organizations, stations, commanders, campaigns, aircraft, and decorations. But more than that, it is an important source of ready information providing readers with a corporate memory of vital statistics.
Mighty Eighth War Manual
Roger Anthony Freeman (1991)
The Mighty Eighth was the largest striking force ever committed to battle, and putting it in the air remains one of the greatest military achievements of the Second World War. Over 1,700 aircraft, involving 15,000 men and a vastly sophisticated supply chain, engaged in a ceaseless war of high-altitude daylight precision bombing. More than 300 photographs, maps, and line drawings--along with details of the procedures and improvisations that went into play--tell the history of this incredible success. A leading authority on WWII aircraft and their pilots (the author of six books on this division alone) discloses the operational techniques of bombers and fighters; the background behind weather and photographic reconnaissance; the secrets of special operations; as well as experimentation, training, logistics, and more. All the installations, armament, and equipment are here, too, from the airfields and depots to the gunsights and communication sets to the flight clothing and oxygen tanks. A splendid tribute to the men who helped safeguard liberty.
United States Military Aircraft Designations and Serials Since 1909
John M. Andrade (1998)
Fortresses of the Big Triangle First - a History of the Aircraft Assigned to the First Wing and First Bombardment Division of the Eighth Air Force from August 1942 to 31st March 1944
Cliff T. Bishop (1986)
Fortresses of the Big Triangle First - a History of the Aircraft Assigned to the First Wing and First Bombardment Division of the Eighth Air Force from August 1942 to 31st March 1944
The Mighty Eighth War Diary
Roger Anthony Freeman:::Alan Crouchman:::Vic Maslen (1990)
The US 8th Air Force - it did not become known as the "Mighty Eighth" until these books were published and the name stuck - was based in England in the second half of World War II, from where it flew fighter and bomber missions over Europe. In addition to a veteran support back home, the Eighth and its aircraft have been avidly studied in the postwar years. This work chronicles each action which the units flew, the aircraft which took part and the results. Information has been updated for this edition. This volume is the second part of the re-issued "Mighty Eighth" trilogy.
Air Force Combat Wings: Lineage and Honors Histories, 1947-1977 (Reference series)
(1984)
This book was digitized and reprinted from the collections of the University of California Libraries. Together, the more than one hundred UC Libraries comprise the largest university research library in the world, with over thirty-five million volumes in their holdings. This book and hundreds of thousands of others can be found online in the HathiTrust Digital Library. HP's patented BookPrep technology was used to clean artifacts resulting from use and digitization, improving your reading experience. Despite the cleaning process, occasional flaws may still be present that are part of the original book, reflecting the journey of these collections over a lifetime of use.
United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978
Brian Rogers (2006)
The aim of this book is to assist aviation historians, photographers, and those generally interested in U.S. air power to correctly identify the units to which USAF aircraft have been assigned. Since 1978, the Air Force has been substantially reduced in size and has undergone dramatic reorganizations at every level. These changes in size and organization have been reflected in the Air Force s aircraft and units. Many aircraft have been retired, units have been mothballed, and bases closed. On the other hand, the aircraft remaining in service provide a very visible reflection of Air Force restructuring. Many aircraft now wear the insignia of newly-formed major commands. Others carry revised tail markings and paint schemes reflecting the assignment of their units to new commands. Still other aircraft, though remaining at the same base and operated by the same crews, carry new markings as the flags of illustrious units displaced by base closures or replaced those of existing units. This book is divided into three major sections. The first has 14 chapters containing tables covering every USAF wing, group, squadron, and detachment that were active and had assigned aircraft at any time between April 30, 1978 and October 1, 2002. These listings enable the reader to follow the organizational changes each Air Force flying unit underwent during the period. Next comes a comprehensive index of aircraft markings.
  • Freeman, R. Airfields of the Eighth - Then and Now. After the Battle. London, UK: Battle of Britain International Ltd., 2001. ISBN 0-9009-13-09-6.
  • Jefford MBE, Wg Cdr C G (1988). RAF Squadrons. A comprehensive record of the movement and equipment of all RAF squadrons and their antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury: Airlife. ISBN 1-85310-053-6. 
  • Maurer, M. Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. USAF Historical Division. Washington D.C., USA: Zenger Publishing Co., Inc, 1980. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Hamlin John F. and Simons, Graham M. Bassingbourn (Airfield Focus No 2). Bretton, Peterborough, UK: GMS Enterprises, 1992. ISBN 1-870384-13-X.
  • Havelaar, Marion H., and Hess, William N., The Ragged Irregulars of Bassingbourn: The 91st Bombardment Group in World War II. ISBN 0-88740-810-9.
  • Freeman, Roger A. The Mighty Eighth War Manual. 1991 ISBN 0-87938-513-8.
  • Andrade, John M. U.S. Military Aircraft designations and Serials since 1909. Earl Shilton, Leicester, UK: Midland Counties Publications, 1979. ISBN 0-904597-22-9.
  • Bishop, Cliff T. Fortresses of the Big Triangle First. 1986. ISBN 1-869987-00-4.
  • Freeman, Roger A. The Mighty Eighth. 1970. ISBN 0-87938-638-X.
  • Freeman, Roger A. The Mighty Eighth War Diary. 1990. ISBN 0-87938-495-6.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947-1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
  • Rogers, Brian (2005). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.
This page is based on data from Wikipedia (read/edit), Freebase, Amazon and YouTube under respective licenses.
Text is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.