RAF Christchurch

Summary

Royal Air Force Christchurch or more simply RAF Christchurch is a former Royal Air Force Advanced Landing Ground and was located southeast of the A337/B3059 junction in Somerford, Christchurch, Dorset, England.

RAF Christchurch
USAAF Station AAF-416
Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svgPatch9thusaaf.png
Christchurch, Dorset in England
Christchurch-4mar44.jpg
Christchurch Airfield - 4 March 1944. Christchurch was unusual as it was constructed on an existing airfield. However the airfield used before the war for club and commercial flying was too small to accommodate wartime aircraft so the airfield was expanded by building further runway areas to the south of the existing.
RAF Christchurch is located in Dorset
RAF Christchurch
RAF Christchurch
Shown within Dorset
Coordinates50°44′23″N 001°44′22″W / 50.73972°N 1.73944°W / 50.73972; -1.73944Coordinates: 50°44′23″N 001°44′22″W / 50.73972°N 1.73944°W / 50.73972; -1.73944
CodeXC
Site information
OwnerAir Ministry
OperatorRoyal Air Force
United States Army Air Forces
Controlled byRAF Fighter Command 1941-44
RAF Transport Command 1945
Site history
Built1935 (1935)
In use1935-1967 (1967)
Battles/warsEuropean theatre of World War II
Airfield information
Elevation6 metres (20 ft)[1] AMSL
Runways
Direction Length and surface
00/00  Sommerfeld Tracking
00/00  Grass
00/00  Concrete
00/00  Unknown
00/00  Unknown
Republic P-47D-25-RE Thunderbolt 42-276552 of the 405th Fighter Group, 510th Fighter Squadron
Republic P-47D-27-RE Thunderbolt 42-227312 of the 405th Fighter Group, 510th Fighter Squadron

Christchurch Airfield was a civil airfield that started operation from 1926, enlarged for wartime operations in 1941, Christchurch was used during World War II by the Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces Ninth Air Force. It returned to civilian flying postwar before being taken over by what became British Aerospace to manufacture jet fighters and civilian airliner types. The airfield complex was finally closed down and demolished in 1966 when housing was built on the site.

HistoryEdit

USAAF useEdit

In 1943, the USAAF Ninth Air Force required several temporary advanced landing grounds along the southern English Channel coast prior to the Normandy invasion to provide tactical air support for the ground forces landing in France. Christchurch was provided to support this mission.

Christchurch was known as USAAF Station AAF-416 for security reasons by the USAAF during the war, and by which it was referred to instead of location. Its USAAF Station Code was "CH".

405th Fighter GroupEdit

Christchurch airfield saw the arrival of the USAAF 405th Fighter Group on 4 April 1944, the group arriving from Walterboro Army Airfield South Carolina. The 405th had the following operational squadrons:

The 405th was a group of Ninth Air Force's 84th Fighter Wing, IX Tactical Air Command. It flew the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. The 405th moved to its Advanced Landing Ground at Picauville, France (ALG A-8) on 22 June 1944, ending the USAAF's use of Christchurch.

Additional units:[2]

Current useEdit

The airfield complex was demolished in 1966 and there is housing and The Runway Industrial Park located on the site.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

CitationsEdit

  1. ^ Falconer 1998, p. 21.
  2. ^ "Christchurch (Somerford)". Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  3. ^ Lake 1999, p. 188.

BibliographyEdit

  • Falconer, J (1998). RAF Fighter Airfields of World War 2. UK: Ian Allen Publishing. ISBN 0-7110-2175-9.
  • Freeman, Roger A. (1994) UK Airfields of the Ninth: Then and Now 1994. After the Battle ISBN 0-900913-80-0
  • Freeman, Roger A. (1996) The Ninth Air Force in Colour: UK and the Continent-World War Two. After the Battle ISBN 1-85409-272-3
  • Lake, A (1999). Flying units of the RAF. Shrewsbury: Airlife. ISBN 1-84037-086-6.
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.

Further readingEdit

  • White, Allen (1987) Christchurch Airfield - 40 Years Of Flying

External linksEdit

  • [ArmyAirForces.com 404th Fighter Group https://web.archive.org/web/20070930013102/http://www.armyairforces.com/dbgroups.asp?Group=226]
  • Aerial Photo of RAF Christchurch from Multimap.Com
  • Photos of the 405FG at Christchurch.