RAF Woodchurch

Summary

Royal Air Force Woodchurch or more simply RAF Woodchurch is a former Royal Air Force Advanced Landing Ground located in Kent, England. The airfield is located approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) west of Ashford; about 50 miles (80 km) southeast of London.

RAF Woodchurch
USAAF Station AAF-419
Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Patch9thusaaf.png
Woodchurch, Kent in England
Woodchurch-13mar43.jpg
Woodchurch airfield nearing completion of construction, 13 March 1943. Both runways appear completed, however the technical and administrative areas are not yet ready for use.
RAF Woodchurch is located in Kent
RAF Woodchurch
RAF Woodchurch
Shown within Kent
Coordinates51°05′34″N 000°46′47″E / 51.09278°N 0.77972°E / 51.09278; 0.77972Coordinates: 51°05′34″N 000°46′47″E / 51.09278°N 0.77972°E / 51.09278; 0.77972
TypeAdvanced Landing Ground
CodeXO
Site information
OwnerAir Ministry
OperatorRoyal Air Force
United States Army Air Forces
Controlled byRAF Fighter Command
Ninth Air Force
Site history
Built1943 (1943)
Built byRAF Airfield Construction Service
In useJuly 1943 - September 1944 (1944)
Battles/warsEuropean theatre of World War II
Airfield information
Elevation46 metres (151 ft)[1] AMSL
Runways
Direction Length and surface
01/19  Sommerfeld Tracking
11/29  Sommerfeld Tracking
410th Fighter Squadron Republic P-47D-28-RA Thunderbolt42-28473

Opened in 1943, Woodchurch was a prototype for the type of temporary Advanced Landing Ground type airfield which would be built in France after D-Day, when the need for advanced landing fields would become urgent as the Allied forces moved east across France and Germany. It was used by the Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces. It was closed in September 1944.

Today the airfield is a mixture of agricultural fields with no recognizable remains.

HistoryEdit

The following units were here at some point:[2]

The USAAF Ninth Air Force required several temporary Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) along the channel coast prior to the June 1944 Normandy invasion to provide tactical air support for the ground forces landing in France.

USAAF useEdit

While under USAAF control, Woodchurch was known as USAAF Station AAF-419 for security reasons, and by which it was referred to instead of location. Its Station-ID was "WC".

373rd Fighter GroupEdit

In the first week of April 1944, the 373d Fighter Group arrived from Richmond Army Air Base, Virginia operating Republic P-47 Thunderbolts. Operational fighter squadrons and fuselage codes were:

The 373d Fighter Group was part of the 303d Fighter Wing, XIX Tactical Air Command.

Movement to France took place in late July and most of the personnel and aircraft had left for Tour-en-Bessin (ALG A-13) by the 31st.

Woodchurch did not miss out as a haven for disabled bombers. On 29 June, a 458th Bomb Group Liberator landed without its nosewheel down, causing irreparable damage to the aircraft and urgent work for the runway repair crew, and another ailing B-24 put down safely on 19 July.

Current useEdit

The area was fully returned to agriculture by the following year. Today, there is no physical evidence of the airfield, as the land has been redeveloped into either agricultural fields or meadows. The only way which the location of RAF Woodchurch can be determined is by comparing the road network on aerial photos of the airfield when it was active to the road network today. However, a privately owned airstrip does run parallel to the original main runway (01 - 19) and some evidence of the original dispersal standings can be seen from the air.

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. 94.
  2. ^ "Woodchurch". Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust. Retrieved 15 June 2020.

BibliographyEdit

  • Falconer, J (1998). RAF Fighter Airfields of World War 2. UK: Ian Allan 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
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers--1908 to present

External linksEdit

  • Aerial Photo of RAF Woodchurch from Multimap.Com