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RAF Chipping Ongar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

RAF Chipping Ongar
RAF Willingale
USAAF Station AAF-162
Willingale Airfield

Chippingongar-21june1947.png
Chipping Ongar Airfield - 21 June 1947 in a reserve status.
Summary
Airport typeMilitary
OwnerAir Ministry
OperatorRoyal Air Force
United States Army Air Forces
LocationChipping Ongar, Essex, England
Built1942 (1942)
In use1942-1959 (1959)
Elevation AMSL253 ft / 77 m
Coordinates51°43′30″N 000°17′19″E / 51.72500°N 0.28861°E / 51.72500; 0.28861
Map
RAF Chipping Ongar is located in Essex
RAF Chipping Ongar
RAF Chipping Ongar
Location in Essex
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
02/20 6,00 0 Asphalt
04/22 4,200 0 Asphalt
10/28 4,200 0 Asphalt

Royal Air Force Chipping Ongar or more simply RAF Chipping Ongar is a former Royal Air Force station located 2 miles (3.2 km) northeast of Chipping Ongar; about 20 miles (32 km) northeast of London.

Opened in 1943, it was used by both the Royal Air Force (RAF) and United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). During the war it was used primarily as a bomber airfield. After the war it was closed in 1959 after many years of being a reserve airfield.

Today the remains of the airfield are located on private property being used as agricultural fields.

History

United States Army Air Forces use

The airfield was opened in the early spring of 1943 and was used by the United States Army Air Forces Eighth and Ninth Air Forces.

Chipping Ongar was known as USAAF Station AAF-162 for security reasons by the USAAF during the war, and by which it was referred to instead of location. It's USAAF Station Code was "JC".

USAAF Station Units assigned to RAF Chipping Ongar were:[1]

  • 53d Service Group[2]
53d and 87th Service Squadrons; HHS, 53d Service Group
  • 21st Weather Squadron
  • 40th Mobile Communications Squadron
  • 46th Station Complement Squadron
  • 1052nd Signal Company
  • 1176th Quartermaster Company
  • 1288th Military Police Company
  • 1812th Ordnance Supply & Maintenance Company
  • 2198th Quartermaster Truck Company
  • 873rd Chemical Company
  • 2047th Engineer Fire Fighting Platoon
  • 580th Army Postal Unit
  • 196th Medical Dispensary

387th Bombardment Group (Medium)

387th Bomb Group B-26 Marauders parked at RAF Chipping Ongar England, 1944
387th Bomb Group B-26 Marauders parked at RAF Chipping Ongar England, 1944
Colonel George Snyder of the 387th Bomb Group and his crew, with their B-26 Marauder nicknamed "Wuneach". Handwritten caption on reverse: 'George Snyder (Ext Left) & crew. From Col RW Keller.'
Colonel George Snyder of the 387th Bomb Group and his crew, with their B-26 Marauder nicknamed "Wuneach". Handwritten caption on reverse: 'George Snyder (Ext Left) & crew. From Col RW Keller.'

Parts of the airfield were still under construction when the 387th Bombardment Group (Medium) arrived from Goodman AAF, Kentucky on 25 June 1943. The group was assigned to the 3d Bomb Wing and flew B-26B/C Marauders. Operational squadrons of the 387th were:

The 387th Bomb Group began combat on 15 August 1943 by joining with three other B-26 groups attacking coastal defences on the French Coast near Boulogne, and was mounted in thick fog. In common with other Marauder units of the 3d Bomb Wing, the 387th was transferred to Ninth Air Force on 16 October 1943.

The 387th Bomb Group moved to RAF Stoney Cross in Hampshire on 21 July 1944 when Ninth Air Force moved the 98th Bomb Wing's four Marauder groups into the New Forest area at the earliest opportunity to place them closer to the French Normandy Invasion beaches.

During September 1944, the airfield was used temporarily by IX Troop Carrier Command as advanced C-47 base during Operation Market-Garden.

61st Troop Carrier Group

Troop carrier squadrons of the 61st Troop Carrier Group used the airfield on 24 March 1945, carrying British paratroops as part of Operation Varsity, the airborne crossing of the Rhine River, who dropped near Wesel.

The Americans handed the airfield over to the RAF in April 1945, and it was in the hands of the British Army and RAF Technical Training Command until the end of the war.[3]

Post war

In 1946 use was made of the airfield, now named Willingale, by the Straight Corporation. They established a branch of the Home Counties Flying Club here, and Straight Aviation Training Ltd operated a fleet of Avro Anson navigation trainers here from 1946 to 1948.[4] A few private aircraft were also based here,[5] but the airfield was closed on 28 February 1959. Most of Chipping Ongar airfield reverted to agricultural use.

One of the large T-2 Hangars was dismantled and re-erected at North Weald airfield. It is believed to be the one nearest the M11 motorway, and now used as a freight forwarding warehouse.

A section of the perimeter track and some loop dispersal hardstands are still intact, connected to a small private landing strip converted from a straight section of the wartime perimeter, aligned 04/22, and one small section of a secondary full-width runway (09/27) on the southeast side . On the northeastern side, the Operations block, Norden Bombsight Store, and the base of the pilots' briefing room are grouped together, and are in quite good condition 51°43′53″N 000°18′09″E / 51.73139°N 0.30250°E / 51.73139; 0.30250. As of 2020 Fyfield Flying Club operates from a small part of the old airfield.[6]

See also

References

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

Citations

  1. ^ "Chipping Ongar". American Air Museum in Britain. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  2. ^ "53d Service Group". American Air Museum in Britain. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  3. ^ Bowyer, Michael J. F. (1990). Action Stations 1. Military airfields of East Anglia (2nd ed.). Wellingborough, UK: Patrick Dtephens Ltd. p. 85. ISBN 1-85260-377-1.
  4. ^ Dudley, Roger; Johnson, Ted (2013). Weston-Super-Mare and the Aeroplane 1910–2010. Stroud, UK: Amberley Publishing. pp. 341–345. ISBN 9781445632148.
  5. ^ "Willingale". UK Airfields & Airports. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  6. ^ "Fyfield Flying Club". Fyfield Flying Club. Retrieved 7 April 2020.

Bibliography

External links

This page was last edited on 7 June 2020, at 14:20
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