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TOPIC: Post war USAF/USAFE Airfields in the UK

Post war USAF/USAFE Airfields in the UK 09 Sep 2018 11:07 #31

  • mbriscoe
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canberra wrote: Im curious as to why the USAF would have wanted to use East Fortune, surely Turnhouse or Leuchars would have been a better choice?


Could they have seen that there would be more room for future expansion at East Fortune rather than Turnhouse which is so close to Edinburgh.

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Post war USAF/USAFE Airfields in the UK 24 Sep 2018 23:31 #32

  • TerryClark
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Little Rissington.
Taken over by USAF in1981* and the entire station was converted to a contingency hospital for casualties which never materialised. The main runway was re-surfaced to accept C130 and C5 but no ATC unit was established, however when I was there as Admin Officer to a course run by No 637 VGS in 1991, there was an H24 USAF Fire and Rescue service based there, the main domestic site still being occupied by USAF personnel and families and the former RAF accomodation still contained hospital equipment including the 4 'C' type hangars.
At that time, Upper Heyford was still operational and Little Rissington was designated as an emegency landing field for aircraft having a problem after departure from Upper Heyford.
With the rundown of Upper Heyford towards the end of 1993, the USAF left Little Rissington and handed the airfield back to the RAF.

*Not exactly sure of the date; this is the 'official' one but I thought it was later as Gulf War 1 didn't start until 1990. Maybe the site was intially taken over by USAF as 'overspill' accomodation for Upper Heyford and the conversion to the hospital occured when GW1 actually happened.
I was at RAF Benson with cadets from my ATC Squadron (either 2204 Chesham Sqdn or 1811 Marlow Sqdn if it was after Oct 1983) for gliding with 612 VGS when the CO and CFI of 637 turned up telling us that they had arrived at Rissington that saturday morning for gliding as normal but armed guards had denied them entry.
Subsequently when they regained access, they found that the USAF wanted them to vacate the 'C' type hangar where they had been housed in order to convert it to hospital accomodation and their aircraft were moved to an 'L' type hangar on the far side of the airfield but they were allowed to occupy the Air Traffic Control building as their offices. They were allowed to continue operating on the airfield as the previous occupant, the British Army, had built a fence separating groundside and airside.
Recently a new hangar and accomodation has been built for 637 VGS who have recently converted back to winch launched gliders with the demise of the Grob 'Vigilant' motor glider.
When I was at Rissy in '91, they had just converted to the Vigilant from their previous Slingsby built 'Venture' motor gliders, these aircraft sadly being still there tucked away at the side of the hangar and gathering dust.

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Last edit: by TerryClark.

Post war USAF/USAFE Airfields in the UK 25 Sep 2018 00:33 #33

  • TerryClark
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I don't see any mention of West Malling.
The US Navy's European base 'Fasron200' re-located there when the Ministry of Aviation tried to close Blackbushe in May 1960, the unit having built its own hangar and apron there just 3 years earlier.
Admittedly this was USN not USAF, but wasn't West Malling a USAF base at this time?
Incidentally, when I was CO of 1811 (Marlow) Sqdn ATC (1983 - 1990) , my adjutant worked at Dawes Hill until it closed and when it did, he 'obtained' the large sign which had stood outside the gate saying '7520th Air Base Sqdrn*' and it was displayed on the wall in the drill hall section of our HQ in Institute Road, Marlow up unitl I left in 1998; I don't know if it is still there though as the Army Cadets now appear to have taken over that section of the building which was an ex TA Centre called 'The Armoury'.

* Yes that's how it was spelt; the USAF added an 'r' which the RAF didn't!

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Last edit: by TerryClark.

Post war USAF/USAFE Airfields in the UK 25 Sep 2018 10:03 #34

  • canberra
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The USAF also occupied Nocton Hall hospital after it closed as an RAF hospital. They also had Winston Barracks at Lanark and I believe they also had something planned for Kirknewton after the Army closed Ritchie camp.

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