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TOPIC: AAF Station 520: Melton Mowbray

AAF Station 520: Melton Mowbray 19 Jun 2010 14:00 #11

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I've had a closer look at the camp shown on your plan at Ashby Folville.
It appears to have extended around the Manor House too:

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From photos taken when the Ashby site was used as a Polish resettlement camp post-war the huts were Laing type, with Nissen communal buildings.

And here's the camp and Hall at Gaddesby:

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(Apologies for the distorted plans. My scanner doesn't work with this new PC so I've had to photograph them.)

Both camps are known to have been used by the Americans, but whether the personnel at Ashby were part of the ordnance depot and school is currently unclear.

All the best,
PB

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Paul Bellamy
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ARG Archive, Alconbury

AAF Station 520: Melton Mowbray 25 Jun 2010 00:21 #12

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Units list updated.

All the best,
PB

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Paul Bellamy
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ARG Archive, Alconbury

AAF Station 520: Melton Mowbray 29 Jun 2010 14:25 #13

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Unit list updated.

It now shows all available information from individual Unit Diaries and US Army Station Lists for the dates covered.
Many thanks to Phil and Bernie on the AAF Forum for their assistance.

All the best,
PB

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Paul Bellamy
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ARG Archive, Alconbury

AAF Station 520: Melton Mowbray 17 May 2011 17:58 #14

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Hi Belamy

Can you help me please? I happen to be one of the kids who grew up post war on the Ashby Folville and Melton Mowbray Polish re-settlement camps. I saw your OS map of Ashby camp and was fascinated by it, as were my aged parents. I was wondering in what year was the map actually drawn? Is there any chance of you emailing me a scanned copy of it centered on the grounds of Ashby Manor showing the position of all the huts please?

Also would you happen to have any similar post USAF OS plans for the Melton Mowbray re-settlement camp? It was very sprawling and there were several camps used. The one I lived in from 1954 to 1960 was Site 2 on Sandy Lane on the edge of Melton town about 2 miles north of the airfield. I remember cycling out to the airfield and playing in the control tower building.

Your help would be very much appreciated.
Best regards
Len

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AAF Station 520: Melton Mowbray 17 May 2011 18:08 #15

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You could try www.Old-Maps.co.uk and typing in Ashby Folville. There are usually plenty of choices for dates and the scale of 1:2500 is to be recommended for detail.
I haven't looked yet but if you are having problems with the website let us know.

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01010000 01100101 01110100 01100101 01110010 00100000 01001011 01101001 01110010 01101011

AAF Station 520: Melton Mowbray 23 May 2011 16:39 #16

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Thanks for info. No problem with the web site it's working fine.

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AAF Station 520: Melton Mowbray 13 Jul 2013 10:46 #17

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The following is the text of a US Army report (extracted from US Army Records ETOUSA) on on Ordnance Depot O-690 also referred to in some documents as Gaddesby and Great Dalby.. The comments in parentheses are mine.

DEPOT O-690

ESTABLISHMENT AS A DEPOT

The Melton Mowbray site was selected for use as a depot for storage of Air Force types of ammunition on the recommendation of Maintenance Command RAF. It was our original intention, as mentioned in the Bolero plan, to return this depot to the RAF as soon as conditions warranted doing. During our occupancy, estimated daily handling capacity of 500 tons per day, and a total storage capacity of 20,000 tons was to be maintained. On 26 September 1942, Col. McKay requested that Melton Mowbray be activated as an Ordnance Ammunition Depot; G.O. # 47, activating the depot as O-690 with Lt Col Robert M Harris commanding, was published 30 September 1942.

CONDITIONS AT DEPOT

Storage Sites: On 2 October 1942, Col McKay advised HQ Maintenance Command (RAF) that a capacity of from 10,000 to 15,000 tons was quoted by Wing Commander Doyle (42 Group RAF liaison officer), all of which was to be suitable roadside storage. Inspection indicated a very poor site condition for roadside storage - verges were very narrow, terrain irregular, and maximum capacity on roads indicated, if roadside storage is used in accordance with proposed planning, would not exceed 6000 tons total. In order to use roadside storage, stacking would of necessity have to be in single tier in many cases and habitation within the area is such that many areas cannot be utilised due to safety requirements. Maintenance Command advised that the above conditions would be corrected as soon as possible.

Billeting Faciities: With reference to housing at the depot, Col McKay advised HQ Maintenance Command (RAF) that Ordnance (US Army) would not require the construction of any quarters for personnel, field office, or similar structures. In accordance with our understanding with the War Office the British Army released to the US Army Paske Hall (Gaddesby Hall) and Manor House (Ashby Folville) for billet and Headquarters use.

Roads: On 27 October 1942 Captain Ferritti visited the depot and noted that bomb storage roads had been deeply rutted by heavy traffic. Another trip to the depot on 5 November 1942 showed road conditions even worse and that the Great Dalby railhead was in a similar condition. It was suggested that a maintenance programme be set up immediately to put both roads and railhead into serviceable condition.

Construction: On 15 March 1943 it was recommended that three miles of road improvement, a vehicle park of hard standing, petrol pumps, tank and garage facilities be constructed at the depot. It was also decided to install 'C' lighting at Great Dalby railhead.

DEPOT CONTROL

As previously mentioned, it was planned to return Melton Mowbray to the RAF as soon as expansion of other S.O.S. (Services of Supply) depots permitted. On 14 January 1943, Ordnance advised the Air Ministry that although eventual release of the depot was intended, large shipments of Air Force ammunition arriving at that time prevented a furnishing of a date on which this could be accomplished. On 26 January 1943 plans were made to allocate tonnage for O-690 to other depots. By 15 April 1943 however incoming shipments had so increased that it was necessary to ask that the depot be retained indefinitely. Plans were later made to release (transfer) the depot from Ordnance (US Army) to VIII Air Force (8th United States Army Air Force, USAAF) final agreement being reached on 22 June 1943. Request for inactivation of O-690 was made 02 July 1943


(END)

Consequently the depot was turned over to the USAAF on 15 July 1943 and designated AAF Station 520.

The above would seem to indicated that the RAF had surveyed this area as a potential munitions store but had not gone any further than formally requisitioning the land and buildings before being faced by the US Army need in-line with the Bolero plan. It should be understood that the US Army Ordnance Division managed stocks for the US Army and Air Force although quite quickly as manpower became available the Air Force took over the management of their own munitions.

Referring to Billeting (above), either the US Army intended to build their own accommodation or hutting had already been erected by the British Army. Gadddesby Hall (which the US Army referred to by the old name of Paske Hall) was taken over as the depot Headquarters. A hutted accommodation camp was situated behind to the NW. The Manor House at Ashby Folville was taken over as accommodation for black troops and it to had a hutted camp. (See Post # 11 for maps and photographs below.)

Bomb storage was on dunnage (battens) roadside verges with some temporary hutting for pyrotechnics, incendiary bombs and SAA (see photos below)

As with other depots, a network of local minor roads was utilised resulting in the depot covering a large area with no central reference point.

The single railhead at Great Dalby Station was expanded with additional sidings to accommodate munitions trains. This station was conveniently central to the depot area.

Paske House (Gaddesby Hall) Headquarters O-690

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CO and Staff

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AAF Station 520: Melton Mowbray 13 Jul 2013 10:50 #18

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Ashby Folville MAnor House - Accommodation and camp area for black troops.

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Bomb storage and handling

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Bomb stacks on roadsides

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Detail of bomb lifting attachment and Great Dalby railhead

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