RAF Aldermaston

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RAF Aldermaston
USAAF Station AAF-467

Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svgEighth Air Force - Emblem (World War II).pngPatch9thusaaf.png
IATA: noneICAO: none
Summary
Airport type Military
Owner Air Ministry
Operator Royal Air Force
United States Army Air Forces
Location Aldermaston, Berkshire
Built 1942
In use 1942–1950
Occupants RAF Bomber Command
Eighth Air Force
Ninth Air Force
Coordinates 51°22′12″N 001°08′38″W / 51.37000°N 1.14389°W / 51.37000; -1.14389Coordinates: 51°22′12″N 001°08′38″W / 51.37000°N 1.14389°W / 51.37000; -1.14389
Map
RAF Aldermaston is located in Berkshire
RAF Aldermaston
RAF Aldermaston
Location in Berkshire
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
06/24 0 0 Concrete
12/30 0 0 Concrete
18/36 0 0 Concrete
For the post Second World War use of this facility, see Atomic Weapons Establishment

RAF Aldermaston is a former Royal Air Force station. It was used by the Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces Eighth and Ninth Air Force as a troop carrier (Douglas C-47 Skytrain) group base, and was assigned USAAF station No. 467.

History[edit]

This Spitfire P.R Mk XI (PL965) was built at RAF Aldermaston

Wartime RAF use[edit]

The airfield was opened by No. 92 Group RAF on 1 July 1942, but was never used by the intended Vickers Wellington bombers because, by then, it had been earmarked for the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF).

Wartime USAAF use[edit]

60th Troop Carrier Group[edit]

Once Aldermaston became ready for aircraft in August 1942 the Eighth Air Force 60th Troop Carrier Group was moved in from its temporary stations at RAF Chelveston and RAF Podington. Flying Douglas C-47s and C-54 Skytrains, operational squadrons of the group were:

  • 10th Troop Carrier Squadron (S6) (Arrived 7 August from Chelveston)
  • 11th Troop Carrier Squadron (7D) (Arrived 15 August from Chelveston)
  • 12th Troop Carrier Squadron (U5) (Arrived 15 August from Podington)
  • 28th Troop Carrier Squadron (3D) (Arrived 7 August from Podington)

During the following three months. the 60th TCG trained with paratroops preparatory to moving out to North Africa on 6 November on its way to Relizane Airfield, Algeria as part of Twelfth Air Force for participation in Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa.

67th Observation Group[edit]

On 25 November 1942 The 107th Observation Squadron, 67th Observation Group, was transferred from RAF Membury to Aldermaston with A-20s, L-4s and Supermarine Spitfires. The squadron remained only until 8 January 1943 when it was moved back to Membury.

315th Troop Carrier Group[edit]

CG-4A Waco Glider of the 315th Troop Carrier Group, 1943.

On 12 December the first of 24 aircraft of the 315th Troop Carrier Group touched down from Florence Army Airfield, South Carolina with C-47s and C-53s, having made an emergency landing at Montford Bridge near Shrewsbury in Shropshire. Only two of the group's squadrons initially arrived, those being:

  • 34th Troop Carrier Squadron (NM)
  • 43d Troop Carrier Squadron (UA)

The 315th TCG was part of the 52nd Troop Carrier Wing of IX Troop Carrier Command. On 25 May, twenty-one of the 315th's aircraft left for Algeria to support the invasions of Sicily and Italy.

On 6 November the remainder group was reassigned to Ninth Air Force and transferred to RAF Welford thus leaving Aldermaston ready for other uses. However, on 4 December HQ IX Air Support Command was activated at Aldermaston Court and Aldermaston was transferred to the USAAF Ninth Air Force.

15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron[edit]

On December 1943 the 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 73d Tactical Reconnaissance Group, arrived at Aldermaston from Esler Field, Louisiana without aircraft. They were transferred to RAF Middle Wallop, and equipped with Supermarine Spitfire Vs.

370th Fighter Group[edit]

Delays and changes of plan followed and many weeks passed before another flying organisation arrived. The 370th Fighter Group arrived from Bradley Field, Connecticut on 12 February. Operational squadrons of the group were:

The 370th moved to RAF Andover, as Aldermaston airfield was required for troop carrier operations.

434th Troop Carrier Group[edit]

Douglas C-47 of the 74th Troop Carrier Squadron.
Douglas C-47A-90-DL, Serial 43-15663 of the 72d Troop Carrier Squadron.

The 434th Troop Carrier Group came in from RAF Fulbeck on 3 March. Its operational squadrons were:

The 434th TCW was assigned to the 53rd Troop Carrier Wing.

The 434th remained at Aldermaston until 12 February 1945 when the group moved to an Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at Mourmclon-le-Grand airfield (ALG A-80) in France. With no further USAAF requirement for the station, Aldermaston was returned to the Air Ministry on 15 June.

Postwar RAF use[edit]

The airfield was relinquished to the Air Ministry on 15 June 1945. It was to be the site for a flying school, where more than 1,000 former RAF pilots would be retrained to fly civil aircraft. Many of the buildings were refurbished and improved runway lights were installed.

Current use[edit]

The airfield site subsequently became the location of the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (A.W.R.E.). The site dropped the A.W.R.E. name in favour of A.W.E. (Atomic Weapons Establishment) in 1987.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]