RAF Glatton

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RAF Glatton
USAAF Station 130
Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Eighth Air Force - Emblem (World War II).png
Located Near Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, England
RAF Glatton - 9 May 1944 - Airfield.jpg
Aerial photograph of Glatton airfield, 9 May 1944. Photograph taken by the 7th Photographic Reconnaissance Group.
RAF Glatton is located in Cambridgeshire
RAF Glatton
RAF Glatton
RAF Glatton, shown within Cambridgeshire
Coordinates 52°27′58″N 000°15′07″W / 52.46611°N 0.25194°W / 52.46611; -0.25194Coordinates: 52°27′58″N 000°15′07″W / 52.46611°N 0.25194°W / 52.46611; -0.25194
Type Royal Air Force station
Code GT
Site information
Owner Air Ministry
Controlled by Royal Air Force
United States Army Air Forces
Site history
Built 1943
In use 1943 (1943)-1948 (1948)
Battles/wars European Theatre of World War II
Air Offensive, Europe July 1942 - May 1945
Garrison information
Garrison Eighth Air Force
RAF Bomber Command
Occupants 457th Bombardment Group
No. 3 Group RAF

Royal Air Force Glatton or more simply RAF Glatton is a former Royal Air Force station located 10 miles (16 km) north of Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, England.

History[edit]

Glatton Airfield was built mostly in the parish of Conington by the United States Army 809th Engineer Battalion (Aviation) starting in the fall of 1942 and throughout 1943. It was built on farmland owned by the Rose Court Farm, which remained a working farm inside the airfield's three runways that surrounded the buildings of the farm during the war.[1]

United States Army Air Forces use[edit]

When completed in late 1943, the facility was placed under the jurisdiction of the VIII Bomber Command, United States Army Air Forces. Glatton was assigned USAAF designation Station 130.

USAAF Station Units assigned to RAF Glatton were:[1]

  • 468th Sub-Depot
  • 18th Weather Squadron
  • 88th Station Complement Squadron
  • 1061st Military Police Company
  • 1212th Quartermaster Company
  • 1790th Ordnance Supply & Maintenance Company
  • 860th Chemical Company
  • 2100th Engineer Fire Fighting Platoon

457th Bombardment Group (Heavy)[edit]

B-17s of the 457th Bomb Group attacking a target. Aircraft in foreground is Boeing B-17G-40-BO Fortress Serial 42-97075 "Flak Dodger" of the 750th Bomb Squadron. This plane survived the war and returned to the USA in June 1945.
A B-17F Flying Fortress of the 750th Bomb Squadron, 457th Bomb Group

The airfield was first used by the 457th Bombardment Group (Heavy), arriving from Wendover AAF, Utah on 21 January 1944. The 457th was assigned to the 94th Combat Bombardment Wing of the 1st Bombardment Division. Its tail code was Triangle U.

The 457th Bomb Group consisted of the following operational squadrons flying Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress's :

The 457th Bomb Group flew its first combat mission on 21 February 1944 during Big Week, taking part in the concentrated attacks of heavy bombers on the German aircraft industry. Until June 1944, the Group engaged primarily in bombardment of strategic targets, such as ball-bearing plants, aircraft factories, and oil refineries in Germany and Occupied Europe.[3]

The Group bombed targets in Occupied France during the first week of June 1944 in preparation for the Normandy invasion, and attacked coastal defenses along the Cherbourg peninsula on D-Day in support of airborne forces who had landed on the peninsula. It struck airfields, railroads, fuel depots, and other interdictory targets behind the invasion beaches throughout the remainder of the month.

Beginning in July 1944, the 457th resumed bombardment of strategic objectives and engaged chiefly in such operations until April 1945. Sometimes flew support and interdictory missions, aiding the advance of ground forces during the Saint-Lô breakthrough in July 1944 and the landing of British 1st Airborne Division at Arnhem during the airborne attack on the Netherlands in September 1944; and participating in the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 - January 1945, and the assault across the Rhine in March 1945.[3]

The Group flew its last combat mission on 20 April 1945. The unit had carried out 237 missions. Total number of sorties was 7,086 with nearly 17,000 tons of bombs and 142 tons of leaflets being dropped.

After V-E Day, the 457th transported prisoners of war from Austria to France, and returned to Sioux Falls AAF, South Dakota during June 1945 and was inactivated on 18 August 1945.[4]

RAF Bomber Command use[edit]

After the war, RAF Glatton was used by the RAF's No. 3 Group under the control of RAF Bomber Command using Avro Lancasters and Consolidated Liberators flying to the Middle East. It was closed and sold in 1948.

Current use[edit]

Glatton Airfield Water Tower Memorial to USAAF 457th Bomb Group.

With the end of military control, Glatton airfield was largely returned to agriculture however parts of two runways have been retained and Glatton now operates as Peterborough Business Airport. The 457th Bomb Group has a memorial dedicated to the men who lost their lives flying from Glatton in All Saints Church Conington churchyard.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Glatton". American Air Museum in Britain. Retrieved 8 Mar 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d Bloody Skies: U.S. Eighth Air Force Battle Damage in World War II. 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "RAF Glatton". cambridgemilitaryhistory.com. 
  4. ^ Maurer 1980, p. 00.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Freeman, Roger A. (1978) Airfields of the Eighth: Then and Now. After the Battle ISBN 0-900913-09-6
  • Freeman, Roger A. (1991) The Mighty Eighth The Colour Record. Cassell & Co. ISBN 0-304-35708-1
  • Maurer, M. Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. USAF Historical Division. Washington D.C., USA: Zenger Publishing Co., Inc, 1980. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.

External links[edit]