RAF Great Dunmow
|RAF Great Dunmow
RAF Little Easton
USAAF Station AAF-164
Great Dunmow Airfield - 2 June 1947, just two years after the war had ended. Largely abandoned, the airfield was being used to store vehicles.
|IATA: none – ICAO: none|
|Operator||United States Army Air Forces
Royal Air Force
|Location||Bishops Stortford, Essex|
|Elevation AMSL||322 ft / 98 m|
Royal Air Force Station Great Dunmow or more simply RAF Great Dunmow (Also known as Little Easton) is a former Royal Air Force station in Essex, England. The airfield is located approximately 1.4 miles (2.3 km) mi west of Great Dunmow, north of the A120; about 42 miles (68 km) miles northeast of London
Today the airfield is located on private land primarily used for agriculture.
Great Dunmow was designed as a Class A airfield bomber airfield, built by the US Army 818th Engineer Battalion (Aviation) with specialised work by British contractors.
The airfield was built on ancient parkland belonging to Easton Lodge and some 10,000 trees were destroyed to enable its construction, including over 200 mature oak trees. It consisted of a set of three converging runways each containing a concrete runway for takeoffs and landings, optimally placed at 60 degree angles to each other in a triangular pattern. The runways were a 6,000 ft long main runway, aligned 15/33 and two secondary 4,200 ft long secondary runways, aligned 11/29 and 04/22. An encircling perimeter track was also constructed, containing 50 loop-type hardstands.
Great Dunmow airfield was opened on 1 July 1943 and was used by the United States Army Air Forces Eighth and Ninth Air Forces. It was known as USAAF Station AAF-164 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 "GD".
386th Bombardment Group (Medium)
The first unit to use Great Dunmow was the American 386th Bombardment Group (Medium) which arrived from RAF Boxted on 24 September 1943. The group was assigned to the VIII Air Support Command 3d Bombardment Wing and flew Martin B-26B/C Marauders. Operational squadrons of the 322d were:
- 552d Bombardment Squadron (RG)
- 553d Bombardment Squadron (AN)
- 554th Bombardment Squadron (RU)
- 555th Bombardment Squadron (YA)
Missions of the 386th concentrated on airfields but also bombed marshalling yards and gun positions during the first months of combat.
On 2 October 1944, the 386th Bomb Group moved to Beaumont-sur-Oise (A-60) Airfield, in Normandy France. On the continent, the 386th BG used the following Advanced Landing Grounds:
- A-60 Beaumont-sur-Oise France 2 October 1944
- A-92 St Trond Belgium 9 April–July 1945
The airfield was abandoned in 1948.
With the end of military control in 1950 the grassed areas were cut for a grass meal company through the 1950s which supplied it to various farms in the region. Starting in 1960, farming operations commenced and the concrete areas were removed for aggregate in 1965/66 for use as part of the new A12 road.
Today, there is very little left except some single track agricultural roads remaining from the perimeter track and a blister hangar with a few nissen huts near Easton Lodge. The runway layout and the airfield perimeter track are easily identified in aerial photography, but no substantial amount of concrete remains. The 22 end of the secondary northeast runway does however, have a short full width of runway intact, being used for manure storage. The current owners, Land Securities hope to redevelop the site and surrounding area, including the construction of around 9,000 homes.
There is a small museum in Great Dunmow which holds some exhibits of the airfield and the 386th Bomb Group, along with a stained glass window memorial in Little Easton church.
- Easton Lodge Gardens: History Parks and Gardens UK, accessed 2010-12-17
- The Gardens of Easton Lodge: After Daisy 1938 accessed 2010-12-17
- http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=CM6+2BB&sll=54.489103,-2.820654&sspn=0.018496,0.055747&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Dunmow+CM6+2BB,+United+Kingdom&ll=51.887991,0.318983&spn=0.000587,0.001742&t=h&z=20 Google Maps
- Strategic Land Portfolio Land Securities, accessed 2010-12-17
- 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
- Freeman, Roger A. (1994) UK Airfields of the Ninth: Then and Now 1994. After the Battle ISBN 0-900913-80-0
- Freeman, Roger A. (1996) The Ninth Air Force in Colour: UK and the Continent-World War Two. After the Battle ISBN 1-85409-272-3
- Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
- mighty8thaf.preller.us Great Dunmow
- USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers--1908 to present
- British Automobile Association (AA), (1978), Complete Atlas of Britain, ISBN 0-86145-005-1
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