RAF Grove

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RAF Grove
USAAF Station AAF-519

Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svgPatch9thusaaf.png
IATA: noneICAO: none
Summary
Airport type Military
Owner Air Ministry
Operator Royal Air Force
1942-1943, 1946
United States Army Air Forces
1943-1949
Location Grove, Oxfordshire
Built 1942 (1942)
In use 1942-1946 (1946)
Elevation AMSL 282 ft / 86 m
Coordinates 51°36′13″N 001°26′13″W / 51.60361°N 1.43694°W / 51.60361; -1.43694Coordinates: 51°36′13″N 001°26′13″W / 51.60361°N 1.43694°W / 51.60361; -1.43694
Map
RAF Grove is located in Oxfordshire
RAF Grove
RAF Grove
Location in Oxfordshire
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
04/22 0 0 Asphalt
08/26 0 0 Asphalt
16/34 0 0 Asphalt

Royal Air Force Station Grove or RAF Grove is a former Royal Air Force station in Berkshire then later Oxfordshire, England from Mon 1 April 1974 when the Government changed the county boundaries. The airfield is located approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) northwest of Wantage; about 55 miles (89 km) west-northwest of London

Opened in 1942, it was used by both the Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Forces. During the war it was used primarily as a reconnaissance airfield. After the war it was closed in 1946.

Today the remains of the airfield are located on private property being used as agricultural fields

History[edit]

Royal Air Force use[edit]

Grove was originally intended as a training airfield for RAF Bomber Command 91 Group, and was scheduled to be a satellite for the No. 15 Operational Training Unit RAF at nearby RAF Harwell

USAAF use[edit]

10th Transport Group Douglas C-47B-25-DK Skytrain 44-76404, Summer 1944. Note the D-Day invasion stripes and partial camouflage paint on the vertical stabilizer.

The RAF left Grove in September 1943 to allow the USAAF Ninth Air Force to build up at Grove as part of the cross-channel invasion of Europe. Grove was known as USAAF Station AAF-519 for security reasons by the USAAF during the war, and by which it was referred to instead of location.

Beginning in August 1943, Grove was used by the 3rd Tactical Air Depot of IX Air Force Service Command, repairing A-20 Havocs and P-61 Black Widows. Starting on 31 October, the 31st Transport Group, IX Service Command used the airfield with C-47 Skytrains with the mission of transporting cargo and personnel between IX Air Force airfields in the UK. The 31st TG consisted of the 87th, 313th and 314th Transport Squadrons. Air Transport Command had the 310th and 325th Ferrying Squadrons also attached. Following D-Day, the Group was impressed for air ambulance and general theatre transport duties until moving to France in September 1944.

The 13th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron (7th Reconnaissance Group) used the airfield between 13 October-23 November 1945 before returning to the United States. In addition, the 36th Bombardment Squadron from RAF Alconbury in Huntingdonshire used the airfield after the closure of Alconbury in October 1945. The squadron flew occasional transport missions until they returned to the United States in December 1945, ending American use of the station.

RAF Grove was returned to the RAF in 1946.

Postwar use[edit]

After the war, the airfield was used for surplus aircraft disposal. Today the entire area has been taken over by agriculture or is a grass pasture. In aerial photography the airfield runways still are quite evident, even after their removal over 50 years ago. The wartime perimeter track is gone, however the UKEA buildings are still in use and well maintained.

The council are considering developing the northeast part of the former airfield and building a large housing estate on the property.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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

Citations[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]