RAF Headcorn

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Not to be confused with RAF Lashenden. ‹See Tfd›
Royal Air Force Headcorn
USAAF Station AAF-412

Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Patch9thusaaf.png

Located Near Headcorn, Kent, United Kingdom
Headcorn-11may44.jpg
Headcorn ALG airfield, 11 May 1944
Coordinates 51°10′58″N 000°41′16″E / 51.18278°N 0.68778°E / 51.18278; 0.68778
Type Military airfield
Code HC
Site information
Controlled by RAF roundel.svg  Royal Air Force (1943-1944)
US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg  United States Army Air Forces (1944)
Site history
Built 1943
In use 1943-1944
Battles/wars European Theatre of World War II
Air Offensive, Europe July 1942 - May 1945
RAF Headcorn is located in Kent
RAF Headcorn
RAF Headcorn, shown within Kent
Garrison information
Garrison RAF Fighter Command
Ninth Air Force
Occupants No. 11 Group
362d Fighter Group

RAF Headcorn was a World War II airfield in Kent, England. The airfield was located approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) east-northeast of Headcorn; about 38 miles (61 km) southeast of London

Opened in 1943, Headcorn was a prototype for the temporary Advanced Landing Ground airfields to be built in France after D-Day, when the need for advanced landing fields became urgent as the Allied forces moved east across France and Germany. It was used by the Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces. It was closed in September 1944.

Today the airfield is a mixture of agricultural fields with no recognisable remains.

Overview[edit]

The USAAF Ninth Air Force required several temporary Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) along the channel coast prior to the June 1944 Normandy invasion to provide tactical air support for the ground forces landing in France.

USAAF use[edit]

Headcorn was known as USAAF Station AAF-412 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 "HC".

362d Fighter Group[edit]

The 362nd Fighter Group with some 75 Republic P-47 Thunderbolts moved in from RAF Wormingford on 13 April as part of the movement of groups of the Ninth Air Force's 100th Fighter Wing from the Colchester area that month. The group consisted of the following squadrons:

  • 377th Fighter Squadron (E4)
  • 378th Fighter Squadron (G8)
  • 379th Fighter Squadron (B8)

The 362nd Fighter Group began its move to Normandy on 2 July, relocating to Lignerolles, France (ALG A-12) with Headcorn continuing to he used for operations until the 7th. Two days later the last of the group's personnel had departed.

Civil use[edit]

With the facility released from military control, the land was returned to agricultural uses.

In 1983, Headcorn was selected for the erection of a memorial and plaque which was dedicated in September of that year. Confusingly, the former ALG at RAF Lashenden, which continues to be used for private flying, has also been called Headcorn since the 1960s. The airfield today is unrecognizable as a former airfield, fully returned to agriculture. The only way it can be positively located is by aligning the secondary roads in the area with those on aerial photographs of the airfield when it was active.

That said, the land shows the outline of the south end of the 18 runway as a single lane farm road with the edges of what would have been the taxiway visible as a disturbed area of landscape. No buildings or any other evidence of the airfield remains.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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

  • 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.

External links[edit]