RAF Woodchurch

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Royal Air Force Station Woodchurch
USAAF Station AAF-419

Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Patch9thusaaf.png

Located Near Woodchurch, Kent, United Kingdom
Woodchurch-13mar43.jpg
Woodchurch airfield nearing completion of construction, 13 March 1943. Both runways appear completed, however the technical and administrative areas are not yet ready for use.
Coordinates 51°05′34″N 000°46′47″E / 51.09278°N 0.77972°E / 51.09278; 0.77972
Type Military airfield
Code WC
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 Woodchurch is located in Kent
RAF Woodchurch
Magnify-clip.png
RAF Woodchurch, shown within Kent
Garrison information
Garrison RAF Fighter Command
Ninth Air Force
Occupants Nos. 231 and 400 Squadrons
373d Fighter Group
410th Fighter Squadron Republic P-47D-28-RA Thunderbolt 42-28473

RAF Station Woodchurch is a former World War II airfield in Kent, England. The airfield is located approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) west of Ashford; about 50 miles (80 km) southeast of London.

Opened in 1943, Woodchurch was a prototype for the type of temporary Advanced Landing Ground type airfield which would be built in France after D-Day, when the need advanced landing fields would become 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 recognizable 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]

While under USAAF control, Woodchurch was known as USAAF Station AAF-419 for security reasons, and by which it was referred to instead of location. Its Station-ID was "WC".

373rd Fighter Group[edit]

In the first week of April 1944, the 373d Fighter Group arrived from Richmond Army Air Base, Virginia. Operational fighter squadrons and fuselage codes were:

The 373d Fighter Group was part of the 303d Fighter Wing, XIX Tactical Air Command.

Movement to France took place in late July and most of the personnel and aircraft had left for Tour-en-Bessin (ALG A-13) by the 31st.

Woodchurch did not miss out as a haven for disabled bombers. On 29 June, a 458th Bomb Group Liberator landed without its nosewheel down, causing irreparable damage to the aircraft and urgent work for the runway repair crew, and another ailing B-24 put down safely on 19 July.

Civil use[edit]

The area was fully returned to agriculture by the following year. Today, there is no physical evidence of the airfield, as the land has been redeveloped into either agricultural fields or meadows. The only way which the location of RAF Woodchurch can be determined is by comparing the road network on aerial photos of the airfield when it was active to the road network today.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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

External links[edit]