USAAF Station AAF-415
Aerial Photo of Bisterne Airfield, 22 May 1944. More than 50 P-47 Thunderbolts of the 371st Fighter Group are dispersed along the perimeter loop.
|Operator||United States Army Air Forces|
|Elevation AMSL||49 ft / 15 m|
RAF Bisterne is a former Royal Air Force Advanced Landing Ground in Hampshire, England. The airfield is located in the hamlet of Bisterne approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) south of Ringwood; about 85 miles (137 km) southwest of London.
Opened in March 1944, Bisterne was a prototype for the type of temporary Advanced Landing Ground type airfield that 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 United States Army Air Force as a fighter airfield. It was closed late in the summer of 1944.
Today the airfield is a mixture of agricultural fields with no recognizable remains.
Bisterne was known as USAAF Station AAF-415 for security reasons by the USAAF during the war, and by which it was referred to instead of location. Its USAAF Station Code was "BS".
On 7 March 1944 the 371st Fighter Group arrived . Equipped with Republic P-47 Thunderbolts, the 347th FG arrived from Richmond AAF Virginia. Tactical squadrons of the group and squadron fuselage codes were:
- 404th Fighter Squadron (9Q)
- 405th Fighter Squadron (8N)
- 406th Fighter Squadron (4W)
The 371st was a group of Ninth Air Force's 70th Fighter Wing, IX Tactical Air Command. The 371st moved from Bisterne between 17 and 29 June 1944 to its Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at Beuzeville France (ALG A-6).
Today, the land that was once RAF Bisterne is unrecognizable as a former airfield and had returned to farm and pastureland. It is only that by comparing the local farm roads in the area and those same roads in aerial photographs of the airfield when it was active that a precise location of the airfield can be determined.
In 2004 a small memorial was dedicated on the outskirts of a Ringwood farm yard barn at the end of a dusty gravel track as a lasting memorial to the men and machines who flew from the wartime Bisterne airfield.
- 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.
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