USAAF Station AAF-416
Christchurch Airfield - 4 March 1944. Christchurch was unusual as it was constructed on an existing airfield. However the airfield used before the war for club and commercial flying was too small to accommodate wartime aircraft so the airfield was rebuilt.
|Operator||United States Army Air Forces
Royal Air Force
|Location||Christchurch, Dorset, England|
|Elevation AMSL||26 ft / 8 m|
Christchurch Airfield was a civil airfield started operation from 1926 and was known as Bournemouth Airport. Hurn Airfield, built for wartime operations, then assumed the name on release from wartime service, and has remain Bournemouth Airport ever since. Christchurch was used during World War II by the Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces Ninth Air Force. After the war the airfield returned to civilian use. The airfield complex was demolished in 1966.
In 1943, the USAAF Ninth Air Force required several temporary advanced landing grounds along the southern English Channel coast prior to the Normandy invasion to provide tactical air support for the ground forces landing in France. Christchurch was provided to support this mission.
Christchurch was known as USAAF Station AAF-416 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 "CH".
405th Fighter Group
Christchurch airfield saw the arrival of the USAAF 405th Fighter Group on 4 April 1944, the group arriving from Walterboro Army Airfield South Carolina. The 405th had the following operational squadrons:
- 509th Fighter Squadron (G9)
- 510th Fighter Squadron (2Z)
- 511th Fighter Squadron (K4)
The 405th was a group of Ninth Air Force's 84th Fighter Wing, IX Tactical Air Command. It flew the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. The 405th moved to its Advanced Landing Ground at Picauville, France (ALG A-8) on 22 June 1944, ending the USAAF's use of Christchurch.
The airfield complex was demolished in 1966 and there is housing and The Runway Industrial Park located on the site.
- ArmyAirForces.com 404th Fighter Group http://www.armyairforces.com/dbgroups.asp?Group=226
- 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.
- White, Allen (1987) Christchurch Airfield - 40 Years Of Flying